August 29, 2019
We are into the last week of August. How does your lawn look?
By this time of the summer, your lawn may look a bit ragged. There may be bare spots or the weeds may have managed to creep into the lawn. Now is the time to fix up those problems in your lawn. Here’s what you need to do to fix up your lawn.
Fall is a good time to control weeds in your lawn. Weed killers work best when applied to weeds that are actively growing. Oh yeah, the weeds are actively growing in your lawn. In the spring, cool soil temperatures usually mean that weeds are slow to grow in your lawn. Oft times, most weed killer that you apply in the spring kind of work but not too well because in the spring the soil takes a long time to warm up.
In the late summer, the weeds are preparing for winter by making lots of food and storing it in the roots. This allows the weeds to begin growing again in the spring. When you apply a weed killer in the late summer or early fall, the weed killer is taken down to the roots and kills the roots. If the roots are dead, the weeds are not coming back in the spring. Weed killers are applied to the weed leaf and you should allow 24 hours without rain or irrigation. This allows the weed killer to be absorbed by the leaf and then taken down to the roots.
You may have noticed that the crabgrass has formed its seed heads. Once the seeds mature, they drop onto the ground. Once the frost comes along, the crabgrass plants that are in your lawn will die and you will never see those plants again. However, those seeds that fall on the ground will sprout in the spring and new crabgrass plants will grow in your lawn. Over the years, there has been some debate over applying a crabgrass control in the fall.
I know people who have done this but they seem to have limited success. My recommendation is to apply the crabgrass control in the spring when the seeds are beginning to open. The usual crabgrass control methods work by killing the seed just as the seed sprouts.
Crabgrass seed has a hard “shell” that makes it hard for crabgrass killers to work until that seed is splitting open. To me, that is why a fall application of crabgrass control doesn’t work all that well. In the fall, the seed isn’t opening up. If it did any crabgrass plant that sprouted would be killed by a frost. To control the crabgrass seed wait until the spring.
Fall is an ideal time to apply lime to your lawn. If the soil is too acidic in your lawn, the roots of the grass do not take up the lawn fertilizer you apply during the season. When you apply lime, the acidity of the soil is neutralized and the grass easily takes up the fertilizer you apply.
Depending on the type of lime that you use, it can take up to 6 months for the lime to really do its job. If you apply the lime in the fall, by the time spring rolls around the lime has done its job and that first application of lawn fertilizer can really do its job of getting new blades of grass to grow.
If you haven’t fertilized your lawn in over 8 weeks, it is time to do another application of lawn fertilizer. At this time of the year, you should be applying a weed and feed type of fertilizer or you can apply just a regular lawn fertilizer. I would not apply a fall or winter type of lawn fertilizer at this point.
Use the fall/winter fertilizers in October. By applying a regular lawn fertilizer or a weed and feed fertilizer now, you get the grass really growing again. When the grass is really growing again, it makes the application of those late season fertilizers more effective.
Well, that’s all for this week. I hope you have a Happy Labor Day weekend.
I’ll talk to you again next week.