1. Fall is the BEST time to plant new lawns or overseed.
Lawn planting is ideal between August 15th and the end of September, with September being the most ideal since the chances of super-hot weather diminish once August is passed. (Planting? Read this!)
The cooler temperatures and shorter days of fall allow your lawn (and plants) to focus more on root growth than on top growth, creating a greater quantity of deep root mass. The second best time to plant grass seed is in early spring (March), and frankly, the conditions in your yard will vary greatly depending on what the winter was like.
2. It’s more important to fertilize in fall than it is in Spring.
“University research has shown that fall (August or September) and late fall (October, November or December) fertilization is ideal for home lawns. Fertilizations during these times will benefit lawns more than any other practice. Most homeowners place too much emphasis on spring and summer fertilization. Some fertilizer is needed during the spring and summer; however, over-application of fertilizer at these times can cause disease, rapid growth requiring much more frequent mowing and other problems that result in ‘summer lawn nightmares.’ ” http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1191.html
By fertilizing in the fall, you improve the overall health of your lawn by encouraging deep root growth, rather than ‘greening’ up the top. A deeper, healthier root system will be more resistant to disease and drought. Often, the ‘prettiest’ looking lawns are the most fragile, requiring constant watering and fertilization, pest control and disease monitoring because the focus is on the green top growth at the expense of the more important root growth. Slow-release fertilizers will assist root growth.
3. Don’t over-water.
This is a year-round rule. You should never water to the point of puddling. For new lawns, frequent, light watering is best. Established lawns should be watered about once a week, depending on heat and overall rainfall.
4. Keep mowing till it’s done growing.
(I just made that up that catchy phrase. Patent pending.)
You should continue to cut your grass until you’ve seen no visible growth for about two weeks. Keep your grass at about 2-3 inches for the winter.
Even though the fall causes us to focus mostly on leaf removal, taking the time to properly care for your lawn this of year will give you a healthier, happier lawn in the spring.