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View Full Version : What needs done to a lawn in the fall?



Buckeye33
10-08-2007, 05:24 PM
Redszoners -

My wife and I recently purchased a new home that has quite a bit more grass than our old home. At the old home I did not do anything to the lawn except mow it.

My question is mostly, what do I need to do to properly "winterize" my new lawn. I'm not trying to have the perfect lawn in the neighborhood by any stretch, (that honor will always go to my new neighbor) but I want my lawn to be in good condition.

I know there are fertilizers and such that come in "steps", is that the best route to go?

Any suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks

Johnny Footstool
10-08-2007, 05:31 PM
Just about the easiest thing to do is sign up on the Scott's web site www.scotts.com. They'll email you reminders telling you when it's time to fertilize and which products to use. I don't know if it's the "best" approach, but it's easy and it seems to work alright for my lawn.

mole44
10-08-2007, 07:19 PM
I used to work for Scotts lawn service. Right now is the time to do aerations, overseedings and a winterizer fertilizer. As long as the lawn is in pretty good shape currently, i would just do the winterizer and call it a year. Maybe aerate next year. Scotts will tell you it needs done every year, but thats just because they want your money. Every other year is fine. You can pick up fertilizers at any home stores.

Spring~Fields
10-08-2007, 09:35 PM
We use the Scotts products and they work okay for us, we over seed in the fall hopefully before the freezes so that it gets a start or that the seed will germinate in the spring.

One tip I picked up from the sod producers down the road that know grass inside and out was to make sure that there is a fall or winter application. They said to put it on around the end of November, they actually said thanksgiving and apparently they put on another application earlier and again in the spring. I think that they are timing it so that the fertilizer is in the ground and usable to the grasses when they have their rooting and growth spurts.

LoganBuck
10-08-2007, 11:29 PM
Just don't overdo it, lawn fertilizers are a huge source of pollution. Farmers have been traditionally getting the blame, but more evidence is pointing to the race for the best lawn in the neighborhood, as huge source point for runoff pollution.

GAC
10-09-2007, 09:01 AM
OK - I'm gonna jumop right in there and ask what "over seeding" means? Exactly what it says? :lol:

My house is new build (1 yr old). After the construction was complete we obviously didn't have any yard immediately around the house due to the construction going on. The builder leveled everything out and raked it to get it ready for seeding. We had a landscaper come in and do the landscaping around the house and the seeding/laying down straw. This was completed last September.

The grass came in really fast, and looks good. But this summer I had numerous areas/spots where grass just wouldn't grow. I went around and raked those areas to loosen up the dirt, and used Scotts premium grass seed. I watered it consistently every morning and night. Yet can't get any grass to grow in these areas.

I went out and bought several bags of Miracle-Gro top soil and spread it on those area, while re-seeding again. Repeated the watering process. Same results.

I've went out and bought two bags of Scotts fertilizer 20-27-5. Is fall a good time to put it down? Do I need to do it right before it rains. And afterwards, can I re-seed for the winter?

Johnny Footstool
10-09-2007, 09:32 AM
OK - I'm gonna jumop right in there and ask what "over seeding" means? Exactly what it says?

It means putting down seeds over your existing lawn, as opposed to tearing the whole lawn out and starting over. You use an aerator or verticutter to break up the soil without damaging your exisiting grass, then you seed and fertilize. It's helpful if you've got a lot of patches of grass that died over the summer.

Roy Tucker
10-09-2007, 10:07 AM
It means putting down seeds over your existing lawn, as opposed to tearing the whole lawn out and starting over. You use an aerator or verticutter to break up the soil without damaging your exisiting grass, then you seed and fertilize. It's helpful if you've got a lot of patches of grass that died over the summer.

I've overseeded after aerating and it seems to work just OK. I get plugs of new grass, but it takes a year or 2 of re-re-seeding for it to really fill in.

Does the verticutter work very well? I've had lawn guys say it damages existing grass.

HotCorner
10-09-2007, 10:26 AM
How often should you thatch if at all? I'ver heard not to thatch because it breaks down. However I'm seeing too many "dead" areas because of thatch. My plan is to rent a thatcher this fall then re-seed but should I aerate before seeding?

15fan
10-09-2007, 11:45 AM
First - figure out what kind of grass you have. That will dictate what you should do and when.

I'll second the Scotts program. Worked well for me.

I'm cursed with having Fescue here in the South. My lawn looks like crap all summer. Then I spend a lovely Saturday in September busting my butt aerating, overseeding, top dressing, etc so that I can cut grass until Christmas.

Because of the drought this year, we're now under a total outdoor watering ban. None. Period. No car washing. No lawn watering. Nothing. The ban went into effect 4 days after I spent 9 hours working in the yard to try to resuscitate it.

If we don't get any rain soon (and we aren't supposed to), I may just take some gasoline and a match to it and start from scratch in the spring with a zoysia lawn that will (1) actually be green in the summer, and (2) be much less maintenance than fescue.

Sun Deck is one of the gurus around here with respect to landscaping. Anyone seen him lately?

Johnny Footstool
10-09-2007, 12:52 PM
I've overseeded after aerating and it seems to work just OK. I get plugs of new grass, but it takes a year or 2 of re-re-seeding for it to really fill in.

Does the verticutter work very well? I've had lawn guys say it damages existing grass.

I used a verticutter one year. It was a HUGE pain. You have to mow your grass down extremely low and bag the clippings. Then you verticut, which kicks up a ton of thatch and grass. Then you have to bag that thatch before you can seed. So basically, it's like mowing your entire lawn three times in one day.

