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September 9, 2016

Fall Lawn Care – Time to Plan!

In the spring, we talked a bit about lawn care and preparing your yard for the summer ahead. Now we’re going to go over some of the steps you’ll need to take to get your lawn ready for the upcoming cooler weather. Here in southeast Georgia we don’t get extremely cold weather, but temperature and moisture changes will still have an influence on your lawn care routine. While the grass will grow more slowly in the autumn, this is the time when it best absorbs the moisture and nutrients needed to sustain it through the winter. If you give your lawn some TLC now, in the spring you’ll be rewarded with a lush, green carpet of amazing grass. First things first…know what type of grass you have. In the South, most lawns consist of grasses that grow rapidly in warm weather, such as Bermuda grass, zoysia grass, buffalo grass and St. Augustine grass. These grasses tend to go dormant during the winter, causing brown, scrubby-looking lawns. If you want a pretty green lawn during the winter, you have the option of overseeding the lawn with annual winter rye grass. Add this seed to your lawn as the cooler weather approaches, and the grass will come up green and lovely during the cooler weather. When the warm weather returns, this variety of grass will naturally die off, allowing your existing warm weather grasses full access to both the sunlight and the water and nutrients in the soil. Make sure you don’t overseed with perennial rye grass, as this variety does not retreat with the coming of spring, and causes a “turf war” between the types of grasses on your lawn. No matter what type of grass you have, there are tasks you’ll need to focus on when you’re prepping your lawn for fall. Aerate the lawn – If your lawn is a manageable size, rent a gas-powered lawn aerator. It will cost about $70 per day. This machine punches holes into the soil that allow moisture, nutrients and oxygen to reach the roots of the grass. If you've got a very large yard, turn this task over to a professional landscaper. Rake, rake, rake – As leaves fall from nearby trees, they form a carpet over your lawn. When dew or rain moistens the leaves, they stick together and suffocate the grass, allowing mold and fungus to take hold. Don’t let leaves sit on your lawn – rake, blow or vacuum as often as possible to keep your lawn healthy. Fertilize – Most lawn care experts agree that if you only fertilize your lawn once a year, fall is the ideal time. Since grasses grow more slowly at this time of the year, there is more opportunity for the roots to absorb the nutrients you’re delivering. Fill in the blanks – Autumn is the ideal time to use an all-in-one lawn repair mixture to fill in the bald spots in your lawn. Rake loose the soil of the bald spot, then spread a thick layer of the repair mixture over the area. Lightly compact the mixture and the soil, and water generously every other day for two weeks. Fight the weeds – Like every other plant, weeds are now busy absorbing nutrients and preparing for the long winter ahead. Cut them off at the pass by applying herbicide and you won’t see their return in the spring. Remember to keep on mowing – Even though it’s tempting to let the grass grow wild over the cooler months, keep it neatly trimmed. It’s easier than you think to keep your lawn gorgeous all year long – as long as you don’t “fall” into bad habits when the heat breaks!
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