Landscape Logic column: Fall is when you need to love your lawn
Our bare feet enjoy it. The dog rolls around on it. The soccer kids kick it. But as long as the lawn is pretty much green and mowed, we’d rather look at the flowers.
Even though we tend to take the lawn for granted, it is plant life that serves a purpose and needs our attention. It’s kept our environment cooler and more enjoyable throughout the summer. Now that fall is here, we need to pay our lawns back with late-season TLC.
FALL CARE TIPS
Here are fall care tips that your lawn will love:
• Monitor moisture. The recent unseasonably warm days may have dried out the roots. Probe the soil with a screwdriver and if the soil is getting dry, then apply water. When weather becomes more seasonal, then it will need less water.
• Reduce weekly maintenance. Cooler nights combined with fewer hours of daylight slow lawn growth, which means you can mow less often.
• Apply a final application of fertilizer. Using the same fertilizer you used earlier this season is fine. But if you need to buy more, look for an organic formulation with nitrogen and potassium because these minerals are good for the roots.
• Apply fertilizer before early November along the Front Range and sooner on lawns at higher elevations.
• Make sure the lawn is green when applying nitrogen and that the soil is moist so that it will dissolve more easily.
• Fertilizing in the fall is better for the lawn than early spring fertilization. Fertilizing in the fall will make turf healthier before winter and produce a green and dense lawn early next spring.
• Core aerate the lawn before winterizing the sprinkler system. Aeration pulls plugs of soil and sod out of the lawn and these holes open up the soil so that the roots can take in maximum moisture during the winter. In dry winters, every drop of moisture counts.
• Zap turf weeds. Here’s your last chance of the season to get after turf weeds. Doing one last round of weed control will pay off next spring in terms of fewer weeds at the start of the season.
• Schedule irrigation system winterization so it’s done before a freeze. Better to winterize early than have your lawn dug up next spring to repair broken pipes!
• Get expert help if you have had fungus or other turf disease or insect problems during the summer. Whatever you can get under control now will mean a healthier start for your lawn next season.
Giving consistent plant care is the best way to maintain a healthy lawn just as it is for other plants. Weeds are often the result of too little or irregular watering and turf diseases are often from over-watering. Proper watering and consistent cultural practices such as fertilization and aeration go a long way to reduce weeds and disease. These are preventive measures and sustainable practices that reduce the need for pesticides, herbicides and other treatments for your lawn.
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.