Fall lawn care is the most important part of a lawn maintenance program. Yes, Spring is important too, but having your lawn prepared for the winter months is essential.
Depending on where you live, you can start implementing your fall lawn care program as soon as early September, and as late as mid October. You want at least 2 -3 weeks of prime growing weather conditions, so keep an eye on the calendar and the weather.
Fertilizing – If you only fertilize a few times a year, make fall one of them. A nice balanced fertilizer is what’s needed to continue growth (nitrogen) and to strengthen the root system (potassium). If organic fertilizing is your thing, continue to mulch and add a good compost top dressing.
Overseed – Over seeding is not absolutely necessary, but if the summer put a hurting on your lawn – overseed. Please follow the instructions on the bag for proper application rates. If you do overseed, do it in the early part of the Fall so there’s plenty of time for the seed to germinate.
Mowing – Mowing promotes root growth, and a strong and healthy root system is exactly what your lawn needs before Jack Frost shows his ugly face. Continue to mow every week until your last mowing in late October or early November. I know the grass isn’t growing as fast, but you shouldn’t be taking off more than a 1/3 of the grass blade anyway. Mow your grass a little lower at the end of the season, but not too low. Your lawn still needs some protection from the cold of the winter, but don’t leave it too long either. If you get a lot of snow, the long grass can lay over causing more damage.
Core Aeration – One vital piece of any fall lawn care program is getting a core aeration. If your lawn took a beating this summer, then a core aeration is in order. Heavy foot traffic, hard soils and heavy thatch can make it hard for your lawn’s root system to absorb the vital nutrients it needs to get through winter.
Dethatching – Dethatching is the process of removing layers of dead grass and other unwanted organic material that build’s up on the soil surface, restricting nutrients from reaching the root system. This is a not good. Dethatching is hard on your lawn, and it will need time to recover, so September is the best time to thatch so there’s plenty of time for the lawn to recover. Core aeration, overseed and starter fertilizer will be needed if you thatch.
Weed Control – Fall and spring are the best times to apply herbicides because the weather conditions are ideal for killing weeds. If you plan on overseeding, apply weed control first, say early September, and overseeding in late September, or early October. Please read label for details.