More Than Raking Leaves: Pros Share Top Tips for Fall Yard Care

Experts from the National Association of Landscape Professionals encourage homeowners to prepare their lawn and landscape now for healthy, future growth

FAIRFAX, Va. (October 22, 2018) – As temperatures begin to cool and leaves transform to warmer hues, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is sharing helpful tips and tricks for homeowners to prepare their yards this fall, which then aids the growth of healthy springtime landscapes. From seeding and fertilizing lawns to removing dead leaves and completing a final mow of the lawn, professionals recommend that homeowners take into consideration how recent weather patterns may have impacted their region before completing any seasonal yard maintenance.

“When planning fall yard care, we recommend that homeowners consult with a professional to determine how local weather may have impacted timing for essential fall yard care,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “For example, for many parts of the country, this fall has been warmer and wetter than usual, which has required that lawns are mowed later into the season, and may postpone pruning of ornamentals and fertilizing for some. A lawn care or landscape professional can help you determine the best timing for these tasks, and can develop a plan to maintain healthy turfgrass and beautiful landscapes year round.”

NALP recommends the following fall lawn care and landscape practices for homeowners to assure healthy spring growth:

  1. Seed for a lush lawn – A healthy, lush lawn is the foundation of a beautiful and enjoyable yard, so it is important to properly treat and care for turfgrasses. Seeding and overseeding will help inject new life into thinning grass, help fill in bare areas and introduce grass varieties.
  2. Fertilize for the future – With guidance from a lawn care professional, fall fertilizing helps lawns maintain future health and appearance. When fertilizing, it’s important to take into consideration grass type and climate. Cool-season grasses should generally be fertilized September through November and warm-season grasses should be fertilized slightly earlier.
  3. Cut perennials for healthy growth – As temperatures begin to cool, it’s important to cut most perennials after the first frost. Depending on the plant, fall is often the best time to prune because plants do not actively grow as the dormant season approaches.
  4. Rake leaves to avoid future grass damage – One of the most common fall yard care practices, raking and removing leaves, brings tremendous benefits for a lawn. Removing leaves helps prevent turfgrass damage and protects water quality by lessening the amount of organic material – such as leaves and dead grass – that can release phosphate and nitrates into waterways.
  5. Give plants a deep watering – Fall is the ideal time to give trees and shrubs a final, deep watering. By doing so, root systems will have time to absorb moisture from the soil before freezing temperatures set in.
  6. Complete the perfect mow – Throughout the fall, grass should be cut at 2 to 2 ½ inches tall. This helps prevent matting, which could lead to winter lawn diseases.
  7. Shut off and properly store equipment – To prevent future home damage, shutting off water lines to the outside and clearing automatic irrigation systems of water become critical elements of fall maintenance. After completing a final mow, homeowners should review the owner’s manual to properly clean and store yard equipment for the winter.

The NALP recommends that homeowners consult with a professional regarding fall lawn care and landscape guidance for their property. For more tips, and to find a local lawn care or landscape professional, visit

About NALP

The National Association of Landscape Professionals represents an industry that employs nearly 1 million landscape, lawn care, irrigation and tree care professionals who create and maintain healthy green spaces for the benefit of society and the environment. NALP offers education, networking, training and certification programs that increase the professionalism in the industry and inspire its members to excellence. For more information, visit

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