Fall is the perfect season for lawn care and renovation. Contrary to popular belief that spring is the preferable season for lawn care, fall is actually the best time. Fall brings a much needed reprieve from the stressful heat of summer and rainfall is usually more plentiful in September and October. Begin your lawn care as early in the fall as possible to allow ample time before the winter freeze starts in your region.
Begin your lawn care in the early fall months of September and October with weed control. Start by applying a herbicide specifically formulated for lawn weeds. Weeds will begin preparing for the winter months in much the same way as any perennial does. Weeds will start to feed more heavily and will also draw nutrients from its leaves and put them back into the roots in preparation for the months ahead. By applying a broadleaf weed control product in fall, the weeds will actually get a heavier dose of herbicide in the roots for better long term control. But grasses will be actively growing as well and will fill in the bare spots left from the now dead weeds.
Fall is the ideal time to fertilize the lawn for a healthy boost of nutrients before winter sets in.Buy a good quality lawn fertilizer that’s slow release. This type of fertilizer applied in the fall won’t give the instant green-up of typical high nitrogen fertilizers that release the nitrogen all at once. A slow and steady release of nitrogen and other nutrients is actually a better way to care for lawns. There is less chance of burning the lawn from too much fertilizer and sudden rapid growth all at once.
Fall is also a good time to take care of any thatch problems that might be present in the lawn. Thatch is simply the build-up of dead grass, roots and stems. Start the process by checking the amount of thatch in the lawn. Simply dig down about 4 inches in the grass and pull up a piece of sod. Thatch looks like a tangled mass of brown roots above the soil level in the lawn.
If the thatch is ½ inch or thicker, the best care you can give the lawn is aeration. This is basically putting evenly spaced holes throughout the lawn for air, water and nutrients to better pass through the thick layer of thatch. Aerators can be rented for a variety of prices and sizes that will depend upon the particular needs of your lawn.
Plant grass seeds in the fall to renovate a poor lawn or to start a brand-new lawn. The cooler weather is less stressful to newly germinated grass seeds and there is much less competition with weed seedlings. Often in spring, the hardier weed seeds germinate and quickly crowd out any young grass trying to grow. The weeds and heat combine to make unfavorable growing conditions for new lawns.
The hard work you put into caring for your lawn in the fall will reward you with a beautiful green lawn when spring rolls around. But it won’t just look good, it will have a healthier start for the bare feet and sunny seasons ahead.