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Adair Co. Extension Agent News, Oct. 16, 2006: Lawns

By David Herbst, Adair County Extension Agent for Agriculture


Taking care of your lawn during the fall is as important as it is during spring and summer, even more so for lawns with cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue. Nearly all fertilizers and broadleaf herbicides should be applied in the fall, and it is by far the best time to renovate (seed) lawns.

Here are some tips for cool-season grasses:

Fertilize Fertilizing your lawn in the fall will help it grow stronger, thicker and greener. Cool season grasses should be fertilized with nitrogen in late October and again in four to six weeks. Use either farm fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate or urea, or use specialty fertilizers found in garden centers. The normal rate is 1 to 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Remember to spread it evenly over your lawn.

Control weeds If broadleaf weeds such as clover, dandelion, plantain and chickweed are growing in your lawn, fall is the best time of year to get them under control. Almost all broadleaf weeds can be controlled selectively in turfgrass by applying a three-way mix of 2, 4-D, MCPP and Dicamba. This mix is sold in many garden centers under a variety of trade names. There are also other mixes on the market but generally are not as effective. For the best results, apply the mix on any relatively warm day in October or November.

Renovate - Summer's stresses often take a toll on your lawn. The best time to reseed your lawn is from late August through October. Because the goal is to get the seed in close contact with the soil, it is recommended that you first remove surface debris and mechanically groove the soil. This is easier done by traversing the lawn with a dethatching machine that can be rented at many rental centers. Seed a turf type tall fescue at a rate of 5 to 6 pounds per 1,000 square feet. To avoid uneven application, spread half the seed horizontally across the lawn and the other half vertically. The best and quickest results are obtained if the seeded areas can be kept moist until the seeds germinate.

Remember to continue mowing your lawn as long as the grass is growing. You might want to lower the height in the fall to 1.5 to 2 inches. This tends to keep the grass greener longer in the winter and will help the lawn to green up earlier the next spring. It might even help increase turf density.
For more information contact the Adair County Cooperative Extension Service by calling 384-2317; or visit the office located at 409 Fairground St., in Columbia, KY.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.

This story was posted on 2006-10-17 02:31:41
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