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Miraculous Fall Lawn Care Tips

You can do more for your lawn now than at any other time of the year!

Fall is the best time to prepare your lawn for next spring because you can do more now to impact how your lawn will look next year than at any other time of the year.

Unfortunately, many of us have lost our enthusiasm for yard work at this time of year, because we've been hard at it all summer, and because many of us think about lawn care only during the fresh exciting months of spring when everything is growing.

If however, you can get out there and do a few last easy tasks this month, it's a guarantee that you'll be way ahead for next year.

That's because with cooler temperatures, the grass is going to be focusing on root growth. Therefore, we want to build up the density of the grass and encourage the most vigorous, healthy turf we can now to enjoy later.

Another good thing about giving your lawn a little care in the fall, is that you can do more for weed control by attacking them right now than can be done with two or three weed killing applications in the spring or summer.

Lastly, none of the following items take long to do, but the results will look like you spent hours because your lawn will come blazing into spring with immense growth and color.


Get Your Lawn In Shape!

General Overview

There are some basic things you'll want to do with your lawn this fall. This list provides a general overview.

For specific to-dos, we have broken things down for cool-season and warm-season grasses below.

General To-Do List

  • Fertilize your lawn in October before the first heavy freeze, no matter if you have a cool or warm-season grass - but use a winterizer fertilizer

  • A winterizer fertilizer is like a 7-3-2. They are usually clearly labeled and one of the best is: Fall Lawns Alive! All-Natural Fertilizer

    • This all-natural product is formulated specifically for use in late summer and fall and it encourages strong, vigorous root development on both cool-weather and warm-weather lawns

    • Vigorous fall root development allows grass to over-winter better, and get off to a better start the following spring

    • At the same time it improves soil structure

    • It helps increase resistance to disease and insect pests

    • It provides a long-lasting balance of nutrients and helps grass get prepared for harsh winter weather

  • Other common winterizing fertilizer formulas are 18-6-12 or 15-5-10 which come in organic and non-organic products.

  • The winter weeds are germinating like crazy in the fall, and getting ready for next year, so make sure you apply a pre-emergent as soon as possible. The best time to apply a pre-emergent to combat winter weeds is in August or September, but if you haven't done so yet, do it now! A good organic pre-emergent is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten can be found at most garden centers.

  • By attacking the weeds now, you can do more about weed control than you can in the spring or summer.

  • If you have a lot of leaves, mulch them up and apply them to your lawn. They won't contribute to thatch and they act almost as another fertilizer application for the turf.

  • Lastly, mowing is the single most important thing you can do to manage the vigor of your grass and its ability to compete against weeds. In the fall, the best results are obtained by mowing at the highest setting on your mower. In no case should the mowing leave the grass less than 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) tall. This will help insulate the grass during the winter.

  • If you need more information about mowing heights - go here: Mowing Tips and Techniques








Cool-Season Grasses - Fall To Do List
(Bluegrass, Bentgrass, Ryegrass, Fescues)

For all grasses and growing guides see our Grass Types

Early Fall:

  • If there is a thatch layer deeper than 1/2 inch (1.25 cm), dethatch

  • Fertilize using a good winterizer fertilzer like Fall Lawns Alive! All-Natural Fertilizer which is a 7-3-2, and will help winterize your lawn by encouraging strong root development on fall-sown turf as well as on established lawns.

  • Sow new cool-season lawns

  • Reseed bare patches on existing lawns

  • Get after the weeds now and apply a good organic pre-emergent such corn gluten meal

Late Fall:

  • Continue mowing at the correct height, taking off no more than a third at a time so the grass is well insulated in the winter. Best results are obtained by mowing at the highest setting on your mower. In no case should the mowing leave the grass less than 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) tall. (For more mowing height info: Mowing Tips and Techniques)

  • Apply one last feeding of fertilizer



Dethatching:






Reseeding:

Warm-Season Grasses - Fall To Do List
(Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bahia)

For all grasses and growing guides see our Grass Types

Fall:

  • Inspect your lawn carefully for any signs of disease or insects

  • Continue mowing as necessary, but delay mowing as growth slows so that the grass goes into winter well insulated. Best results are obtained by mowing at the highest setting on your mower. In no case should the mowing leave the grass less than 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) tall

  • Overseed with cool-season grasses for winter color

  • Winterize your lawn with a good fertilizer like Fall Lawns Alive! All-Natural Fertilizer which is 7-3-2, and encourages strong root development on fall-sown turf as well as on established lawns

  • Get after the weeds now and apply a good organic pre-emergent such corn gluten meal





Applying Corn Gluten:

Conclusion

If you do the few things above, you can rest so easy all winter long knowing that when spring rolls around you already have a huge jump on the care of your lawn.

That's a very comforting thing, because it takes a lot of pressure off you when the weather warms up to spring into action against weeds, getting your lawn to color-up properly, and starting the mowing season.

Plus, the health of your lawn will be visibly apparent because during the cool weather the lawn's roots have been developing and are now ready to put out tons of vigorous, healthy, green growth.

Your lawn is going to look so spectacular, and I know you will be very happy with the results!




Hilary Rinaldi is a member of the National Garden Writers Association, a nationally published writer, and a certified organic grower. She regularly speaks and writes about all gardening related topics, with an emphasis on making gardening a successful and enjoyable process for anyone who wants to learn. Weekend Gardener Monthly Web Magazine concentrates of giving detailed gardening tips and gardening advice to all levels of gardeners.

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