78ac Lawn Care in the Fall? YES!
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Lawn Care in the Fall? YES! September 23, 2019

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Cooler weather, pumpkin spice everything and Saturday football is here! This is the time of the year is busy, and the lawn tends to go ignored. It is important to remember your lawn is a living thing and requires care during any season - even winter. Arguably, fall is the most important season of the year in terms of lawn care. It’s the time when your grass prepares for the barren, nutrient-poor winter months. It’s also when you prime your grass for good health the following spring.

Early fall is a critical time to apply a protective barrier to keep our lawns free from winter annuals. This application may also include a liquid fertilizer based on soil temperatures and other environmental conditions. Your Waynes Lawn Professional may also use this time to address tough to control perennial weeds like Dallisgrass and white clover. Fall applications to these weeds provide the best control.

Common winter weeds include Poa Annua, also known as Annual Blue Grass, which is a grassy weed that often grows in Bermuda and Zoysia lawns. Other common winter weeds include chickweed, bittercress, henbit, and wild onion.

You may be wondering, “What can I do to stop them?” Our experts here at Waynes recommend the following:

Warm Weather Grass tips for Fall

Mowing

Continue to mow lawns until no new growth is noticeable.

Fertilize

Mid-September is the last chance to apply fertilizer. At this time and no later you can apply a “winterized” fertilizer. If you have a lawn care service, they will continue to monitor your lawn throughout the fall.

Weed Control

Apply a fall pre-emergent to control winter weeds within the first two weeks of September or when the soil is at or below 70 degrees 2 inches below the soil.

Leaf Control

No one wants to rake leaves 2 to 3 times a week, but it’s vital to keeping your lawn in good health. Left alone, fallen leaves develop a barrier that prevents sunlight from reaching the grass. Unraked leaves also create the ideal environment for grass-killing fungal diseases. You can mow the leaves, but it’s important to use a mower equipped with a collection bag so leaves are removed from your lawn and not just redistributed.

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Weed Prevention

There are countless resources to help DIYers create a year-round lawn care plan for the grasses specific to their lawns. It is a daunting process so don’t get discouraged. As with most things, practice makes perfect but keep in mind that weather heavily affects your lawn’s overall health. If you use a lawn care service, they will be able to alter your lawn care management plan as needed and will keep you regularly updated on your lawn care responsibilities.

Cool Weather Grass tips for Fall (Tennessee and North Carolina)

Mowing

Even though the grass isn't growing as fast, it’s vital to maintain your mowing and watering regiment. The last two times you cut your grass before winter, drop your blade height to its lowest setting. This adjustment allows more sunlight to reach the root of the grass where it’s stored and slowly released during the winter months.

Aerate

Fertilizer, water, and oxygen need to reach the root of the grass so aerating your yard may be necessary. Luckily, you have a few options. You can purchase an aerator for a couple of hundred bucks and spend hours “plugging” your yard. Renting an aerator is also possible but it will set you back about $70 per day. The third option is to hire a professional lawn care company with the experience and equipment to properly aerate your yard.

Leaf Control

No one wants to rake leaves 2 to 3 times a week, but it’s vital to keeping your lawn in good health. Left alone, fallen leaves develop a barrier that prevents sunlight from reaching the grass. Unraked leaves also create the ideal environment for grass-killing fungal diseases. You can mow the leaves, but it’s important to use a mower equipped with a collection bag so leaves are removed from your lawn and not just redistributed.

Fertilize

You should fertilize your lawn several times a year, but if you can only do it once then mid to late fall is the best option. During the fall, grass above the soil-line grows much slower; however, an important network of roots continue to grow rapidly. By fertilizing in the fall, your grass will establish deep root, nutrient-rich roots which are key to surviving harsh winter conditions.

Weed Prevention

Instead of trying to kill weeds once they become problematic, the fall season is the opportunity to be proactive. Apply a weed control product in early fall, while daytime temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees. Although you won't see immediate benefits, you’ll thank yourself in the spring when far fewer weeds spring up.

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