The grass is gradually turning brown and the leaves are starting to change colors and fall from the trees. It's definitely autumn in the Twin Cities. Before you put away your lawn tools and resign yourself to the snow that you know is coming, consider that now is actually the best time of year to improve the health and appearance of your lawn. A sure-fire way to do that is to fertilize your lawn and kill all remaining weeds.
Why the Timing for This Project is Critical
In the early spring, weeds like the dandelion and creeping Charlie grow at an extremely fast rate. It's all you can do to stay one step ahead of them. By fall, weed growth comes to a standstill as they prepare for winter by pulling nutrients into themselves. This is the ideal time to apply targeted weed killers. It typically only requires one application to kill dandelions at this time of year.
You may need to be more persistent with the creeping Charlie. Plan to use a herbicide that contains triploycr and make sure that the bag specifies the use for the product. It should specifically state that it kills creeping Charlie plants or the Latin name of the plant, glechoma hederacea. You can apply the first application any time in September and then try again if the weeds aren't completely gone within two weeks.
Don't Delay in Fertilizing Your Lawn
September is the best month of the year to fertilize your lawn because the effects last until next spring when the snow thaws. If you wait until spring to fertilize, you run the risk of causing undue stress on the lawn. That is because the fertilization process encourages the fast growth of green grass to coincide with summer dryness, which in turn can cause lawn disease.
When selecting a fertilizer, pay attention to the N, P, and K numbers. These stand for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This shows the percentage of each ingredient in comparison to filler material. We also recommend going with a slow-release fertilizer to extend the amount of time required before you need to fertilize again.
Need Help Selecting Materials or Getting the Chores Done?
The Lawnsmith understands that knowing which type of fertilizer or herbicide to buy doesn't come naturally to all homeowners. You also may not have the time or desire to tackle weeding and lawn fertilization. Whatever your situation, remember that we're here to help at any time of the year.
Photo Credit: evgenyb | iStock
To keep your lawn growing healthy all year long, it's important to invest in some extra maintenance. Ouraeration services allow your lawn to receive the nutrients and water absorption it needs to maintain a lush and green appearance. We perforate the soil of your lawn with small holes to allow the nutrients, water, and outside air to penetrate its roots. This process helps the roots grow deeper and produces a vigorous lawn.
Another reason for aeration is to break up the soil compaction and accumulated debris that may be preventing the roots of your grass from growing upward. This may include heavy lawn thatch or organic debris buried beneath the surface of your lawn. Removing these items allows your lawn to breathe better, absorb more water and nutrients, and take in more oxygen.
How to Know if Your Lawn Needs Aerating
Most homeowners want their grass to look attractive, but can't always determine if it requires aeration. While almost any lawn could benefit from the process, we especially recommended it in the following situations:
- Heavy foot traffic: If people walk through your yard frequently or it's the neighborhood spot for children to play, the heavy usage could damage your lawn.
- Your pets spend time outdoors: Families with pets, especially dogs who eliminate outside, should seriously consider lawn aeration. Urine and feces damage the top layer of grass, the layers underneath it, and the roots. A dog that runs around a lot on the lawn can also cause soil compaction.
- An overly dry lawn: If your grass often feels dry or spongy, it could indicate a problem with thatch build-up. You can find out for sure by removing approximately four inches of grass with a shovel. A healthy lawn will have mostly soil and very little thatch. Your lawn is a good candidate for aeration if the thatch is more than half an inch thick.
- Your lawn was originally established with sod and soil layering still remains. The layering prevents water in the soil from fully draining, causing poor development of roots and problems with compaction.
Why Early Fall is Ideal for Aeration
Temperatures are getting cooler by the time late August or early September rolls around, but there is still plenty of time before the first frost. Your lawn needs this time to recover from the aeration process and fill in any areas that remain open after we remove the soil plugs. Please contact us if you have more questions about aeration or want to schedule an appointment.
Photo credit: driftlessstudio | Thinkstock