Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall for a Great Lawn

Did you know that fall is a great time to improve your lawn? By fertilizing now, you'll see a noticeable improvement in your lawn next spring. Winterizing protects grass during colder months and gives it a head start after the first thaw for a lusher, greener lawn next season.

Fall is also the best time to start new grass from seed. Whether you're filling in a few bare patches, overseeding for a fuller lawn or starting a new lawn from the ground up, grass seed does well in fall for a number of reasons:

1. Heavy dew and cooler temperatures make it easy to keep seeds and new sprouts moist, without constant watering.

2. Daytime temperatures won't scorch the seeds, but keep the ground warm enough overnight to promote healthy germination and growth.

3. Weeds, which can easily choke out young grass, are usually under control by fall, if you've taken the proper steps during the spring and summer.

Here are also a few tips for giving your seed a good start:

1. Till the area as young roots can't penetrate heavily compacted ground; this will also help with proper drainage.

2. Add 2-3 inches of screened top soil and level it with a landscape rake.

3. Using a broadcast spreader, sow seeds that are well suited to the area; there are varieties specifically for sunny and shaded yards.

4. Using the same spreader, apply a starter fertilizer. Grass simply won't grow as well without this, and you need it with winter on the way.

5. Cover the soil and new seed with a light layer of hay to prevent wash-out.

6. Water well and continue as needed through fall.

After a few warm autumn weeks, grass will be strong enough to survive the winter and thrive in spring.

Just two words of caution ...

Weeds Happen! Tiny, resilient weed seeds are already in your soil, and more will find their way to your lawn by way of wind, bird or other modes. There WILL BE weeds growing along with new grass, but don't try to treat them yet: you'll kill them AND your new grass. Be patient and tackle them next spring; it's worth the wait!