Fall is the best time to Fertilize
The key to managing a healthy lawn is to have a strong root system backed up by a large carbohydrate (food) reserve stored in the roots and crown of the plant. This allows the grass to recover from long winter dormancy and to with stand stress incurred by summer drought, disease, insects and other environmental problems.
- Cool air temperatures in the fall reduce the amount of foliage the plant produces; thus reducing the amount of energy it takes to support the top growth. Even though air temperatures are cool – ground temperatures remain ideal and allow root growth to flourish.
- This set of circumstance make fall the optimum time to fertilize as all added nutrients are going to be used for root growth and food storage through photosynthesis. Aggressively fertilizing in the fall will produce a thicker, healthier lawn, and will provide an earlier green up in the spring.
Fall is the best time to Aerate
It is well documented that Lawn core aeration is one of the keys to a healthy lawn. Aeration breaks up the compaction allowing fertilizer, water, and oxygen to penetrate the root zone. It also propagates the turf by severing the roots and crowns of the plant.
For the same reasons fall is the best time to fertilize, fall is the best time to aerate. Breaking up the compaction and allowing room for roots to grow at a time of the season when root growth is flourishing serves to accelerate the process, and leads to a much thicker healthier lawn.
Fall is the best time to seed
Bare spots, thin areas or complete renovations are best seeded in the fall. Warm fall days coupled by cool fall evening combine for the optimum temperatures for new seedlings to grow. Fall is the time we also experience periodic rain fall and often a heavy dew in the morning that helps ease the watering requirements.
New seedlings have very little weed competition in the fall. Annual weeds such as crabgrass and foxtail germinate in the spring and have exhausted their life cycle by early fall allowing new grass seedlings to develop and not be crowded out by aggressively growing weeds. The long fall growing season allows seedlings to benefit from the same root production and photosynthesis that mature plants do allowing them to survive the stress of the cold winter and putting them in a heathy position to mature in the spring.
Fall is the best time to spray weed control
The best weed control for Dandelions and other broadleaf weeds occurs when the plants are actively growing and nutrients are being stored in the root system. Just like with the grass plant with the onset of cooler temperatures this happens in the fall. When spraying broad leaf weed control at this time the weed plant will rapidly translocate the herbicide to the root system to provide for a complete kill of the plant. When sprayed late in the fall the plant may not be visibly dying, but will not survive the winter and will not be present in the lawn following spring.