Fall Turf Care

on Sep 29 in Yard News

Fall is officially here. As the days grow shorter and we start to feel a chill in the air, this is the time we need to get our hands dirty and prepare our yards for the winter months ahead. There are important steps we need to do to insure we keep a healthy lawn that will survive the winter, and thrive going into the spring.

First thing we need to do is to make sure we protect our yard from winter weeds. To do so, we need to apply a pre- emergent herbicide. The trick is to apply at the correct time. This class of herbicide prevents germination of the weed seeds. Typically you will need to apply early in the fall. It is used best to control Crabgrass and Poa Annua or other grassy weeds. They also control some broadleaf weeds. Pre-em herbicide is effective when applied before the weeds are seen. ***Please note that if you are aerating and seeding a fescue or other cool season turf, you will need to put down the pre- emergent after your grass seed has germinated***. Whichever pre-emergent you choose will have directions on how long you must wait to apply after seeding.

If you have fescue grass, now is the time for aerating and seeding. After this hot dry summer, I am sure a lot of you have large dead areas in your lawns. Aerating and seeding will help fill in the troubled areas with brand new grass and have your turf looking like new! Since fescue does not spread like a Bermuda or Zoysia, we recommend aerating and seeding every year around the end of summer or beginning of fall (Sept-Oct) to insure you keep your turf looking thick and lush.

Follow these steps with aerating and seeding:

1. Scratch with a hard rake, troubled dead spots (remove dead debris).

2. Aerate your entire lawn (This will alleviate compaction and help with seed to soil contact).

3. Scratch with a rake the troubled dead spots again (Remove dead debris).

4. Overseed with 4 pounds of Fescue seed per 1000 square feet (some experts recommend more, but be careful not to overdo it).

5. Apply a starter fertilizer (High in Phosphorus).

6. After seed has germinated, apply pre-emergent (follow herbicide label when to apply after seeding).

If you have Bermuda or Zoysia grass, this is the time to fertilize. The winter brings cold harsh temperatures and could harm your turf during dormancy. Remember, a warm season turf is still alive when it is dormant, and we want to insure that our turf has enough food stores to survive. We accomplish this by fertilizing with a high potassium blend. A good time to fertilize is in the month of September. Potassium helps the turf with drought tolerance, cold hardiness, and disease resistance. As always, follow the directions on the label of whatever fertilizer you choose. You can also buy fertilizer with pre-emergent already mixed in, which is a great time saver.

Written by Tony Gregory

Co-written and edited by Bobby Jones

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