Wow, what a difficult summer for lawns. We must have seen it all this past season. Right now you are probably looking at a lawn with heat and drought stress, crabgrass infestation or perhaps fungus and insect damage too. What can we still do to achieve a great lawn this fall and next year?
The good news is that the crabgrass will be dying with the first frost which usually happens in October. The crabgrass leaves will start to turn purple and then brown out like spider legs. This is still a good time of year to prepare your lawn and re-seed if you have not already done so. Use a rake to work up the ground where the crabgrass was growing. The dead blades of the crabgrass plant provide a good mulch cover over newly seeded grass seed. October, November and even December can still provide ideal conditions for new grass growth since ground temperatures stay warm into late fall. Be sure to use Jonathan Green New Seeding Lawn Fertilizer and any another soil amendments at this time to achieve the best seed establishment.
If you still have brown spots on your lawn from heat or drought stress this grass will not come back from the dead, it will also need to be re-seeded. Follow good soil preparation methods to establish grass seed such as raking debris and dead grass away so you can achieve the best seed-to-soil contact. Before you re-seed any areas, now would be a good time to take a soil test to see if you need to adjust your soil pH levels. The best pH levels for growing grass are between 6.2 to 6.8. Try the easy to use Jonathan Green Soil pH Test Kit. Or you can contact your local county local extension service for a soil test kit. Adding calcium to the soil will raise pH levels and adding sulfur to the soil will lower pH levels.
If you are just going to fertilize this fall use Winter Survival Fall Fertilizer. You may want to apply one or two applications for ideal growth, one now and one in early November. Be sure to apply any lawn fertilizers before your state’s black-out dates. In New Jersey the last day homeowners are allowed to apply fertilizers is November 15th!
As leaves start to fall remove them in order to prevent a build-up of matted leaves which could kill the grass. You can rake them up or mulch them into fine particles if you have a mulching mower. It is best to mulch leaves when they are not wet so that they work their way down to the soil level. Or you can compost these leaves in your flower or vegetable garden to build the soil for next year. Removing leaves will help reduce the chance of fall-winter fungus in your lawn such as snow molds.
If you have problems every spring with Poa annua (annual bluegrass) appearing in your lawn, early fall is a good time to apply Crabgrass Preventer plus Green-Up Lawn Fertilizer. This product contains Dimension which will greatly reduce the amount of Poa annua from showing up next spring. Be sure that any grass seed you may have applied has been mowed two to three times before you apply any controls for Poa annua.
If you had grub or other insect damage, now is the best time to establish a new lawn or over-seed into an existing lawn. If you have brown or bare spots, they could have been the result of insect damage or many of the conditions mentioned above. Remember, the best defense against weeds, insects, fungus and summer heat and drought is a healthy growing lawn. Seed your lawn this fall with Black Beauty Ultra or Fall Magic Grass Seed for the best results. Remember what you do to your lawn now can affect how your lawn performs next year. Proper soil conditions, quality grass seed and a well-planned fertilizing, mowing and watering plan can make all of the difference.