Fall is right around the corner, which means it is time to start to thinking about your lawn. To ensure a healthy turf come spring, fall lawn care is critical and needs to begin now!
First, bring us a sample of your soil for free testing to see what it needs. In our area, odds are you will need lime which adds calcium and magnesium to the soil and adjusts acidity to a level that stimulates growth.
Fall is the time to de-thatch and core-aerate your lawn. Thatch is the layer of dead grass, roots, and debris that accumulates between the soil surface and the grass blades above. You can de-thatch manually with vigorous raking, but renting a dethatcher machine makes quick work out of this tough and tedious job. The same goes for aerating, which removes plugs of soil from ground which has been baked to a hard crust during the summer.
Both of these processes loosen soil and allow water and nutrients to penetrate to the roots of your existing grass. By the way, if you have more than a half-inch of thatch on top of the soil, chances are that you are using too much fertilizer or fertilizing too often.
Now is the time for putting down grass seed in bare patches and overseeding the rest of your lawn. Grass actually grows best in the fall when temperatures are cool. Planting new grass now gives it time to establish a good root system before winter sets in. Tall fescue grass is the norm around Annapolis, but we carry most varieties of grass seed to match your lawn’s needs.
Follow the directions for overseeding and then water, water, water! We cannot emphasize enough that you must keep your seed and newly sprouted grass hydrated to the tune of one inch of water per week. Hopefully, the autumn rains will be heading our way soon, but pay attention to the weather forecast to ensure your new grass is getting enough water.
Fertilizing your lawn in the fall is necessary but can be tricky as many fertilizers cannot be used with grass seed. You must wait at least six weeks after seeding before applying fertilizer or else you will burn the new grass, UNLESS you use a starter fertilizer, like Milorganite® or Jonathan Green Winter Survival® which can be spread immediately after seeding.
If you use corn gluten as a fertilizer and weed preventer, the fall application will have to wait a few weeks until after the grass seed sprouts, and you will have another application in late-March to prevent weeds from emerging.
Do you have some basic questions or are you utterly lost when it comes to your yard? Don’t worry. Come on in and talk to our Garden Supply Manager, Aaron. We can work out a lawn care program with you that is specific to your yard.
Post updated on September 24, 2021. Originally published on September 13, 2018.