Tuesday, April 19, 2011
There’s still time! It’s not too late to restore your damaged lawn this fall. The drought and heat stress experienced in the last few months has caused havoc with lawns. Whatever part of the lawn that survived has started to green up again but most lawns have a multitude of brown, dead spots. Many lawns also had a large content of crabgrass due to the hot, dry summer weather. Fall is the best time to seed and feed your lawn with Jonathan Green Fall Magic Mixture and Winter Survival Fall Fertilizer for the best lawn in the neighborhood.
The good news about crabgrass is that it will die after the first frost. You will notice the leaves start to turn to a purple color. Broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, spurge, plantain, etc. are less actively growing due to the colder weather. There will be less competition from these weeds as the lawn fills in with new seedlings and fertilizing in the fall.
We frequently receive many phone calls as soon as the first frost happens, usually some time in October. The common question is, “Is it too late to seed?” I answer that by stating, “What are your expectations?” Grass seed usually will germinate and grow in the month of November and frequently into December. While the air temperature may be cool, I am not Mother Nature and cannot predict the weather in November and December. Ground temperatures tend to be relatively warm since the sun has been heating the soil for the last few months.
If you do apply seed in November or December and it is too cold to germinate all is not lost. The seed will lay dormant and eventually germinate in the spring once it warms up. It is important that you apply Jonathan Green’s New Seeding Lawn Fertilizer, when you sow new grass seed in order to provide the essential nutrients to get the grass growing. I strongly recommend that you also apply a follow up application of a Jonathan Green’s Winter Survival Fall Fertilizer to help the roots continue to grow and establish into the late fall and early winter months. As the fall daylight is reduced later in the year it is a good idea to lower your mowing height. Once you mow your lawn short for the last time and do your fall clean up removing the leaves it is an excellent time to apply this final feeding. As you drive down your street in December you will be able to tell who fertilized after Halloween and who did not.
Fall is also an excellent time to apply limestone or Jonathan Green’s MAG-I-CAL. The most desirable pH range to grow grass effectively is between 6.0 to 6.7. If you take a Jonathan Green Soil pH Test and you are below this level, apply limestone according to the directions on the bags. Limestone will “sweeten” the soil, raising the pH level over time. There is a choice of pelletized limestone, which looks like fertilizer pellets, granular limestone, which has a sugar-type consistency, and pulverized limestone, which is fine like baby powder. The limestone of choice would be MAG-I-CAL or pelletized limestone, which is the easiest to spread through a rotary spreader and relatively dust free. The pellets will dissolve when they get moisture. The freezing and thawing of the soil over the winter months help to get the limestone into the soil to be most effective.
Late fall and winter is also a good time to apply gypsum. It helps to correct the soil levels of calcium and sulfur. Gypsum also is able to help break down clay soil particles to improve water penetration. If you can aerate your lawn prior to your gypsum application; this is desirable. Gypsum can also help to alleviate excessive salts in the soil. Applying gypsum along walkways, driveways and street curbs can reduce the negative affect of ice melt salts. Gypsum is also somewhat effective in reducing the burning affects of dog spots on the lawn. Apply gypsum in these areas to give new grass seed a better chance of filling in these burned areas.
Let’s hope that you decided to pay some attention to your lawn this fall in order to avoid a larger problem next spring. Always follow directions and ask your local independent dealer if you have specific questions about your lawn in the fall.Back