Fall weather is finally here, which means that lawns are going to soon start slowing their growth and going dormant. Most fall core aerations have been completed, and leaf clean ups will begin soon. Here are a few items to keep in mind as we progress towards winter:
Stem Rust in Turfgrass
Stem rust is a fungal disease that develops late in the season on lawns with older bluegrass varieties and slow growth due to low nitrogen. The obvious symptom is rust colored “powder” (fungal spores) on grass blades, shoes and lawn mower. Heavily infected turf may show some yellowing of grass blades. Fungicide controls are recommended or needed for high maintained lawns. Fall lawn care, especially correct nitrogen fertilization, along with cooler fall weather promotes turfgrass growth and rust disappears.
Fall Herbicide Applications
Now is the time to consider applying herbicide for knotweed and crabgrass control. When chemical control is justified, an application with the correct herbicide in the fall can be effective for knotweed. If both crabgrass and knotweed were serious problems this year, prodiamine can be used. It will provide control of both crabgrass and knotweed.
Mowing Tree Leaves into Lawns
Most professional turf managers mulch mow leaves. Mulch mowing can be easier and returns complex organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Some research suggests mulch mowing can even help control weeds. While this weed control benefit can be sporadic, it can help improve the health of your lawn and soil. Mulching leaves is also easier and less time consuming than bagging. Sometimes a double mowing at a slightly higher cutting height will help shred those leaves and bury them in the lawn. The ground tree leaves won’t add to thatch. Up to three inches of leaves can be mowed into turf at a time. Sometimes tree leaves come too fast and quickly pile over the lawn. You will need to rake and bag if that is the case.
Fall Lawn Fertilization
Fall lawn fertilization is best completed before Thanksgiving. Later applications are not well-utilized by turf. Late Fall is the best time to apply root winterizer fertilizer to cool season lawns. Fall is the best time of year to fertilizer your turf for deeper root growth.
Late Fall Perennial Weed Control
Herbicide applications for perennial weed control can still be made effectively while the following conditions apply.
- Daytime temperatures are above 45°F.
- Weeds have green leaves and can uptake herbicides.
- Soils are not frozen.
We will begin Lawn Care Application #5 (Lawn Winterizer) and Fall Weed Control very soon. As always, we are here to help you with any lawn or landscaping questions you may have. Give us a call anytime!