The fall season is the best time of year to perform maintenance to your lawn, but it requires a little effort. The benefits of fall season lawn care are seen in a late growth spurt this fall and a great looking lawn next spring and summer – but we need to do a few basic chores.
Here are the steps towards having the best lawn in the neighborhood:
Step 1: Weed Control. Broad leaf and Perennial weeds need to be treated now. This can be a very easy process using a herbicide with a “hose-end” applicator. I recommend Bonide “Weed Beater Ultra” which we carry in the store. Heavy weeds may require a 2nd application in 3 weeks.
Certain perennial weeds such as Wild Violet, Nutsedge, and Crab Grass require specific herbicides that are also carried in the store.
Step 2: Core Aeration. We recommend core aeration every year especially on heavy traffic areas (caused from people, pets, equipment, etc.). Core aeration equipment can be rented at Home Depot or Lowe’s, and most lawn service companies offer this service. Schedule this work early in September. Most companies will also apply gypsum or agricultural lime…I recommend gypsum unless the Ph is below 6.0. Lawn analysis is available at University Gardens…ask for Bob.
Step 3: De-Thatching (optional). Most “healthy” lawns do not require de-thatching, but if the chemistry of the turf gets upset, de-thatching may be necessary. Some lawns will have a build-up of grass clippings in the turf.
This build-up can cause several problems, including:
Thatch build-up is most common in Zoysia lawns and is less common in cool-season lawns. Thatch can be removed with “heavy” raking or de-thatching equipment. This can be a big job and should be scheduled in the fall. Most lawn service companies offer this service.
Step 4: Seeding. This is the ideal time of year for seeding or sodding the lawn, but the time window is critical. I like to seed when the daytime temperatures are in the 70’s-80’s and the nighttime temperatures are in the 60’s-70’s.
Prior to applying the seed, the soil should be “roughed-up” to allow the seeds to plant themselves. This is an important step… the better the soil preparation, the greater the success. Extra effort will absolutely be rewarded!
Once the soil is thoroughly prepped, apply a generous amount of grass seed, remember, some seed will be blown away, some eaten by birds, and some seed will not germinate…the rest will be beautiful! It’s a numbers thing.
We recommend “George’s Magic Mix” (Sun, Shade, or Traffic). GMM is blended locally and is formulated specific to our hard to grow climate. It’s hard to grow grass in St. Louis!
Using a leaf rake with the tines turned skyward, lightly raking the newly seeded area to help the seeds settle, and make contact with the soil. Be diligent with your watering. It is very important the seeded area remain moist. This will mean watering everyday until the seeds germinate and are strong enough to go a few days without water.
Step 5: Fertilization. All lawns should be fertilized at least once per year, and if that’s the case for your lawn, September is the ideal time. Just about any fertilizer will benefit your lawn, but I recommend products specific to turf. The rate of Nitrogen should be approx. 2-3/ lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. Several varieties of fertilizers are available at the shop and we will be happy to suggest a product best suited for your application.
For a healthy lawn year after year, we recommend the “step” program for lawn care. This includes multiple applications of fertilizer along with seasonal pre-emergent herbicide, weed control, and insecticide. Ask about our Dyna-Green Step program for lawn care.
Having a beautiful lawn is very possible but requires an on-going (year-round) maintenance program. Our summers are not very friendly to growing beautiful lawns, but with a little TLC, it can be done.
Give us a call at the shop for free “How-To” advice, and our best recommendations.