Yes, its July and you really don’t want to think about fall just yet but please hear me out! You have spent the spring and early summer watering, fertilizing and mowing that beautiful lawn. It is your pride and joy. Preparing your lawn for fall and winter is even more important. Grass still needs to absorb moisture and nutrients to make it through the winter ahead and come out the other side in spring healthy and ready to grow.
In early fall rake or mower mulch the leaves covering the lawn and compost them. If left on the lawn, leaves will provide an excellent breeding ground for fungal diseases. Dethatch the lawn if necessary. The thatch layer is the layer of grass that lies at the base of the grass blades. ( See diagram) It is time to dethatch if this layer is greater than ¾ in. deep.
Next, aerate your lawn. Aerate early in the fall while the ground is still soft. This is so important as oxygen, water and fertilizer can reach the grass roots through the plug holes in the lawn.
If you would like to rejuvenate a tired lawn, follow the previous steps and then lightly over seed the area, followed by another light application of good quality soil. Grass seed sprouts well under cool conditions. The area will look somewhat messy but after a couple of waterings no one will know the difference!
Fertilize the lawn in September or October. During this time grass blades slow down in growth and the plant transfers it’s energy into strengthening the root system in preparation for winter. Fall fertilizers help the grass plant to strengthen the crowns. The crowns become more hardy and disease resistant and green up more quickly in the spring. Floral Acres recommends using ProMix Fall and Winter Blend 10-0-32. This fertilizer has a high potassium content, combined with peat (25%) and a special nutrient blend to help strengthen the grass crown and root system.
Unfortunately dandelions and other broad leaf weeds put on a burst of growth in the fall. If you choose to apply herbicide a local direct spray is best rather than broadcasting the chemical over the entire lawn.
Above all do not mow your lawn too short in fall. Leave the grass at a height of 2 to 2 ½ inches.