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Fall care for healthy lawns

Melinda Myers is a gardening expert, TV host, radio host, author and columnist


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Fall fertilization helps lawns recover from summer stress, encourages root growth, thickens your grass stand and prepares the lawn for winter.Summer can be hard on lawns. With much of the country suffering from extreme heat and drought conditions this past summer — many lawns took a beating.

But fall is the perfect time to help your lawn recover from the stresses of summer and prepare for winter.The warm soil and cooler temperatures promote root growth and thickening of the lawn.

Continue to mow the lawn as long as it keeps growing. Mow high to encourage deep roots and leave clippings on the lawn. Clippings add nutrients and organic matter to the soil and do not cause thatch.Mow, don’t rake, fall leaves.

This will save you time and improve your lawn. The leaves add organic matter and nutrients to the soil.

As long as you can see the grass leaves through the shredded leaves, your lawn will be fine. You can also shred and collect the leaves in your bagger and add them to your compost or use as mulch around perennials in the garden.

Consider core aeration if your lawn is suffering from compacted soil and thatch. Core aeration machines remove plugs of soil in the lawn, allowing air and water to reach and nourish the grass roots while promoting the breakdown of the thatch.

Overseed thin lawns after core aerating. This will enable you to get good seed to soil contact and ultimately enjoy a thicker more lush lawn.Be sure to fertilize. Fall fertilization helps lawns recover from summer stress, encourages root growth, thickens your grass stand and prepares the lawn for winter.

Use a low nitrogen fertilizer to encourage slow steady growth and prevent damage to already stressed lawns.

Northern gardeners growing cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and rye grass should make one application in early fall and the last application sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving before the ground freezes.

For more information, visit melindamyers.com.




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