Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fall Lawn Care

Fall Lawn Care

By Willi Evans Galloway

Even if you have only a small plot of sod, you still want it to look its best and be free of problems. The cool-season grasses (bluegrasses, perennial ryegrass, and fescues) grown in the northern half of the United States need more care now than warm-season grasses (bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and St. Augustine). Whichever type of grass you have, there are some steps you should take this fall to ensure a healthy, green lawn next spring.

Get a soil test. Assessing your soil health now gives you time to correct nutrient deficiencies and pH problems before spring.

Shred the leaves. Fallen leaves can smother a lawn if left in place all winter. Use a mulching mower to shred leaves into vital organic matter that you can leave right on your lawn.

Throw off thatch. Compacted soil and too much thatch—an accumulation of undecayed and decaying plant matter at the soil surface—denies grass roots the air, water, and nutrients they need to thrive. (Thatching, by the way, is caused by excess fertilizing, not by mulching grass clippings.) Increasing organic matter will stimulate the soil microbes that consume thatch. If the problem is so bad that water cannot penetrate the thatch, remove the thatch now with a stiff rake or thatching rake.

Mow high. Continue to mow grass until it stops actively growing. For the final mowing of the season, cut cool-season grasses to 2½ inches and warm-season grasses between 1½ and 2 inches, which is just a little shorter than you should cut it during the spring and early autumn.

No fast food. Fertilize cool-season grasses in fall with a slow-release, organic fertilizer, such asFall Lawns Alive!® Application timing varies among regions, so check with your county extension office for local recommendations. Don't fertilize warm-season grasses in fall.

Reseed bare areas. Prevent weedy patches next spring by seeding now. Grass seed grows well in fall because the temperatures are perfect for cool-season grass and because it has less competition from annual weeds. Just be sure to give the lawn enough time to establish itself before winter weather hits. Plant and renovate warm-season grasses in the spring.

Article from Organic Gardening .com


Anonymous said...

Great tips as usuall Granny. It's always good to tidy up your yard before Winter arrives; I often see yards in the dead of winter that weren't mowed or tended to late in the season, and they look awful. A little time this time of year is well spent, so you don't have to look at a bad looking yard all winter.

Anonymous said...

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I have given you an award, and you can pick it up at:


steven wilson said...

Hi Chris
Why I have never replied to this comment here is beyond me.

I saw the award at your blog,and responded,but somehow it slipped by me here.Thanks again