Fall has the ideal conditions for your lawn: warm days and cool nights, morning dew, and more rainfall. But even with these forces in Mother Nature working together, there are still things you need to do to recover your grass from summer damage and supply it with the nutrients it needs for growth.
There are two types of turf: cool-season grasses, like Kentucky blue grass, which thrives in cool weather and warm-season grasses, like Bermuda grass, which grow during the spring and summer months. Before you map out your fall lawn care schedule, you need to know which one you’re working with.
- Need enough water to keep growing all winter long
- Apply 1 pound of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet
- Avoid fertilizing in the fall
- Overseed with annual winter ryegrass
Use the Right Fertilizer
When you fertilizer will depend on your grass type, but there is a difference in fall and spring fertilizers. Scott’s WinterGuard is some of the best fall lawn fertilizer I’ve used but regardless of the brand, get a fertilizer that are high in nitrogen and potassium and low in phosphorus. Also, I know it’s tempting, but don’t skimp on your fertilizer. Spend the extra couple of dollars on a higher quality.
Just because the weather is cooler doesn’t mean you don’t have to water in often, and water restrictions still apply all winter long. Your lawn will also lose nutrients faster during the cooler months, so supplement your fertilizer with a conditioner that will help keep in water and nutrients. I used Soil2O, a soil amendment from GelTech Solutions, last year. You simply mix it water and apply it the top of your lawn. It allowed me to cut back on watering by allow my grass to hold in more water at a time.
Rake Up Your Leaves
Fall isn’t complete without the colors changing and leaves falling, and while the sight is something to behold, it can cause some serious damage to your lawn. Leaves will smother your grass by not allowing enough sunlight to get to the root zone. Rake them up, and once your kids have jumped in them, put them in your compost pile.
Your lawn needs to be mowed until it stops growing, and the biggest mistake people make is thinking grass doesn’t grow during the fall. For cool-season grasses, no height adjustment is needed. For warm-season grasses, adjust the height by ½ inch to account for the dormant season.