Autumn Lawn Care Advice: September
The beginning of the autumn is a busy time for the serious lawn enthusiast. Your lawn care routine will change slightly. You will need to continue to mow the lawn as often as necessary. You will find that you need to do this less as temperatures begin to get cooler and the days start to become shorter. Now can be a good time to scarify your lawn. It will help reduce the build up of thatch that is likely to have accrued over the summer. You may also want to aerate your lawn as it can become compacted over the summer months with people and pets walking over it. Aerating the lawn lets the air get back to its roots. Have a look at our lawn aerator and scarifier range. If you have bare patches on your lawn, the early autumn can be a good time to add some lawn seed. The weather is still warm enough so that the seeds can bed in but not so warm that they dehydrate. Sticking to a thorough lawn care routine throughout the autumn can help your lawn survive the colder winter months. Applying an autumn fertiliser is a good idea and can help your lawn stay strong and healthy during the winter. Applying fertiliser and new seed can be done more easily with a spreader or sprayer.
Lawn Care Calendar: Jobs For May
Gradually reduce the height of your mowing blades. For a utility lawn, aim for a height of about 2.5cm
Keep an eye out for weeds and treat with a selective herbicide if necessary. Personally, Im not a fan of chemicals and prefer to dig out any offenders but sometimes thats just not practical.
Dont forget to trim the edges of your lawn on a regularly.
When Should You Apply Iron Supplements To Your Lawn
The general rule is that you should use iron supplements on your lawn in the spring. Of course you can apply iron supplements at almost any time of year, but iron will deliver the best results when applied to your lawn when air temperatures are between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal air temperature is in the 60s or 70s. This is why Iron application during the heat of summer may not be as effective or deliver the desired results its too warm out.
Always remember to read the instructions to make sure you are using the supplement properly. Remember that you want to avoid overdoing your lawn with iron.
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Mulch Your Grass Clippings
If youre tired of bagging grass while you mow, weve got good news. To help your lawn stay greener year-round, you can leave the grass clippings on your lawn. When grass clippings break down, they provide your lawn with beneficial nutrients. While you dont need to buy a new mower blade, it doesnt hurt to install a mulching blade so that the grass is cut into smaller pieces. Learn more about recycling grass clippings here.
Leave The Grass A Little Long
Although it may go against your instincts, mow high during the summer months. Taller grass blades encourage the roots to grow deeper, and deeper roots are better for seeking that all important water. Plus, tall grass actually helps to shade the soil and keep it cooler which means less water is needed. And who doesnt love a lower water bill?
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Fruits Vegetables And Herbs
Before the last frost:
- Plant fruit trees.
- Till your vegetable garden as soon as the soil is dry and crumbly. Add amendments, and let the soil settle for about a week.
- Grow cool-season vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, broccoli, beets, radishes, peas, and carrots.
- Plant asparagus, rhubarb, and berries.
- Start seeds indoors for summer vegetables and annual herbs.
- Plant perennial herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and lavender.
After the last frost:
- Plant summer vegetables outdoors.
- Plant annual herbs such as basil and cilantro.
- Remove mulch from strawberry beds.
Lawn Care Month By Month
You can also view our Lawn Maintenance Guideline for more information.
Sharpen mower Cleanly cut grass is less susceptible to disease.Lime Pelletized lime is the easiest to use. Do not lime if ground is soggy. Now. OR
Clean up winter debris once the ground firms up.Start a new lawn Use a starter fertilizer. If you need to prevent crabgrass from seeding along with the grass, use an appropriate pre-emergent . Now through May.OR Wait until September.Mow weekly, 2½-3 high. Dont cut off more than 1/3 of the blade at any one mowing. Leave clippings if no disease is present and they wont smother the grass.Fertilize Use a maintenance fertilizer.OR Use a Step 1 product , before forsythia blooms drop, with a pre-emergent weed control if you need to control crabgrass and other annual weeds .
TROUBLESHOOTING Check for snow mold damage. Use a lawn fungicide if necessary.
Dethatch if more than ½ of thatch. Now.OR Wait until early October.Water 1 inch+ per week, including rainfall. Best time is from 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. which allows blades to dry, minimizing disease potential. Watering once a week for a longer period is better than more frequently for short periods, enhancing drought tolerance by encouraging deeper roots.Fertilize Use a maintenance fertilizer.OR Use a Step 2 product in late May or by June 15 if broadleaf weeds are a problem.
Control broadleaf weeds. A liquid broadleaf herbicide is most effective.
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When Is The Best Time To Overseed My Lawn
For cool-season lawns, the best time to overseed is late summer and early fall. For example, in the Northeast and Zone 5-6, the last week of August or the beginning of September are the best conditions for new grass. The number of weeds to be invasive is much lower in September than spring seeding in the spring .
