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Fall Care for Healthy Lawns

Fall is the perfect time to help your lawn recover from the stressors of summer and prepare for winter.

Summer can be hard on our lawns. With much of the state suffering from extreme heat and drought conditions this past summer, many lawns took a beating.

Fall is the perfect time to help your lawn recover from the stressors of summer and prepare for winter.  The warm soil and cooler temperatures promote root growth and thickening of the lawn.

Continue to mow the lawn as long as it keeps growing. Mow high to encourage deep roots and leave clippings on the lawn. They add nutrients and organic matter to the soil and do not cause thatch. There’s no need to cut the lawn shorter for winter unless you are in an area subject to winter diseases.

Mow don’t rake those fall leaves. This will save you time and improve your lawn.  The leaves add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. As long as you can see the grass leaves through the shredded leaves your lawn will be fine. Or shred and collect the leaves in your bagger and add them to your compost, dig into annual gardens to improve the soil, or use as mulch around perennials in the garden.

Consider core aeration if your lawn is suffering from compacted soil and thatch.  Core aeration machines remove plugs of soil in the lawn, allowing air and water to reach and nourish the grass roots while promoting the breakdown of the thatch.  Overseed thin lawns after core aerating.  This will enable you to get good seed to soil contact and ultimately enjoy a thicker more lush lawn.

And be sure to fertilize. Fall fertilization helps lawns recover from summer stress, encourages root growth, thickens your grass stand, and prepares the lawn for winter. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer like Milorganite to encourage slow steady growth and prevent damage to already stressed lawns.  Plus, research has found when microorganisms work on the Milorganite to release the nutrients they also make some of the phosphorous and potassium bound to the soil available to the plants. The phosphorous is good for root growth and potassium boosts hardiness and disease resistance. 

Make one application in early fall and your last application sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving before the ground freezes.   

And always sweep any clippings, fertilizer and other debris off walks and drives to prevent them from entering our waterways and eventually our drinking water.

For more gardening tips visit my web site - www.melindamyers.com

And be sure to join me on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Boerner Botanical Gardens for these Fall Discovery walks. Boerner is offering lower admission through Oct. 15 on the Family Fun Walk and scavenger hunt. I hope to see you there!  Here's a link to more information:

http://www.melindamyers.com/Appearances/learn-from-melinda/appearances.html#1951

Happy gardening!

Melinda

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michael Radavich October 09, 2012 at 07:11 PM
What an interesting article. I never new not raking could actually help your grass. Sounds like theres gonna be some beautiful looking yards in Greenfield thanks to your post.
Spencer Schmidt October 09, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Definitely going to start mowing my leaves instead of raking, plus it'll save me time. Thanks for the tip on lawn care Linda. P.S thanks for reminding me to fertilize!
Steve ® October 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I have always bagged my clippings and would never mow my leaves. The lawn receives enough specific fertilizer treatments and both clippings and dead leaves add too much thatch to the lawn. Plus even when you bag a small amount of clippings fall onto the lawn. Mulching causes the lawn to be thinner and frankly ugly. It won't break down fast enough. If you pull away my dark green blades you only see rich topsoil. Lawns that mulch have a lot of thatch. Blow your leaves into the street. The key to a rich lawn is poop and water.

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