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

Fall means it’s time to get your home ready for colder weather — and Canadian Tire is here to make it easy to Prepare for Fall. From simple, but impactful home improvement projects to fall lawn care advice, we’re bringing you the tips you need to be ready for anything this season.

Woman cleaning up fall leaves using Canadian Tire yard waste bags
Photo via Canadian Tire

Just because summer has ended doesn’t mean you can put your lawn care routine 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 showing daughter how to use Yardworks 48V AeroForce leaf blower to clear leaves
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.

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. This clever Yardworks 3-in-1 Poly Leaf Rake can also be used to scoop leaves into yard waste bags, saving both your lawn and your back.

Another alternative for those with larger lawns is a leaf blower, which can help you make quick work of time-consuming lawn care tasks. This WORX 12A Electric Trivac Blower/Vacuum/Mulcher changes from blower to vacuum with the flip of a switch, helping you clear your yard of leaves in half the time. For larger debris, a pole saw and cordless chainsaw are ideal for tackling overgrown trees and downed branches.

Have a big cleanup job? Consider investing in a gas-powered or electric log splitter to help break down logs for firewood, or a chipper/shredder to turn trimmed branches, shrubbery and leaves into mulch for gardening or landscaping. For any smaller twigs and branches, this electric Yardworks 15A Garden Shredder works like a dream.

3. Mowing with dull blades

Lawn mower cutting grass close up
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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. If you’re in the market for a new mower, fall can be a good time to upgrade, whether you’re looking for a 3-in-1 gas mower or push lawn mower.

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

Using weedwhacker for fall lawn care
Photo via Canadian Tire

If there’s one unifying theme when it comes to the biggest fall lawn care mistakes, it’s this: assuming you can hit pause on routine lawn maintenance once the temperature begins to drop. Homeowners who simply sit back and let Mother Nature take its course can 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 using tools like the Yardworks 48V Direct Drive Grass Trimmer, which delivers excellent cutting performance and reliability—plus, it shares a battery with the rest of the Yardworks 48V family, making it even more convenient and cost-effective.

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 to routine, and making sure both you and your home are properly prepared for colder weather. Whether you’re looking for garage storage solutions, tools to help you make quick work of fall lawn care, or time-saving cleaning products, Canadian Tire has what you need to Prepare for Fall.