Fall Lawn Care & UCEMGV Monthly Educational Meeting
With the heat of summer and the dog days of August upon us, not too many folks are thinking about fall lawn care. But now is the time.
Soil testing is free though the end of November, so if you haven’t tested your soil the past 2-3 years, you may consider testing. You can pick up a soil test kit at the Union County Extension Center or at any Union County Library (just ask for one at the information desk). Testing the soil will give you a baseline of the nutrient levels and pH of the soil. If you need to add lime, adding it in the fall allows time for the chemical reaction to take place in the soil before next growing season. If fertilizer is needed those recommendations will be part of the soil test report.
Zoysia can be fertilized in August and Bermuda grass in September, but not after that, because if you fertilize these grasses too late in the season, they may not harden off properly and may be prone to winter damage. If you may have had a problem with winter annual weeds this past spring, you might want to consider the application of a pre-emergent herbicide this fall to manage them for next season.
Cool season grasses such as Tall Fescue are best fertilized in the fall as you want to encourage root growth that will support the plant next summer. Another chore that can be done in the fall on cool season lawns is aeration. This can be done in either fall or spring when the plants are actively growing. If you have a problem with compaction you can do in both spring and fall. Aeration can be followed with over-seeding if needed and topdressing with ¼” of a good compost. As with the warm season grasses, if you have had a problem with winter annual weeds, you may want to make an application of a pre-emergent herbicide.
We are fortunate to have an excellent website from North Carolina State University that covers all things related to lawns. It is called Turffiles and has variety recommendations, maintenance calendars for many varieties of warm and cool season grasses, information on grass identification, and insect, disease, and weed identification and management. The website is turffiles.ncsu.edu.
Join the Union County Master Gardeners this Thursday, August 17, at 7 pm at the Union County Extension Center for their monthly educational meeting. Paula Gross, Associate Director, UNCC Botanical Garden will be discussing Ferns.