In most parts of the country, the August heat simply bakes your lawn. That’s not a lot you can do, other than water it.
But starting in September, there are a number of things you can do to help your lawn green up, survive a harsh winter, and be spectacular when next spring arrives.
According to the lawn experts at Lowes, you can start fertilizing cool season grasses like ryegrass, fescue and bluegrass as early as September. You can wait as late as November.
Purchase a specially formulated winterizing fertilizer that is higher in potassium than regular fertilizer. Potassium is the nutrient that makes grasses more winter hardy. Apply winterizers as the last fertilizer application of the growing season.
Don’t let leaves accumulate
Start raking or removing leaves as soon as they fall instead of waiting until December, when they are all on the ground. Leaves left on the grass will lead to disease by blocking sunlight and air from reaching it. Some people use a mulching mower to grind them up instead of raking. That works too. It isn’t the leaves that cause the disease – its how they smother the grass.
During the winter, you can control weeds in your lawn with what’s called a pre-emergent weed killer. Or you can use a product that combines both fertilizer and weed killer, generally known as “weed and feed.”
September is a good time to over-seed
September and October are also prime months to address bare spots in your lawn with what’s called “over-seeding,” which is basically putting out new grass seed. In warmer climates, over-seeding with ryegrass is recommended. Before seeding, cut the grass a half-inch shorter than usual. Seed the mowed area by making two passes.
In cooler climates, over-seed in thin and bare spots and keep the areas moist while the seeds take root. Spreading out the time between watering will cause the roots to get a firmer foothold in the soil.
Dandelions are a spring time lawn scourge but the fall is the best time to attack them. In the fall, when you spray these perennial weeds with herbicides containing glyphosate, 2, 4-D, and MCPP, the poison goes straight to the roots.
Taking care of your lawn starting in September not only beautifies your property, it will enhance your home’s curb appeal if you plan to put it on the market in the spring.