Originally Posted by RANDY IN CHAR NC
Good question. It's been really dry here in Charlotte this fall, and between the "brown patch" that got me early in the year and the dryness, I'm a little hesitant to put any fertilize down any time soon. I'm going to have to plant some seed as well, to take care of the areas where the "brown patch" got me. Any suggestions on timing, SunDeck?
Right now is the best time to overseed and repair your lawn in the Southeast. Further north, the window is closing fast. Seed needs warmth to germinate (80 degrees plus), but once it does the cool season weather will work to your advantage. Here's what I'd do:
Rent a core aerator. This will leave little cylinders of soil all over your yard...but it's worth it because it will introduce airspace into the growing zone. That's a big deal. You can follow that with top dressing (raking in aged pine bark, compost or some other soil amendment after aerating) or just rake over the cores with a leaf rake to break them up.
Follow the directions on the seed. Rough up those completely bare patches to accept seed then cover them with something that will keep the soil moist- straw or that stuff you can get at Lowes...I think it's old paper.
- Seed needs constant moisture.
To fertilize or not?
Fall is a time when your cool season lawns will naturally grow well anyway. So, while fertilizer helps, your lawn is going to do a lot of greening and thickening on its own. Most Fall fertilizers have a little less nitrogen and a little more phosphorus in them than the fertilizers marketed for earlier parts of the year. The idea that a fertilizer will aid spring "greenup" is dubious. Nitrogen is very mobile, doesn't last long and is not likely to even be there in the spring. Generally, more nitrogen means more mowing.
But phosphorus is a good idea because it is by contrast not very mobile and aids root growth in the Fall and early Spring.
If you do decide to fertilize, make sure to do the whole lawn. If you only do the spots you seeded, you'll get uneven growth and color.
Feed and Weed?
A lot of fall fertilizers have weed killers in them, too. If you don't have many weeds, then don't bother. They are not going to germinate between now and winter anyway. Instead, you can buy a Fall fertilizer without the 24D.