Signup to receive email updates

or follow our RSS feed


John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

Blog Archives

732 Total Posts

follow our RSS feed

Blog Banner

In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Fall Lawn Care

Posted by John Fulton -

The time of year has arrived to put that final push on to prepare your lawn for the upcoming winter months. What you do now will have a big impact on how your lawn will look next spring.

Keep mowing when the grass or weeds dictate mowing. The rule of thumb is to remove no more than a third of the leaf blade at any one time. This means that if your desired mowing height is 2 inches, you should be mowing when the grass gets 3 inches tall. With the recent dry, hot weather mowing frequency has slowed down greatly.

I have had some grub samples brought into the office this week. This means that the grubs are active. Grub problems are normally found first along walks, driveways, or patios. The current list of products includes imidacloprid and trichlorfon as the chemical active ingredients. Sevin may also be used, but it is specific for Japanese beetle grubs. Sevin also will have an effect on earthworms, which is good and bad. It is good if you have mole problems, and bad if you don't. If label directions are followed, these should provide adequate control of grubs. The insecticide must get to where the grubs are, so make sure to water the liquid formulations in as soon as they are applied.

The other brown grass problem is either disease or heat stress on chiefly Kentucky bluegrass lawns. This tends to be in open sun, where there are traffic areas, where water may have stood with heavy rains, and other similar stress areas. In any case, these areas appear dead. They may have just had the top portions die back and further growth may occur from the root or crown areas when some cooler temperatures return. If diseases were present, it won't do any good to spray them. If areas don't start greening up by September 10, see the section below on seeding. Questions continue on rust in lawns, and with any disease problem, it is not recommended to treat with fungicides in home lawn situations. Rust will go away when the weather conditions change.

Seeding of grass should be accomplished by September 10. This is a tried and true date, but the end of the world won't come about if you are a week later. The goal is to give the seed

enough time to germinate and become established before bad weather arrives. Seed at the rate of 4 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet on bare spots, or half that rate on overseedings.

If you have a compacted yard, or have a deep thatch layer, now is also an ideal time to dethatch or aerate. Thatch layers should not be over 1/2 inch deep for optimum growing conditions. When aerating, make sure you use a core type aerator.

Fall fertilization is also a good practice. If you haven't fertilized in the last month, consider applying a fertilizer treatment now. Use about 8 pounds of 13?13?13 fertilizer per

1000 square feet of lawn. Try to avoid the high nitrogen fertilizers this late in the year. It's hard enough to keep up with the mowing as it is, and nitrogen promotes top growth. The even analysis fertilizers will also promote root growth, which is what we want going into the late fall and winter.

Crabgrass and other annuals grass weeds can be seen about everywhere. They will die with the first frost, so treatment is not available or recommended in the fall. Make a note of where these grasses are, and an overseeding to thicken up the grasses you want there may help crowd out the annuals.

Last, but not least, is broadleaf weed control. Fall is a particularly good time to treat problem perrenial weeds since they are sending food down to the roots to overwinter. A spray

about the 3rd or 4th week of September (making sure to use the appropriate product) can do a world of good on the perennial weeds. Remember to be very careful with herbicides around perennial plants since they are also getting ready to overwinter.

Please share this article with your friends!
Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter