Fall Lawn Care Tips to Prepare for Spring
Did you know that fall is the best time of the year to make your old lawn look better than ever or to establish a new lawn? Early to mid-fall is a great time to take on the important job of a fall lawn renovation. The soil is still warm and yet the air is cool; the perfect combination for grass seeds to germinate and turf to take root quickly.
Grass takes a beating in late spring and throughout the summer. People tend to gather outside during these times and what better place to hang out than a soft green beautiful lawn? Pair that with high heat, low soil moisture, and warm weather insect and weed infestations, and by fall, your lawn could look like it went through battle.
Here are some simple tips to renovate your lawn:
SEEDING OR OVERSEEDING AN EXISTING LAWN
If you are planning to seed a new lawn or overseed an existing lawn, it is best to seed as early as possible. It is important to get seed germinated and growing before trees begin to leaf out. This is especially true in shaded areas.
Keep the area moist at all times until the roots become established, then you can gradually decrease the frequency of watering. The new grass can be mowed when it reaches a height of about three inches.
Purchase your grass seed from the America's Online Garden Center.
REJUVENATING A WEAK LAWN
Your lawn cannot live without air, water and nutrients. When a thick layer of thatch builds up, water and fertilizer may run off instead of penetrating the soil surface. Using core aerators and dethatching can help rejuvenate a lawn by restoring passageways to the soil.
Fall is an excellent time to dethatch your grass. Thatching rakes can be used but for lawns with severe thatch problems or if you have heavy or compacted soil, aerate the soil and add LeafGro.
Test your soil to determine the pH level. We recommend testing a small handful of soil to a depth of 3 inches. At a pH of 6.8 to 7.0, nutrients are most readily available to turf grasses, and beneficial microorganisms are more active to decompose thatch.
Fertilize with Seed Starter Fertilizer and top dress with straw. However, we don’t recommend fertilizing when lawns are not growing as much. That fertilizer doesn’t get absorbed by the grass and will end up washed away before it can do any good.
Lawns can only use and store so much food for winter. Applying more lawn fertilizer than needed does not a healthy lawn make.
Early fall fertilizer should be a slow-release formula, while later fall applications should be quick release. Slow-release applications don’t burn the grass when temperatures are still warm and last 6-8 weeks, while quick release fertilizers are absorbed before the grass goes dormant for winter.
Lastly, keep the seed moist until it is established, this can be done with several light waterings throughout the day. After your new lawn is established, it should receive about one inch of water per week in the absence of rain.
A lush, healthy lawn is a joy to see year-round and especially in months when not much else is growing. Taking a few important steps now will make your spring lawn care easier and ensure your lawn is the envy of the neighborhood.
Everything you need for your Fall Lawn Renovation is in our Lawn & Garden section.
This post originally appeared on our sister site, Patuxent Nursery and is reprinted and updated with permission.