Editorial

Fall lawn tips

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

With our recent on-going weather conditions far from conducive to attractive lawns, we offer these timely suggestions for improved lawn care and maintenance.

Read Before You Seed: Get expert advice about what your lawn needs before you buy. Don't assume that, because it's in a store near you, every product will perform well in your lawn.

Go Overboard: Overseed and fertilize now to give the products time to work. A second round of fertilizer may be needed later in the fall in some regions.

In the Weeds: Don't be tempted to do everything at once. Weed controls should be applied at least three weeks before seeding. If you missed that window, you can apply weed control once the new grass has matured enough to receive at least three mowings. Don't use all-purpose herbicides for general weed control. Attack weeds with herbicides designed for specifically for those weeds to avoid killing more plants than you planned.

Nip it after the Bud: Kill dandelions now with a post-emergent product.

Read Before You Apply: Many weed control products warn against using them in temperatures above 85 degrees. Read and follow label directions so you don't do more harm to your already needy lawn.

Sick or Diseased? Turf disease is common this year in areas hit by the drought. If weakened by the summer weather, Bermuda grass for example, won't recover on its own and will likely be overtaken by stronger weeds. Dry patches or yellow or browned areas indicate disease.

Oh, Snap! If you're unsure if your grass is dead or just playing dead, take a picture of it to show to a reputable lawn care expert. Many lawn care experts will offer affordable advice for those who prefer to do the work themselves, and some hardware and home improvement stores have experts on hand.

Switch it Up: Some homeowners are careful stewards and always condition their lawns on time. Because of the unusual weather this year, evaluate whether the products you've been using for years are what you need this year. You may need something extra to help your lawn recover.