Fall is here and leaves are starting to drop. It is the beginning of the end of another successful growing season. I like watching football in the fall and relish the idea of putting the mower away for good. However, it is not the end of your lawn care for this year.
The good news is, if we have not yet experienced our first frost we will soon. This will kill any crabgrass in your lawn turning it purple in a few days. The crabgrass plant will then turn dead-brown and start to look like an anemic spider stretching out across your lawn. Do you have a lot of crabgrass spots in your lawn? Scratch up these areas and re-seed your lawn with Black Beauty Ultra grass seed, the remains of the crabgrass plant provide a nice straw-like cover to new seedlings. Fall is the best time to seed your lawn because the heat of summer is gone, the temperature is cooler at night and gentle rains promote strong root growth. Weeds, insects and fungus are not as active during fall months. At this time of year lawns grow vigorously and they like to be feed a good meal. Apply Winter Survival Fall Lawn Fertilizer; which contains slow-release nitrogen and iron to feed the grass into the fall months while the iron provides a deep-green color to your grass. Fall is also a great time to adjust soil pH if necessary.
As leaves drop be sure to clear your lawn of them at least every week to avoid them matting down the lawn and potentially killing grass. Leaves also shade some of the grass from the sun reducing leaf growth. Leaves are acidic and will drive down your soil pH over time. Removing leaves from sidewalks, driveways and patios helps prevent leaf staining. Leaves contain tannins which can leave (no pun intended!) ugly leaf foot prints on your newly installed hardscape project. Compost these leaves to use on your lawn or garden next year. If you have not tested your soil recently or ever, now is a good time to make pH adjustments for a healthy lawn next spring. Use the Jonathan Green Soil pH Test Kit to quickly and easily determine your soil pH. An organic and effective way to adjust your soil pH is to spread Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal. Mag-I-Cal is a form of soluble calcium that will release trapped nutrients in the soil, adjust the pH and restore the soil life. If you have compacted soil or drainage problems, now is the time to fix them. Raking invigorates the soil, like aeration, promoting new healthy growth. Renting an aerator at your local power supply store works great of you do not want to rake large lawn areas. Rent an aerating machine with a neighbor or two.
I mentioned putting the lawn mower away, not yet! Keep mowing the lawn as long as green growth occurs. You may not have to mow weekly late in the fall season. When you think you are on your last mowing, cut the grass a notch lower to avoid conditions conducive to promote snow mold. Keep removing leaves from you lawn even after your last mowing. When your mower is ready to be put away for the season, drain any leftover gasoline, consider an oil change and filter replacement, sharpen the blade and store properly in the shed or garage away from children and pets. I suggest that you get your mower ready for next year now than in the spring because most of us forget and drag the mower out for the first time in the spring when the grass is already too high.
Remember, many states now have laws regarding the application of lawn fertilizers. Be sure to check with your local extension agent to find out the details for your state. Jonathan Green is based in New Jersey. New Jersey has a new fertilizer lawn with “blackout dates” you must follow. Homeowners may apply lawn fertilizers up until November 15th while professional applicators may apply lawn fertilizers up until December 1st. Do not apply any lawn fertilizers next spring before March 1st! Apply all fertilizers at recommended rates to avoid overuse or underuse of the product and do not apply if there is a heavy rain predicted. Do not apply fertilizer to any impervious surface like your driveway and sweep up any spills if they occur. Do your part to keep the water quality in our streams, lakes and oceans clean. Good luck and have a happy fall!