Looking ahead at the forecast, it appears that we will stay fairly warm in November. This should be a red flag as it relates to your mowing practices. Just because winter is arriving (faster than we may like) doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about the health of your lawn.
If your lawn is green, it’s still growing. Though it may be much slower now, the fact remains it is still pushing top growth. When sending your lawn into winter, you will get a far better green-up in the spring and also help prevent snow mold from becoming an issue when you cut short and keep debris off. Lawns all over Maine lose large patches of turf due to this winter bound fungus. Snow mold grows under the snowpack and if not kept in check can kill off sections of your lawn. Leaving you with unsightly dead patches (or winter kill) where it was actively growing.
This fall mow your lawn SHORT! Make your last cut around .75″ to 1″ in height. The shorter your cut your lawn for your last cut of the season, the less of a chance the snow mold will attach the shoots and leave cakelike masses where the sunlight will not poke through in the spring and allow for new shoots to be pushed up. Just make sure you remove all the cut grass and do not let it clump.
There are other things that can smother your lawn. LEAVES!!! Keep the leaves off your lawn. Blow, rake, sweep, whatever it takes to keep the lawn free of debris. If you laid a piece of plywood on your lawn for a week and then removed it you will have very stressed grass in that area. Think of this on a smaller scale with leaves. If this happens you will have patchy looking dead areas on your lawn in the spring and will have to consider overseeding to keep that consistent green looking lawn. Lawns always suffer when growing under large maple or oak trees if not kept in check.
If you like the looks of your lawn, make sure you don’t forget about it this November! Keep the leaves off and make your last cut (AFTER WE RECEIVE SEVERAL touches of frost) very short in height. Based on the weather outlook, your last cut should not be made until mid to late November. So don’t put that mower away just yet, we still have some growing season left!