With all the rain we had this summer, it’s hard to believe we HAD a summer much less that this weekend marks the “unofficial” end to summer. If you’re not packing
the family up and heading off for a long weekend break, you may want to consider a little bit of fall prep work for your lawn.
Did you know that the weeks between August 15 to September 15 offer what turf experts consider the best time of the growing season for repairing, installing or just doing maintaining on our lawns? Why is this time of year considered the best for lawns? Typically, summer brings hot, humid days and nights and when August rolls around – the evening temperatures begin to drop. That cooler air isn’t able to hold as much humidity as the warm air and as a result, the moisture settles to the ground as dew. Dew, in turn, helps keep lawns, especially newly seeded lawns, moist in the early hours!
But what should you be working on during these prime weeks? Here’s an overview of the who, what, when, where and why of late-summer/early-fall lawn care.
Mowing: Lower the mower blade as temperatures cool in late summer. Mow bluegrass at 2 to 2 1/2 inches during fall. Mow often enough so that no more than 1/3 of the total leaf surface is removed. Continue mowing the lawn until it stops growing and becomes dormant in late fall (early to mid-November).
Fertilization: Late summer and fall is an excellent time to fertilize lawns but first and foremost, test your soil’s pH and then make any adjustments right off the bat. Apply 1 to 2 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
Aeration. Lawn areas that have heavy foot traffic (kids path!) may be thin due to compaction. Aerify compacted soils in late August or September with a machine that has hollow metal tubes or tines that remove plugs of soil from the lawn. Avoid spike-type devices that simply punch holes in the turf. Break up the soil cores by raking or mowing after aerification. Then apply fertilizer to promote recovery of the turf.
Seeding. Late summer or early fall is an excellent time to establish new lawns or overseed thin or severely damaged lawns. Seeding may begin in mid-August and should be completed by September 30.
And before you know it… you’ll be pulling out the rakes!!
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara