Lawn preparation for fall
By Tracey Payton Miller
Crisp autumn days will soon be upon us. All the hard work in the garden has paid off with a bounty of flowers and vegetables. But autumn can be a good time to make sure you have a wonderful start next spring, in regards to a healthy, beautiful lawn. A healthy lawn is a carefully maintained lawn. Below are a few tips that can help you create the "wow" factor next spring.
For warm-season grasses, like bermudagrass, the last fertilizer application should be applied on or before the first of September. This will allow the grass to decrease photosynthesis, enter dormancy, and properly overwinter. It can also help prevent frost damage. Fertilization after September can lead to Spring Dead Spot disease the following spring.
Later on this month, you may see some broadleaf weeds begin to pop up. These weeds can be taken care of with a 2,4-D type herbicide. This is a post-emergent herbicide, so it kills weeds that are already present. For control of winter annual weeds, like henbit, a pre-emergent can be used now. Pre-emergents create a barrier at the soil surface that keeps weeds from germinating. As with all chemical pesticides, read and follow label directions for best results. Corn gluten meal is an organic pre-emergent option, as well as a source of fertilizer. The best results using corn gluten meal will be achieved with continued use over several years.
You may also notice brown patches caused by white grubs this month. The brown patch appears due to the grubs feeding on the plant roots. Armadillos, moles, and other rodents can sometimes be a problem if you have a grub infestation. There are many products at local garden centers that will help control the grub population.
Another problem, which is usually not as widespread as grubs, is short-tailed crickets making small dirt mounds in your yard. This begins in August, but can occur through November. Sometimes it is just one or two mounds, or can be very widespread. This problem can also be solved with an application of a grub killer.
Follow these tips, and not only will you be one step ahead of weeds and pests, but your lawn will be very impressive next spring.