Fall is a very important time for lawns. As the season comes to an end the turfgrass begins preparation for dormancy. Fall lawn fertilizer is very important and is often considered to be the most important application of the year. We strongly recommend this application with a 100% organic nitrogen source because organic nitrogen is naturally slow release and will feed the grass slowly over the entire winter. At this time or year we apply either our Pax Terra Plus fertilizer or our Synergy with Corn Gluten Meal. Traditionally this application is performed in October.
In the autumn it is important to cut back on the watering to conserve water and allow your lawn and trees to begin preparing for the winter. Reduce your watering by half the amount you would normally apply. The reduction in water will be sufficient because the outside temperatures are much cooler and there is less demand on the turf. You should only water your lawn once per week when temperatures are below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Until the final mow of the year you should continue to mow on the highest setting of the mower or 3 inches. For the final mow of the year you can lower the cutting height to 2.25 inches or 2.5 inches. It is beneficial to mulch a small amount of leaves into the soil as long as they are not accumulating on the lawn.
Fall is a wonderful time of year to enjoy your landscape.
It is recommended to aerate your lawn if it is not dormant and your soil is soft enough to pull a 2-3.5 inch plug. This will allow nutrients and water to penetrate deep into the root zone and avoid soil compaction.
Do not skip winterization as this is the most important step in maintaining health over the winter months. We recommend using a slow release (water insoluble nitrogen) fertilizer. Avoid products that are fast release (water soluble nitrogen) like Scott’s. Our product Synergy and our organic fertilizer/winterizer are naturally slow release and will feed the lawn over the entire winter. Typically 70% of the fertilizer is used during the winter and 30% will be available in the spring for an earlier recovery.
Be aware of the fungus called Necrotic Ring Spot that is active in the cooler months. The visual damage that occurs from the fungus typically does not become noticeable until a few months after the fungus was active. Necrotic Ring Spot symptoms include irregularly shaped circular patches that are often sunken. If you have suffered from a Necrotic Ring Spot attack in the past we recommend applying Humate in September to help prevent any future outbreaks.
Fall fertilization is one of the most important applications of the year. Do not skip this application.
Young trees and trees with direct southern exposure are susceptible to sun scald which causes the trees bark to crack or split. The sun warms the bark during the day and at night it freezes. This constant temperature fluctuation causes the bark to expand and contract. Wrapping the tree bark with a special tree wrap will decreases the temperature fluctuations and will protect the tree from cracking; we recommend having your trees wrapped around starting in October and removing the wrap around March 15. Trees that are extremely susceptible to sun scald are trees with direct southern exposure, young trees, ashes, maples, lindens, and honeylocust. It is never too late to wrap a high risk tree, so if it is not yet March 15th get the tree protected.
“A healthy tree is a happy tree.” Fertilization of trees is often overlooked; however, it is a very inexpensive method that reduces the trees risk to Chlorosis, insect pressure, drought stress, limb breakage and winter desiccation. Deep root tree fertilization with mycorrhiza helps establish strong root systems and proper healthy growth. Fall is a wonderful time to have trees fertilized because soil temperatures are at ideal levels that foster the uptake of nutrients for winter storage.
Winter tree wrapping is a very inexpensive way to prevent expensive tree damage.
Funguses, insects, and diseases often transport and propagate in and underneath winter debris. Many tree funguses transfer from year to year in the fallen leaf tissue. It is very important to remove the winter debris as early as possible in the late autumn. Cleaning up the debris and removing the leaf tissue reduces the risk that these pathogens can spread or infect the trees the following season.
Fall leaves are beautiful but it is wise to remove the fallen leaves from the landscape.