Fertilizing your yard during the fall can provide grass with a source of nutrients that may not be readily available naturally during these months.
Our Fall Lawn Application is applied during the months of September and October. This application consists of balanced time-release fertilizer and broadleaf weed control. This application aids in further root development and winter hardiness. You may think that weeds cannot grow during the fall and winter, but these nuisances are still able to take root at any time of the year. We apply weed control to the entire lawn in the fall. This helps to control the weeds over winter and reduce the amount of weeds the following spring.
Once the cooler temperatures set in and hopefully rain, you shouldn’t have to water as often. But, if there is not sufficient rainfall, then a good soaking (1 – 1 ½ hours per area) once a week should be given to the lawn. Good soil moisture is important for the grass plants and root development.
It is important to maintain a high cutting height until mid October. Wait until the grass slows down its growth, and then start to gradually lower the mowing height each cutting until it is no lower than 2” for the winter months. Do not leave the grass long going into the winter. Although, do not cut it too short either. At a 2” height, the plant has the ability to store more food reserves. It is a good idea to bag the clippings at the last mowing of the season.
During the fall, we usually see Dollar Spot and Rust. If you are seeing bleached-out areas approximately 2 – 4 inches in diameter, it is most likely Dollar Spot. In some lawns, Dollar Spot has the appearance of several small brown or tan spots that sometimes show up in clusters. With proper watering your lawn usually grows out of this condition. Rust appears as a reddish brown dust on the grass. You can see it on your shoes when you walk over your lawn or on the tires of your mower after cutting. This disease will usually grow out also with proper watering. This Fall application will also aid in the recovery of Dollar Spot and Rust. If you notice these diseases, avoid watering at night and bag your clippings with mowing.
This is the time of year that grubs are actively feeding in your lawn. Their activity usually begins late August or early September and can continue well into October. When we apply our Fall Lawn Application, we will be checking the lawn for grubs, however, they can surface after we have checked. If you notice irregular large brown areas and the grass can be pulled up easily, there may be grubs active in your lawn. In most cases, you can see the worms at the surface of the ground. If a Grub Preventive application was not applied, insecticide can be applied to kill the grubs active in the lawn at this time.
Fall is a good time to aerate your lawn. To grow strong roots, grass requires aerated soil. Compaction prevents water from soaking into the ground, which is detrimental to the root system. High-traffic areas and lawns with heavy soil are susceptible to this condition. Ideally, you should aerate your lawn once a year, but once every other year is good too. This process removes plugs of soil and grass to invigorate the lawn and allows water and fertilizer to reach the roots. Aeration can be done usually until the end of May, depending on weather conditions. If you would like us to aerate your lawn and you have an underground sprinkler system, we will ask you to mark all the sprinkler heads for us before we can aerate. This will prevent our machines from breaking any of the sprinkler heads.
Fall is also a good time to dethatch your lawn if necessary. Thatch is the straw-like debris that accumulates at the base of the turf. Not every lawn needs to be dethatched. If you are unsure if this is something that needs to be done, please feel free to ask us to check your lawn.
Raking & Seeding
If there are areas in your lawn that need seeding, now is the time to do it. But, make sure to have it done before the end of September. The plants need time to mature prior to the winter months. If the grass is not mature before a heavy frost, the seedlings will not be strong enough to withstand the cold and will most likely die. You should use bluegrass for the sunny areas and fine & red fescues for shade areas. Be sure to mix the seed into the soil, this will enable the seed to grow.
It may seem easier to allow leaves to stay on your lawn as they fall, but anything covering grass over the fall and winter prevents a lawn from accessing the sunlight that it needs to thrive. Take the time to thoroughly rake and remove leaves once the trees are bare, and remember to mow your lawn one last time after leaves have been removed.