Well Autumn is upon us and for many fall ushers in welcome relief from this summer’s heat and humidity.  It also provides a time where all our hard work in the garden hopefully brings the reward of a bountiful harvest.
However, for many who grow fescue type lawns, fall all too often evidences the impact of fungal diseases, the maturing of crabgrass and the eye-sore of late summer weeds.
Bottom-line, it’s time to REPAIR and PREPARE. So here are a few tips for both:

  1. ANALYZE THE SOIL – First and foremost it’s really important to analyze your soil. It must be corrected with special attention given to the pH – the acidity and alkalinity  – of the soil.

Fescue (Turf Type Tall, Rye, and Blue) will thrive when the pH is between 6.2 and 6.8.  However, if you can see your pH is between 6.0 and 7.0 you should be OK.

  1. AERATION – Assuming your nutrients and amendments are within the proper range based on the soil analysis, then the next task is to have the yard plug aerated. Big machine, tough to control and often difficult to rent due to demand but a must for your fall repair program.
  2. SEED CHOICE – Once you’ve aerated the next set of decisions represents a critical part of the program. Choosing the best grass seed.  It’s here that we suggest you take note of:
    1. Treated vs. Coated in terms of the addition of nutrients and growth enhancers provided to each seed head. We recommend TREATED.   It’s a much better value since no room in the bag is consumed by the coating.  So with our groSMART Treated Premium Seed if the bag claims to provide 20 pounds of seed, for example, that’s exactly what you get.  Seed that’s coated reduces the amount of seed available for use by up to 15%.
    2. What’s in the Bag – Next check the tag sown to the bag. Be sure the Germination Rate is 90% or higher and that there are little to no weed seeds in the mix and ABSOLUTELY ZERO Noxious Seeds.
    3. Harvest Date – Check the Harvest Date – seed over 18-24 months old from date of harvest will germinate but at much reduced rate.
    4. Multiple Seed Types – Last be sure the tag lists at least three different cultivars or seed varieties. Doing so reduces the impact of a disease which may be especially harmful to one variety but in all likelihood not to the other two.
  3. FERTILIZATION – The next bit of advice has to do with adding fertilizer. For those who are committed to an organic choice we’d recommend groSMART – Earthworks 3-4-3.  However, if receptive to conventional nutrients we recommend 18-24-12 optimum for new seed to germinate and to establish a strong root system.
  4. WATERING – The last part of the program has to do with WATER. The area you’ve sown must be kept moist for the first three weeks after you observe germination.  15-20 minutes in the AM and again in the mid-afternoon should be sufficient.  Thereafter, be sure the lawn receives at least an inch of water per week.

This part of your lawn care program is aimed at feeding the grass plant in late fall and again in early winter (but never on frozen ground).
The science is sound.  As the plant is winding down and moving into dormancy it’s best to provide some nutrients for support through the winter months.
And since the grass is becoming dormant the food you supply will not be used in top growth.  Instead, the nutrients you provide is stored as carbohydrates in the plant’s root system.
Bottom-line, take care to feed your lawn going into the stress of winter and you’ll be rewarded in the spring as your lawn will emerge lush and green.
Well that’s our best advice for the renovation of your lawn and the best method of having a great, healthy and green lawn in the up coming season.