promenade park in wolf willow in autumn

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Keep your lawn happy and healthy this fall

As the beautiful colours of autumn start to pop up in Wolf Willow, you might think your days of lawn care are over until next spring. That is not the case though! Fall is a very important time to keep your lawn looking beautiful and growing strong. We put together some tips to prepare your lawn for winter as the temps begin to grow colder.

Winterize your lawn in autumn

We all know that Calgary is a very dry city, so achieving that lush, green lawn will take some patience and dedication. After you’ve spent the spring and summer caring for your lawn, don’t let up in autumn! While the grass above the soil might be slowing its growth, the roots are still working hard. To maintain your green grass, fall is the best time to:

  • Fertilize your lawn
  • Plant your grass seed
  • Prune and trim vegetation
  • Aerate your lawn
  • Raking leaves and thatch
red and yellow leaves on the ground in autumn

Fertilize your lawn

If purchasing a bag of fertilizer from a garden center, look for fertilizers that mention “winterizing” or “autumn lawn care” on the label. These fertilizers help ensure your grass can build a sturdy root system to withstand the winter. This is especially helpful since our winters are so long in Calgary! For those interested in using compost to fertilize their lawns, you can pick up free compost from the City of Calgary, though it’s typically only available during the spring season.

Plant your grass seed

The best time to plant grass seed is in early fall. Mid-August to late September tends to be the “sweet spot”, as the grass is dewy in the mornings and the temperature is cooler in the evenings. If you have any uneven spots in your lawn, make sure to even out the soil before laying down new seed so you won’t have any dry spots or flooding.

Prune and trim vegetation

Autumn is an ideal time to prune and trim the dead or overgrown branches off the vegetation around your property. Once the dead branches have been removed, they will no longer compete for nutrients and ensure the healthy branches grow strong the following spring.

gardening sheers propped up against a stool in a backyard

Aerate your lawn

Aerating your lawn is essentially poking holes in the surface to allow nutrients from water, light, and the air to better absorb into the soil if it has become too compact. By aerating in the fall, you are setting up your lawn for successful growth in the spring.

Raking leaves and thatch

As pretty as the leaves are on the trees during autumn, they eventually fall to the ground, covering your lawn in a thick, crunchy layer. To ensure the grass gets plenty of nutrients from the autumn sunlight, you need to rake away the leaves before they become soggy and stuck together.

Bee kind to the environment!

For those who prefer to take a lower maintenance approach to your lawn care, we have you covered as well. Rather than spending the afternoon raking the leaves, consider mulching the leaves with your lawn mower. Known as “leaf litter”, mulched leaves have several benefits that you might not have considered. One of the benefits of mulching your leaves instead of raking is it creates a winter home for pollinators like butterflies to leave their larvae behind, as well as other hibernating critters like bees, toads, and other insects. It also can help fertilize your soil and suppress weed growth. If you don’t want the mulched leaves all over your lawn, you can put them over planter beds and around tree trunks.

Opt for a landscaped yard

If you don’t have the time to maintain a lawn, consider going grassless! There are many beautiful alternatives to the traditional lawn, some of which can be seen walking around the neighbourhood in Wolf Willow. A clover lawn is a great alternative that thrives with minimal watering once it’s established. Plus, it stays green throughout the spring and summer, and you don’t have to mow because it stays short. You could create a rock or mulch garden and utilize perennials or native wildflowers to add colour and visual interest to your yard. Or invest in paver stones and patio furniture to turn your backyard into an outdoor entertaining space. The limit is your imagination!

landscaped yard with mulch in wolf willow
A landscaped front yard in Wolf Willow

Where to buy gardening supplies near Wolf Willow

There are three stores near Wolf Willow where you can get all of your gardening supplies – Home Depot and Walmart in Shawnessy and Spruce It Up Garden Centre on Macleod near Walden/Legacy. Spruce It Up is open all year long and also offers professional landscaping services to help you create your dream yard.