Caring For Your Lawn Issue 5: Fall Lawn Care & Weed Control

Hello {!firstname_fix}, and welcome to the final issue in this series of caring for your lawn.

Fall lawn care is far too often neglected. Grass sleeps in the winter, and in order to survive and come back strong in the spring, it needs to be prepared.

  1. Keep mowing while the grass is growing. Nothing changes here, other than you'll find you don't need to mow as often. Keep your lawn at the 2 to 3 inch height.
  2. Keep the leaves off. Don't let the leaves remain on your yard. They are blocking light and trapping moisture and need to be removed. Left too long will get mold, mildew & fungus moving in. If you have a lot of leaves, or a large yard, consider investing in a leaf blower to make this an easier job.
  3. Keep watering. As the days cool down people seem to forget about watering. Keep an eye on the soil, use a probe to check 4 to 6 inches down, and make sure there is enough moisture. If the ground freezes when it's dry, the grass will end up living in desert-like conditions the whole winter.
  4. Keep feeding. As the weather gets cooler, your grass is looking for food to store up and protect it against the cold winter. Time this feeding for about 2 weeks before the first frost, when the grass is actively searching for it. Use a fall fertilizer rich in minerals, preferably chelated, like Mineral Blend fall fertilizer.
  5. Keep up dethatching. Make sure your thatch hasn't gone over the ½ inch mark. Rake it out or use the dethatching liquid.
  6. Keep the air in the soil. It's a good time to do another round of aerating, especially if you live somewhere you get snow in winter. When spring thaw happens, you'll want that water to drain away easily. If you're using the dethatching liquid, you can also use the aerating liquid at the same time.
  7. Keep the grass thick by overseeding. Fall is the second best time for overseeding. If the grass is looking thin or patchy, it's time for a fresh round of seeds to bring in new growth.

Don't leave your lawn mower out of the fall schedule. Be sure to give it a good cleaning, and empty it of gas on the last mow. Consider getting the blade sharpened now, so you're all set come springtime.

I saved the best for last, weed control. It's the task that seems to be hardest for most people, and it really isn't that difficult. Here's your plan of attack:

Don't change your upkeep. Keep the grass well fed, 2 to 3 inches high, and always fill in bare spots right away with lawn seed.

Mow down weeds before they go to seed. Don't wait for the yellow heads of dandelions to burst into fluffy seed, mow them down before they get to that point.

Choke out crabgrass. Keeping your lawn higher, at the 2-to 3-inch height, prevents the sunshine from getting to crabgrass and helps to choke it out.

Use vinegar as an organic weed killer. With a bowl of vinegar and a brush, paint the weeds. Be careful not to get it on your grass, and do this on a sunny day. If you do this to dandelions in the fall, they will actually feed the vinegar to their own roots, killing the whole plant! You can combine this with digging out weeds, too. When you have dug out the pesky plant, pour a little vinegar in the hole to kill whatever is left of the root. Fill the hole with top soil and top with grass seed.

Corn gluten meal is the best preemergent herbicide. This means it kills weeds as they grow from seed, and before they emerge. It is so effective, it will work on grass seed too, so be sure to wait 6 weeks on either side of using before overseeding. Time using it for when the weed's seeds sprout, such as in spring for crabgrass, and spring or fall for dandelions. It's a shield of protection that is activated when you water it in. Help keep your shield strong by not poking holes in it. Plus, it's completely organic and you can start using your lawn right away.

There you have it, weed control that's easy, safe, organic, and effective. Combined with all you've already learned about lawn care for building strong turf, you'll have lush grass crowding out the weeds and leaving them in the dust!

You're off to a great start by reading these emails and learning the ins and outs of lawn care. For more articles and tips, check out our website, visit our blog, and join us on Facebook. The more you know, the better your grass will grow!

The Editors,
World of Lawn Care