After a day of heavy usage, most people are in the habit of plugging in their phones. An overnight recharge preps your do-it-all handheld computer for another day of making calls, sending texts, taking pictures and accessing apps. In a similar way, your lawn appreciates a thorough recharge after an active and stressful summer.
Dry heat and intense sun can be exhausting for cool-weather grasses. For most of the summer, your lawn is in survival mode, enduring the summer rather than enjoying it. When the milder weather of autumn finally arrives, your lawn has a chance to catch its breath. If the summer was particularly brutal, your turf may have slipped into drought-induced dormancy. While an early-fall boost of nitrogen can help invigorate top growth, a late-fall application facilitates root expansion.
As days grow shorter and cooler, turf shifts its focus to its root system. While grass is in root development mode, it’s a great opportunity to give it an extra “charge” with a slow-release fertilizer treatment. Instead of using most available food to fuel summer blade growth (above ground), turf is able to redirect nutrients toward root growth (below ground).
Over the course of the fall, turf converts fertilizer to usable food, which it stows away in advance of winter dormancy. Even though they are not active, lawns are vulnerable in the winter due to lack of water. The thick roots that form as a result of a big fall meal stay viable even during a harsh winter and lead to thick and early top growth once the weather breaks in the spring.
Turf loves the fall. The combination of shorter days and mild temperatures allows your lawn to thrive above and below ground in the autumn. When you take steps to build your turf in the fall, you are taking advantage of this special season and getting the best return on your lawn care efforts. Recharge your lawn this fall and enjoy a happy, healthy lawn next spring and for years to come.
As your lawn and gardens head into dormancy, enriching your soil is a great way to close the book on the growing season. Leveling off your soil’s acidity and adding organic material in the late fall will result in healthy, vital soil that is ready to accommodate new spring growth. Soils that are slightly acidic are best at facilitating plant growth. Over the summer, soil can become overly acidic (low pH) due to a season’s worth of rainfall as well as the natural decomposition of organic matter. In other cases, especially in dry regions, soil can become overly basic (high pH). Test kits to determine your lawn’s pH can be purchased at most garden supply stores. Adding lime to soil in the fall increases pH and reduces acidity. In cases where pH is too high, sulfur can be added to boost acidity.
While lawns benefit from pH adjustments, flower beds and gardens can be helped by organic materials such as peat moss or compost. These natural additions help stabilize sandy soil and make clay-rich soils viable for future plant growth. Organic materials also improve an area’s drainage while “charging” it up for nutrients so that it’s ready for new plantings next spring.