Now through Thanksgiving is the season to aerate, seed and fertilize your cool-season fescue grass so roots grow deep and healthy while temperatures are moderate. Spring is the wrong time for major lawn care because your shallow-rooted new grass will struggle when summer’s scorching temperatures arrive.
Tired from mowing grass all summer?
Think of fall lawn care as the efficient way to get your recommended 10,000 daily steps done toward a healthy heart while beautifying your property at the same time.
To aerate, use a core-type aerator that removes 2- to 3-inch plugs of soil. This allows air and water to penetrate the soil, especially if it’s compacted or clay heavy. Don’t worry about the plugs lying on top of the lawn because rain will break them down.
For organic fertilizer, apply a ½ to 1-inch layer of aged compost before or after you aerate. The healthier your soil, the healthier your grass. Good soil is filled with microorganisms, worms and other beneficial life forms, so resist the urge to use lawn chemicals that will ruin this natural balance.
Seed after you’ve put down the compost and aerated. Keep the seed moist until it germinates and water when there is no rainfall. Try to wait 30 days before mowing new grass.
Looking for the lazy way out?
The Lazyman Soil Doctor program does most of your fall lawn care in one easy step. All you need is a hose-end sprayer to apply the all-natural product that includes:
-Polymers that penetrate hard soil and alternately attract or repel water molecules, opening pathways to admit free passage of moisture and nutrients.
-Microbes that feed on the dead plant tissue of the thatch layer at the soil surface, thereby reducing that problem buildup. Thatching, or removing that buildup, is not necessary if you use a mulching mower and cut often so the grass clippings are small and can readily decompose to return nutrients and moisture back into your soil.
-Humic acids that stimulate plants and soil microbes, and mycorrhizae that attach to roots and help plants absorb more water and nutrients while in turn feeding themselves on plant sap.
For more information, please visit www.outsidepride.com.
Kathy Van Mullekom is home and gardening columnist and writer of the weekly “Diggin’ In” column at the Daily Press in Newport News, Va.
©2011 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)