Mother Nature’s weather certainly played some tricks on our lawn programs. Halloween is at the end of this month and your lawn is probably not the first thing on your mind. Football is well under way and yes, you see leaves starting to fall on the grass, but you’re happy that the lawn mower shreds them and they seem to disappear. You’re probably tired of mowing too.
The real story about this year is rain, rain, rain! It was hard to believe how many times it rained; particularly in the middle of what are traditional hot, dry, summers. These rains leached a lot of the nutrients from fertilizer applications and so the lawn suffered from the lack of food. This causes stress on the lawn because the lawn wants to be feed during the growing season from spring through fall. If your lawn could speak to you, it may feel that you only really fertilized it once this year not twice like you usually do or did. Please be sure to fertilize your lawn this month if you have not since the spring, your lawn will like it.
Was your lawn confused with this year’s weather? Sure it was, once enough hot and dry weather came along, some lawns attempted to “shut down” or go dormant. This is a natural process the lawn can go through; sometimes we think the lawn has died since it turns brown. Once this dormancy stage started and then a lot of rain fell, the lawn was pulled out of dormancy causing more stress. I hope by now your lawn has recovered a lot from summer damage. Remember your lawn needs about 1 inch of water per week in the absence of rainfall to grow best. In late fall, you should not have to water anymore.
Mother Nature’s excessive rains also weakened some of the pre-emergent crabgrass controls from Green-Up with Crabgrass Preventer. If you put it down in early spring, you probably had a lot of crabgrass this summer. No one would have predicted all of the rain, but a later application or even a second application of pre-emergent crabgrass control with Crabgrass and Weed Preventer in late spring would have helped control crabgrass much better. Remember this for better pre-emergent crabgrass application timing next year and also that crabgrass only grows in sunny areas of the lawn. Crabgrass will die with the first frost which usually happens in October. The leaves of crabgrass plants will turn purple and then brown and the plant dies.
While the early spring and summer rains were somewhat forgiving and the grass grew fairly well, once some heat and drought came along so did lawn fungus. Red Thread and Leaf Spot came in late spring and Brown Patch was rampant during summer months. Healthy growing lawns that are fertilized, watered and mowed properly avoided most disease pressures. Fall is a great time to thicken and green lawns. This is best achieved with an early fall application of Green-Up and then a later application of Winter Survival lawn food. Be sure to apply fertilizer before black-out dates in your area.
Enjoy your lawn and the cool fall season. What are you going to be for Halloween? You deserve some treats!