RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Autumn is officially begins today and that means it's time to pay more attention to our yards.
After a long, hot summer, your grass needs all the help it can get. Your first step -- put down some new seed.
"We have less weed pressure, and it's the time to do it. The weather is perfect," said Gil Grattan from Virginia Lawn Care.
But you can't just sprinkle grass and expect it to work. Grattan says you should aerate first.
An aerator is a heavy machine that removes plugs of dirt from the soil, which creates space for the seed and allows oxygen to get to the roots. You can rent your own, or hire the pros.
But Grattan says to skip the dethatcher.
"Farther north, you have bluegrass, PA, Ohio, places like that, where you have to physically come and rip the thatch out of the soil," he said.
And don't put down too much seed. To refresh a tired lawn, you only need six pounds of seed per 1000 square feet. And make sure to water for at least a month.
Grattan says the most common mistake we make in our lawns? Stopping the watering too soon.
"Fall is for planting, it's been a campaign in the green industry for many ears.. for many good reasons," he said.
The Great Big Greenhouse's Doug Hensel says fall isn't just for grass. It's also the perfect time to plant.
"Roots develop and grow stronger during the cooler months and we have plenty of time and they are a much stronger, more settled plant before next summer's heat," Hensel said.
But resist the urge to do any pruning -- that encourages new growth.
"It would die off and freeze off and that's the unfortunate circumstance you'd lose that new growth that the plant tried to develop," he said.
So save your pruning for late winter, just before the growing season begins.
The weather isn't only ideal for plants, it's great for us too. Cooler temperatures make it a lot easier on us as we work outside.