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. Core-aerating removes plugs of soil from ground which has been baked to a hard crust during the summer. 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. 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. K&B True Value’s Garden Manager, Greg King, recommends earth-friendly Milorganite® or Johnathan Green Winter Survival® which not only benefits the lawn you do have, it can also be used when you put down grass seed. If you use corn gluten as a fertilizer and weed preventor, you’ll need to put down your fall application six weeks before or after you put down grass seed.
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 Garden Supply Manager, Greg King. You can try to stump him with your lawn and gardening questions. It’s never happened before, but we guess there is always that chance. No matter how remote.