A good time for lawn care maintenance is during late summer and early fall. Some lawn care maintenance practices will help you maintain a vibrant lawn, or bring back a lawn that has started to decline. Some of these practices will most likely include de-thatching, weed control, aeration, mowing, fertilization, and re-seeding.
That layer of plant material that is living or dead, that lays between the green foliage of your lawn and the surface of the soil is called thatch. When this material becomes more than 1/2 inch, it is better for your lawn to do a little de-thatching. Home and garden centers and rental centers have power rakes, and vertical mowers available for thinning out the grass and lifting thatch to the surface.
The debris can now be raked up and thrown away. In most parts of the United States, the removal of thatch can begin in late August or early September. You are going to need about four weeks of good weather for the grass to grow after you have removed the thatch.
This will give the grass time to recoup before it goes dormant later in the fall. To help promote recovery, you can apply fertilizer after de-thatching. This can be performed later in the year for the southwestern states.
You can control broad-leaf weeds, such as dandelions, by applying a broad-leaf herbicide anytime from the middle of September to early November. If you can find an organic broad-leaf herbicide that would probably be the best to use.
Applications of the herbicides are more effective and much safer in the fall than if applied in the spring or summer. In the fall, these weeds will transfer carbohydrates down into their roots. During this time when the herbicide is applied, it also will be transferred down to the roots causing complete demolition of the weeds.
Living in some parts of the country gardening activity slows down during fall, so using the herbicide will become less of a risk from drifting to your vegetable gardens, flowers gardens, or fruit trees.
Some areas of your lawn may suffer from compaction. This is caused by a lot of foot traffic and aeration of the lawn will be needed. To aerate a lawn, you want to use a machine with hollow metal tubes that will remove soil plugs. You can break up these plugs by mowing or raking after aerating.
Aerating the lawn as part of your landscaping maintenance can begin in late August or early September depending on where you live. Fertilizer can be applied to the lawn in order to speed up the recovery of your grass. Aerating your lawn also helps in removing thatch.
Mowing gives off a well groomed, neat appearance but mowing improperly will cause many problems with the lawn. A cool season grass, such as Kentucky bluegrass, will perform much better during the cool temperatures of spring and fall. This type of grass generally should be mowed no shorter than three inches during hot summer months.
Your mower blade can be lowered as temperatures begin to cool during late summer and early fall. During the fall, bluegrass can be mowed at two to two and one half inches and continued to mow until it the grass stops growing and goes dormant, usually in late fall.
During late summer and early in the fall is also an excellent time to fertilize your lawn. Both the cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses have two fertilization periods which is the spring and again in fall.
For the cool-season grasses in the north, it is usually better to focus on giving them larger amounts of nitrogen during their early fall growing period, and less nitrogen in the spring. The warm-season grasses in southern areas of the country which perform better during the warm summer months, it is better to apply a larger amount of nitrogen during spring and less during the fall.
Late summer or early fall is the time to start new lawns and over-seed badly damaged or thin lawns. Seeding can begin during the middle of August and completed by the end of September for most of the country, but later when the weather begins to cool off in the southwest areas.
Seeding with the cooler temperatures means these new turf plants can look forward to even cooler weather and not the hot weather of summer. By the time you end up with a haze of frost, these new grass plants will already be anchored in the soil.
When you seed or re-seed just remember that the seeds must come in contact with the soil. Hopefully I have given you some good recommendations regarding your lawn care maintenance.