Fall Lawn Care
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2013
Ill. - The summer of 2013 has been much better for lawn care than last
year considering the amount of rainfall this spring and milder, daily
temperatures, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture
have had a good year to recover, and lawns are looking so much better, yet
there will always be some areas in the lawn that could be improved," Richard
Hentschel said. "With hot, dry summers come stressed lawns that allow weeds to
move in. Lots of weeds had the opportunity to sprout or spread late in the
season last year, and those weeds can still be out there."
suggested that fall is a good time to consider a weed control program while the
grass is still growing vigorously and can still fill in spots as weeds fade
away. "The added benefit of a fall treatment is that you get any new weeds that
have sprouted this year as well as those already present in the lawn," he said.
are areas of the lawn that are so thin that they need to be reseeded, prepare those
spots as if you were seeding for the first time. Often those areas are thin for
reasons like soil compaction or that area is a bit lower than the rest of the
lawn and water stands after a rain," he added.
often occurs next to the drive apron where car tires miss the drive or from
family members always stepping out of the car to go into the house in that
location. "Sometimes it is the path the family uses to go from the back door to
another spot in the yard. Just putting soil on top of compacted soil to get the
seeds to sprout will be disappointing a few weeks later," Hentschel explained.
the soil to 6 to 8 inches deep will relieve most of the compaction, he said.
Also, using good topdressing material will keep the soil from returning to its
suggested that if the lawn is thin in an area that has standing water in an
otherwise flat lawn, and compaction is not part of the concern, then lightly
work the soil and add in additional organic matter to raise the depression.
areas using a high-quality hybrid grass seed that exhibits good disease
resistance," he said. "Once the new seed receives water, keeping the soil
evenly moist is the key for good seed emergence and development."
Fall is a
time when the grass begins to grow more rapidly as it did in the spring. Mowing
may be needed again more than once a week. Mowing the lawn more often will keep
it more competitive, Hentschel said.
raising the mower deck up a notch, leaving the lawn slightly longer. A longer
grass blade can shade the soil and make more food for better overwintering,
keeping a number of different weeds from sprouting," he said.
also recommends while you are adjusting the mower deck, examining the mower
blade. "If the last time you sharpened the blade was way back in the spring,
then it is time again! Any mower will leave a better-looking cut with sharp
blades," he said.
the lawn can be an important part of keeping the lawn actively growing and
healthy," he noted. "The amount of fertilizers you apply is directly related to
the amount of time you are going to spend taking care of the lawn throughout
the whole season. If the decision is to only fertilize once per year with an
inorganic fertilizer, fall is the preferred time.
are caring for your lawn using organic products, then use the grass plant as
the opportunity to get nutrition throughout the year and you will not see the
big flush of growth so often associated with an inorganic fertilizer," he said.
"And if you need a mantra to take care of your lawn, it should be 'mow high,
mow often with a sharp blade,' and many of our other lawn problems will be
Source: Richard Hentschel, Extension Educator, Horticulture, firstname.lastname@example.org