Friday, October 12, 2012

Autumn Lawn Care

Lawn in Autumn
Autumn is the season when you ready your lawn for winter by fertilizing, weeding and thatching.  It is also the time to start a new lawn and repair an old lawn. By taking care of your lawn needs in early September through October you will prolong the color and have a healthy lawn that will resist weeds. 

When spring comes your lawn will be dense with no bald spots and grass will be lush and green.

Fertilizing Lawn
Here in the central states fertilizing your yard is best done the first week of September.  My lawn is a combination Kentucky blue grass and perennial ryegrass.  The cool season grass grows fast in the spring and the fall.  I fertilize my lawn once a year with a quality lawn fertilizer that has a slow-release of nitrogen.  By fertilizing in early fall my grass stays greener longer and come spring my grass comes back quick.

If you are going to fertilize your lawn with a winterize then apply a fertilizer that contains at least 20 percent more nitrogen and less phosphorus and potassium. 
Follow the directions on the winterize lawn fertilizer and water well after application.  

The best time to winterize your lawn is from October through early November. 
If you are unsure of how much nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is needed then I would recommend getting your soil tested.

Weed Control-Thatching
In late August mow your lawn to the height of two inches and then treat it with a pre-emergent weed killer to get rid of the common broadleaf weeds; clover, sow thistle, dandelions, bindweed, plantain. 

In about ten days the weeds will have died back and you would then remove the weeds and the thick tangled dead grass roots from your lawn by thatching.  Thatching rakes have curved tines which enable you to clear your lawn quickly and to loosen up the top soil. 
Care for your lawn in autumn

Planting Grass Seed
After you thatch your lawn it is now ready for reseeding your lawn or to fill in bare spots.  The best time to seed your lawn is in early September.  The cooler weather is agreeable and the grass grows quickly.

Irrigating Your Autumn Lawn
Keep your lawn watered especially if you have a dry autumn or winter seasons.  Even if your lawn goes dormant it is still living and needs water to survive throughout the winter months.  Grass needs an average of 1/2 inch of water a week to stay healthy.  You can go 2 weeks without watering and then water your lawn 1 inches of water. This deep watering will get to the roots and benefit your lawn.

Measure the water by setting an empty tuna fish or cat food can next to the sprinkler.  When the water fills the can then you have reached your lawn watering requirements.


Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass lawns in sun should receive 1 to 4 pounds per 1000 square feet of nitrogen every year.

Fertilizer used in the fall should be higher in nitrogen then potassium and lower in phosphorus. Grasses fertilized this way have shown greater survival during winter months than those fertilized with high phosphorous.

Learn more about fertilizing lawn in fall here:

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