I prefer aerating. I found a service that will do it for $50. I just ask them to go over the dead areas a couple of extra times. Then before I seed, I use the old Garden Weasel to break up the dead areas a little more. It usually works pretty well.

Roy Tucker
10-09-2007, 01:08 PM
I used a verticutter one year. It was a HUGE pain. You have to mow your grass down extremely low and bag the clippings. Then you verticut, which kicks up a ton of thatch and grass. Then you have to bag that thatch before you can seed. So basically, it's like mowing your entire lawn three times in one day.

I prefer aerating. I found a service that will do it for $50. I just ask them to go over the dead areas a couple of extra times. Then before I seed, I use the old Garden Weasel to break up the dead areas a little more. It usually works pretty well.

Thanks for the pointers, Johnny.

$50? that's cheap. I usually rent an aerator for a day and then share it with 2-3 other guys in the 'hood.

And I do the aerating the bejeezus out of dead spots too.

This year, the problem is that we've had a drought since the beginning of May and I don't think the aerator will can drill through the concrete dirt very deep.

gonelong
10-09-2007, 02:45 PM
I went out and bought several bags of Miracle-Gro top soil and spread it on those area, while re-seeding again. Repeated the watering process. Same results.


I have had pretty good luck with growing grass in specific spots by putting together 2 parts sand with 1 part top soil and then mixing in seed with it. The sand must make the soil loose enough that the grass seed can get started, and it probably has the added benefit of retaining moisture longer. I usually just mix it in a gallon jug after I have cut a bit bigger hole in the top. Makes it easy to spread that way.

I figured if it works for the golf course it'd probably work for me.

GL

Unassisted
10-09-2007, 03:10 PM
This year, the problem is that we've had a drought since the beginning of May and I don't think the aerator will can drill through the concrete dirt very deep.You can use a couple of applications of Medina Soil Activator to get that hard soil loosened up again. It's a liquid product that you can apply from a hose sprayer. Much less work than tilling and less disruptive to the lawn.

I'd give you a direct link to the page on the manufacturer's web site (http://www.medinaag.com/medina.html), but it's a Flash-based site.

Spring~Fields
10-09-2007, 04:57 PM
OK - I'm gonna jumop right in there and ask what "over seeding" means? Exactly what it says? :lol:

My house is new build (1 yr old). After the construction was complete we obviously didn't have any yard immediately around the house due to the construction going on. The builder leveled everything out and raked it to get it ready for seeding. We had a landscaper come in and do the landscaping around the house and the seeding/laying down straw. This was completed last September.

The grass came in really fast, and looks good. But this summer I had numerous areas/spots where grass just wouldn't grow. I went around and raked those areas to loosen up the dirt, and used Scotts premium grass seed. I watered it consistently every morning and night. Yet can't get any grass to grow in these areas.

I went out and bought several bags of Miracle-Gro top soil and spread it on those area, while re-seeding again. Repeated the watering process. Same results.

I've went out and bought two bags of Scotts fertilizer 20-27-5. Is fall a good time to put it down? Do I need to do it right before it rains. And afterwards, can I re-seed for the winter?

Each yard will have what they call micro climates meaning areas that get more or less sun, shady or consistent direct sunlight, high traffic or limited traffic, more or less moisture, more wind, less wind for drying out, where the types of soil condition might vary, also where trees and buildings create a variation. In the north we us what are called cool season grasses, blue grass, fescue, perennial rye. In the summer during periods of high heat and low moisture these grass will go dormant until cooler temperatures and an increase in moisture prevails upon it to grow and the roots to spread.

You might have to step back and take a look and see what your yard has in variations within the different locations of your property, and you might have to use a blend of seed such as a blue grass, perennial rye and fescue mix. Creeping red fescue will do better in shady areas, perennial rye along with the fescues will hold up better to foot traffic and weather vs. a blue grass that doesn’t seem to be able to take much traffic or drought type conditions. Yet the blue grass spreads and thickens, where as the fescues and perennial rye will give you one plant to one seed I have read. The blue grasses need more direct sunlight, and will not perform well where there is insufficient sunlight. Around your new home there may be sub soil from them digging out the basement or other reasons. I don’ immediately know why your efforts have not produced to your expectations to date because you indicate that you provided quality seed and moisture. It is difficult to get the blue grasses to start and to grow during the hotter temperatures, another reason that they encourage spring or fall over seeding.

If the soil is too acidic you might experience some difficulty in growing some of the variations of grasses, you simply add lime to those area to change the ph balance, work the lime in, as it will take time for the lime to work into the soil. We have used most of the Scotts seed and Penningtons and I like for our lawn to use Scotts Scotts® Pure Premium® Sun And Shade® Brand (North) Grass Seed Mixture, Scotts® Pure Premium® Perennial Ryegrass Mix, and we had the best succes with their sun and shade select which has the blue grass, creeping red fescue and perennial rye, which has that dark green appearance and we fertilize much less with it vs. some of the other grasses that have a lighter look as if it needs fertilizer where as it is the natural color for those grasses. Don’t mistake perennial rye for annual rye both grow fast but the annual appears inferior to the perennial to me.

For your convenience:
http://www.scotts.com/

Tips for Fall Success
http://www.lawncare.com/index.cfm/event/Article.Detail/documentId/B3CDC4400C6475E6EB965D8CBE4DD388

http://www.penningtonseed.com/section/lawn_03.asp