Seasonal Plant Growth Cycle
In early spring, roots are long and full of nutrients stored from the fall. Shoots, the part of grass visible above ground, use this stored energy for growth.
In warm summer temperatures, leaf and root growth slow down. Plants rest during times of heat and drought. Roots can be damaged when soil temperatures are above 85°F.
In the fall months shoots start to grow again and nutrients are stored in the long roots for the winter. Optimal shoot growth occurs with air temperatures of 55 to 75°F.
Cool-season root growth is stimulated by soil temperatures above 32°F, and is optimal with soil temperatures between 50 and 65°F.
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Can I Put Too Much Fertilizer On My Lawn
There is the idea of too much of a good thing, and that definitely applies when it comes to fertilizing your lawn! Applying too much fertilizer to your lawn will cause the nitrogen and salt levels in the soil to increase rapidly, which can damage or even kill the grass. When this happens, it is known as fertilizer burn and looks like yellow and brown strips or patches of dead grass. These symptoms can appear as soon as the day after a fertilizer application, making it easy to determine the cause.
What Do You Need To Pay Special Attention To When Reseeding Your Lawn
To reseed your lawn, you dont have to completely redo everything. Often, spots recover well and its easier and more enjoyable than reseeding the entire area. Plus, you can still walk on the rest of the lawn, which is a big advantage. Because this also makes watering much easier.
But so you dont have to fret any further, weve put together what you should definitely look out for when reseeding lawns.
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Seasonal Lawn Care Tips
Your lawn, just like many of your garden plants, behaves and grows differently across each of the four seasons.
Understanding a little about its habits and knowing the simple tricks that will help it flourish can assist you in having a lawn that looks its best year round.
Of course, there are variations in climate and soils depending on where you live, and these need to be considered but heres our easy guide to seasonal lawn care.
When To Schedule Lawn Maintenance
It is important to schedule your lawn care maintenance during times that match the life cycle of the turfgrass.
- Do not add fertilizer too early in the spring. This may encourage the grass to grow during a time when it should be slow or dormant.
- Do not spray to control weeds when temperatures are warm. This increases the likelihood of damaging the lawn.
- Do not fertilize in hot mid-summer months. This can cause irreversible damage to your lawn.
- Crabgrass doesn’t develop until late spring or early summer, so don’t apply herbicide used to prevent pre-emerging crabgrass in the fall.
See Water-saving strategies for home lawns for information on how and when to water.
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Synthetic Iron Fertilizer Products
Synthetic iron fertilizers tend to be inexpensive and act quickly to improve your lawn. Sometimes these will need to be sprayed on your lawn, but many of these products are available in granule form.
If you go overboard with synthetic fertilizer products with Iron you could end up with grass that turns gray . Also, synthetic iron fertilizers can leave stains on concrete.
Be careful while applying this kind of product so you do not over-apply or spill it on your concrete driveway or walkways.
How Much To Fertilize
Apply between 2 and 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet each year during the growing season. If you dont use Total Lawn Food, be sure to check to ensure the fertilizer is approved for use on Bermuda, Zoysia or Fescue. Look up our exact fertilizer recommendations per grass in our Lawn Maintenance Guides.
To do the math on specific fertilizer rates for your lawn, visit our blog post on How to Calculate Fertilizer Rates.
Follow the schedules below to ensure youre fertilizing during the appropriate months of growing season.
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Fertiliser Is Not Lawn Food
There is a common misconception that the fertiliser itself is the food for your plant. We in the industry also commonly refer to feeding the grass or to fertiliser as lawn food. But in actual fact, grasses make their own food through the process of photosynthesis.
The issue for our lawns is there is usually a lack of the required nutrients it needs in the soil. This is due to the fact that our grasses are not originally from the exact same soil conditions we experience in our yards. As a result, we need to supplement the existing nutrient levels, so we can achieve a balance of all the nutrients your lawn needs to stay in top shape.
Lawn Fertilisers come in many varying types and blends. Just take a look down one of the aisles in some of the bigger nurseries and you can get confused as to what may be best for your lawn. Going back to basics, lets look at your lawn being like any ordinary plant. It takes in nutrients and air through the soil and sunlight through the leaves for photosynthesis where the conversions to sugars and energy takes place. With everything in balance this happens well and the plant will thrive and what we want to do is help keep this process at its optimum. So in keeping that optimum level of nutrient input for your lawn you can look out for a few tell-tale signs when its lacking:
Should I Fertilize My Lawn Before Or After Mowing
Ideally, youll want to mow and rake before fertilizing so that excess lawn waste is removed, allowing the fertilizer to have an easier time reaching the soil. Aerating your soil before fertilizing can also help. When fertilizing a lawn, it is best to apply fertilizer after the lawn has been mowed so it has a few days to absorb the fertilizer.
