It's been a rough year for lawns. With all the heat and drought, our cool season grasses have gone brown sooner than usual and are staying that way longer. That means we should all be gearing up for some fall lawn care. If you're only going to fertilize your lawn once a year, September is the time to do it!
Fertilizing in fall feeds the grass root system better and doesn't stimulate lots of new top growth compared to spring fertilizing.
Based on a soil test, apply a fertilizer mix high in nitrogen, but only contains phosphorous and potassium if the soil test indicates they're necessary. Adding too much fertilizer can runoff and pollute water ways. Follow the rate of application listed on the fertilizer bag.
Another important fall lawn chore is top dressing with compost and overseeding with grass seed.
Compost feeds the lawn grass roots and creates a better soil structure. Overseeding an existing lawn makes it thick and lush. It will be less likely to have weeds such as dandelions and creeping Charlie. Rake out the lawn area to remove dead grass and loosen the soil.
Apply a one-half-inch-thick layer of compost to your lawn. That’s about three cubic yards for 2,000 square feet of lawn. Rake it in so the lawn grass blades are still sticking through. Then overseed with the same type of grass you're growing at a rate of 5 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet and rake that into the compost. Your lawn should be green, healthy and more resilient come next spring.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about wildflower meadows. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.