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Fall Lawn Care

October 22, 2012

Contrary to popular belief, fall is the best time of the year for lawn and turf care. This includes everything from fertilization, to changing your mower’s cutting height.

Soil Testing
Have your soil tested if you feel your lawn had issues this year. This can be done through the local extension office for a minimal fee (419.578.6783). A soil test will give you the lawn’s nutrient and Ph levels, and other factors that will determine plant growth.

Aerate areas of your lawn that have been compacted throughout the year. Aeration is beneficial in several ways: it will help oxygen travel through the soil which is essential for worms, micronutrients, and the grass itself. It will also help loosen the soil and allow water and nutrients to penetrate the compacted areas, which will encourage better growth.

Early fall is the best time to fertilize. A good ratio to use in the fall is a 3:1:2(N:P:K). So a 15:5:10, or a 21:7:14 work well. A good spreading rate for the fall is 1 pound of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet.

Weed Control
Fall is also a great time to control broadleaf weeds such as dandelions and clover. While weeds are rapidly pulling in nutrients to store up for winter, they will also pull in the herbicide, which will kill the weed more effectively.

Leaf Removal
Make sure to remove leaves from the grass in the fall. Large amounts of leaves will choke out the grass, leaving large bare spots in your lawn next spring.

Mower Height
In late-summer, gradually begin lowering your cutting height on your mower so by the time of the final cut, the height of the grass is about 2 inches. Gradually lowering the mower height, as apposed to just lowering for the final cut, will keep the mower from scalping the grass and cutting most of the body of the blade, which would stress the grass in the spring. A gradual lowering will encourage a better root system, which is essential in the winter. A lower cut will also help to prevent diseases such as Snow Mold from forming.

Remember, if you want a beautiful, healthy lawn, turf care is a year-round process. But, if you only have time to care for your lawn once a year, fall should be that time!

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