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Fertilizing Schedule For Home Lawns
This lawn is damaged as a result of excessive spring fertilizer applications.
Two important factors to consider when fertilizing lawns are how much and when to apply. About three pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per growing season is suggested for most full-sun lawns in northern Illinois . Split into two or three applications, with each single application of nitrogen being about one pound per 1,000 sq. ft. About half as much nitrogen is suggested for shade lawns. Percent nitrogen in the bag and size of the lawn are calculation variables as shown below.
Reasons Your Lawn Is Full Of Weeds
Starting out, you probably want to know just why weeds have overtaken your grass, so you can prevent it from happening again.
- Poor grass growth: Weeds thrive in thinning grass. The best way to keep weeds out is to have thick, tall, dense grass all over your lawn. If your grass is cut too short, its more susceptible to a full-on weed invasion. Setting your mower to the highest setting can help with this.
- Not enough water: Weeds tend to have robust root systems, and can easily compete with your grass for moisture. If you are not watering your grass enough, the weeds can absorb what water there is, taking it away from your grassroots.
- Compacted soil: If your soil becomes too compacted, whether from excessive foot traffic or poor soil composition, your grassroots wont have access to the nutrients, water, or air they need. This stressed turf makes for an exceptional weed breeding ground.
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How Do I Deal With Weeds Pests And Diseases
Weeds: Most weeds are broad-leafed and are quite simple to get rid of using the correct selective weed killer for broad-leafed plants. Always follow the instructions on the label exactly. This is not a case of the more you apply, the more they die. Avoid mowing your lawn before you apply the herbicide. Allow 24 hours to pass after applying it before watering or mowing your grass.
Insects: Carry out a pest control regime on a regular basis so that destructive insects dont reach a point where they destroy your lawn completely. Change the insecticide frequently to prevent pests from building up a resistance to any one type. Use organic products whenever possible.
Lawn diseases: The difficult aspect of disease control is identifying the specific disease. Its often best to ask your local nurseryman for advice. Some diseases may require you to apply fertilisers. Others will thrive on even the smallest amount of nitrogen in a fertiliser application. If a disease is noticed on a lawn, aerate the soil as soon as possible. Most diseases flourish in areas with poor drainage, heavy traffic and poor soil fertility.
Dont Wait Too Long To Mow The Lawn
Finally, it may seem early, but in most parts of Pennsylvania, grass will be ready for its first trim sometime in April. We recommend that grass be mowed once it reaches about 3 inches in height. By mowing the new green blades when they get to this point, you will prevent the grass from getting overgrown and stimulate continual growth.
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How Often Do I Need To Fertilise And What Should I Use
- A good general fertiliser for all lawn types is 5:1:5 . These numbers indicate the amount of nitrogen , balanced phosphorus and potassium it contains. The indicates the percentage of these three elements in the mix. Apply this fertiliser during the growing season at a rate of 60g/m² at least once every three months.
- You can feed your lawn during winter using a fertiliser, like 2:3:2, which contains less nitrogen and more phosphorus. Most warm season lawns become dormant in the winter, they do not need high volumes of nitrogen.
How To Apply Lawn Fertilizer
There are several ways to apply lawn fertilizer. Using a spreader provides more even coverage than fertilizing by hand. Hand fertilizing often results in burns where the fertilizer is concentrated and pale areas that dont get as much fertilizer as they should.
Broadcast or rotary spreaders are easy to use and dont cause striping like drop spreaders. The advantage to drop spreaders is that there is no chance of overthrow getting fertilizer on streets, sidewalks, or driveways. With a drop spreader, you have to make two trips over the lawn at right angles. For example, if you make your first trip over the lawn in a north-south direction, the second trip should run east to west.
After applying the fertilizer, water the lawn thoroughly. Watering rinses the fertilizer off the grass blades so that they wont burn, and it allows the fertilizer to sink down into the soil so it can get to work. Keep kids and pets off the lawn for the amount of time recommended on the label, which is usually 24 to 48 hours.
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Types Of Fertilizer To Use On Lawns
Here are the basic types of fertilizer to use on lawns:
Slow-release You dont have to use slow release fertilizers as often, but they are usually more expensive.
Fast-release You get quick results with a fast-release fertilizer, but you have to apply them in smaller amounts and more frequently. You can burn your lawn with a fast-release fertilizer if you use too much.
Weed and feed Try to identify your weeds before using a weed and feed product and make sure your weed is listed on the product label. Take special care around trees, shrubs, and garden plants.
Organic materials such as compost and manure The essential nutrients arent as concentrated in these types of materials, so you have to use a lot. Compost or dry manure before applying it to the lawn, and be aware that some manures, particularly horse manure, may contain weed seeds.
Liquid fertilizers These arent recommended because they are hard to apply evenly and require frequent applications.