It is not too late to apply grass seed to your lawn and have successful results. Early in the fall is always best, but there is still time to develop a thicker, greener lawn. It certainly is more desirable to apply grass seed now then waiting for next spring when weeds and cold weather can really hamper your efforts.
Even though night time temperatures can be less than 60 degrees, the soil temperature is probably 5 to 10 degrees higher. Newly planted grass seed likes warm soil. The grass roots reach down deep to establish the plant before winter weather sets in. Proper soil preparation is key to growing a successful lawn. Please do not just throw grass seed over your existing lawn. Instead, rake areas to be seeded vigorously to loosen the soil or rent a seeding machine for best results. Be sure not to bury newly planted grass seed more than ¼” in depth. A few times a year I hear from homeowners who planted their grass seed too deeply and little grew. Once seed is applied, turn your rake over and gently swish it back and forth to barely cover the seed. By this time of year, we may even experience our first frost, but lawns will still grow with sunny days ahead. The first frost is very welcome; it will kill any existing crabgrass. First the crabgrass leaves turn purple and then brown a week later when completely dead. These areas can benefit from newly planted grass seed to fill in bare spots. Remember, your lawn can only be as good as the grass seed you sow, always buy Jonathan Green grass seed!
What about your soil pH? We have discussed this a number of times over the years, do you know your pH, and have you tested it? Soil test kits are available at many stores. Shame on you if you haven’t tested your pH, this is critical to growing a healthy lawn. Cool-season grasses like soil pH values between 6.2 to 7.0 for optimum growth. Mostly likely your soil pH is low and would benefit from an application of Mag-I-Cal. Calcium helps to develop cell walls and prepare grass plants for winter, while reducing disease potential.
Fall is such a great time to grow lawns and some of you may have already fertilized in early fall, either when seeding or not, an application of Winter Survival is great at this time. Many times this second application will keep your lawn green throughout the rest of the year if it does not get too cold in December. Winter Survival is not too high in Nitrogen. You will find the Nitrogen is the first number listed on the bag. Too much Nitrogen can lead to snow mold disease problems later in winter and spring.
Weed control in lawns at this time of year is generally limited to broadleaf weeds. Provided weeds are actively growing and soil temperatures are above 55 degrees, you can successfully control many types of broadleaf weeds. Some of these weeds may be masked by the better looking lawn areas, scan you lawn to see where they are growing. If you only have a few weeds here and there perhaps spot spraying is best. If you have a lot weeds a broadcast application of Green-Up Weed & Feed would be best. Why not give your lawn its last feeding for the season and clean out as many weeds as you can before next year? Keep mowing your lawn as long as it needs it into late fall. Be sure your mower blades are sharp and in good working order. Leave clippings on the lawn provided they are not wet or developing clumps which may kill existing grass. You’re all done, time to go watch a football game.