6 common lawn care mistakes homeowners make during fall — and how you can avoid them

·5 min read

With a change in season comes a change in routine — and Canadian Tire is here to make sure you’re Ready For Fall. From tips on how to set up a long-term lawncare strategy to the right way to rake those falling leaves, we’re bringing you everything you need to get back into a routine and rest easy.

Canadian Tire yard waste bags on front lawn
Photo via Canadian Tire

Just because summer’s ending doesn’t mean you can put your lawn care on pause altogether.

Properly prepare your lawn during the fall season and you’ll be thanking yourself come spring. When done correctly, fall yardwork can help set up your lawn for year-round enjoyment, not to mention spare you from stressing about what’s going on under the snow once winter weather hits.

Not everyone aces their fall lawn maintenance routine, however. Here are 6 of the most common mistakes homeowners make when it comes to fall lawn care—plus key steps you can take during autumn to ensure your lawn is healthy and ready to thrive next spring.

1. Overwatering, or not watering at all

Lawn sprinkler from Canadian Tire for watering the lawn
Photo via Canadian Tire

Watering the lawn is vital to growing — and maintaining — a lush, green yard, but overwatering can lead to grass failing to develop deep roots. Most lawns require about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week, though exact amounts depend on both soil conditions and weather. Still, it typically takes about 30 minutes of watering for the water to get down to the grass’s roots. An oscillating watering sprinkler is a great option here, helping you maintain a green lawn by providing even water distribution through 18 precision brass nozzle jets.

While lawns still need watering during the fall, it’s important to remember that the amount of water required in cooler weather is less than what your lawn needed in the hotter summer temperatures. When a lawn is overwatered, water will likely evaporate before your grass has a chance to absorb it.

To ensure your lawn’s getting the correct amount of H2O, it’s important to buy a garden hose that won’t leak while attached to your sprinkler. This extremely durable, non-rusting hose is resistant to leaks and punctures, making it a great option to help avoid overwatering.

2. Letting leaves and debris pile up

Man using leaf blower from Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

With our busy fall schedules, it can be tempting to let twigs, leaves and other debris remain on your lawn for another weekend or two. Add in the change in weather and lawns can go from manageable to a wall-to-wall carpet of leaves seemingly overnight.

However, once fallen leaves get wet, they become harder to remove and trap water on your grass, keeping it from properly drying out. Since grass requires sunlight for healthy growth, it’s important to remove the mess as soon as possible. One fix? Have a sturdy steel rake on hand to assist with cleanup and try not to let those leaves pile up to avoid them becoming a bigger headache.

If you have a lot of lawn to cover, opt for a larger rake that’s durable yet light enough for easy use. Another alternative for those with larger lawns is a leaf blower that can help you do the job in half the time. Tools like a yard scoop can also make the job easier when it comes time to move those piles of leaves from your lawn to yard waste bags.

3. Mowing with dull blades

Lawn mower cutting grass close up
Photo via Getty Images

Yes, you still have to mow your lawn during the fall—and it’s important to make sure that you’re using sharp blades when you do so. That’s because dull blades rip through the grass rather than cutting, leaving jagged ends that will likely turn brown. 

Fall is the perfect time to sharpen your lawnmower blades, ensuring you get a few good clean cuts in before winter. A tool sharpener is a great option to help you grind, sharpen and hone your blades until they’re mowing with ease.

4. Forgetting to fertilize

Scotts Turf Builder with handheld lawn fertilizer spreader
Photo via Canadian Tire

Contrary to popular belief, fall lawn care doesn’t stop at raking the yard, mowing the lawn and watering the grass. Fertilizing your lawn during the fall is a key step to ensure its year-round health.

Apply a fertilizer formulated specifically for the season — like Scotts Turf Builder Fall Lawn Food — around Halloween to help your lawn’s roots withstand the stress of the winter. A handy tool like Scotts Whirl Handheld Spreader will help spread the fertilizer so you don’t miss a spot, resulting in a stronger, healthier and less patchy lawn come spring.

5. Letting weeds run wild

Weeding the lawn with weed whacker and other power tools
Photo via Canadian Tire

If there’s one unifying theme when it comes to the biggest fall lawn care mistakes, it’s this: assuming that you can hit pause on routine lawn maintenance once the temperature begins to drop. But homeowners who simply sit back and let Mother Nature take its course end up regretting it come spring, especially when it comes to weeding.

Luckily, early fall is a great time for weed control. Use treatments like RoundUp Grass and Weed Killer to stop dandelions and other perennial weeds from coming back with a vengeance next spring. You can also remove weeds manually using tools like the WORX 20V Lithium-Ion Cordless Trimmer, which has a cutting head designed for hard-to-reach areas, so it can save your back while also saving your lawn.

6. Leaving aeration for spring

Handheld cultivator from Canadian Tire for lawn aeration
Photo via Canadian Tire

The benefits are clear: aeration can help get more oxygen, water and nutrients to your grass’s roots, resulting in a lusher, healthier lawn. And, since lawn aeration requires making small holes in your yard, disrupting your lawn’s soil, it’s all the more reason to schedule this key task during fall—since it means your lawn will have all of fall, winter and spring to recover.

Tools like the Botanica Cultivator and the Yardworks Stainless Steel Hand Cultivator are excellent choices for loosening and aerating soil. Pro tip: It’s a great idea to follow up aeration with fertilization as it will allow the fertilizer easier access to your lawn’s roots.

Fall is all about getting back into a routine, and Canadian Tire is here to make sure you’re Ready For Fall. Whether you’re looking for tips on how to prepare your home and lawn for the cold weather or delicious, healthy recipes that will make nights a breeze, we’ve got you covered.

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