TURF CARE FOR THE FALL
Monday, August 31, 2015 | The Greenery, Inc.
As September rolls around many of us are enjoying the reduced heat and spending more time outside. While turf adapts and enjoys the warm weather in the summer, it begins to prepare for dormancy around September. Turf will remain green for the coming months, reacts to the shorter days and less sun exposure by storing nutrients and energy. This is an important process that occurs and is vital to ensure that you have a healthy, happy turf in the spring. There are three important things you can do to strengthen your turf now to aid in a smooth transition as the season changes.
The first is proper turf fertilization. While turf growth slows in September it is still searching for nutrients to ready itself for the cold months ahead. The main nutrient the turf is in need of is potassium. Potassium acts as a stress relief for the turf (desperately needed as freezing temperatures ensue in the winter). Once the turf goes dormant it can no longer effectively extract potassium from the soil making it imperative that the fertilizer is available to the plant before this occurs. You should avoid excessive nitrogen fertilizer, as this will cause the turf to expel energy (that would be more beneficial if stored for the winter) in attempts to grow.
The second key to help your lawn prepare for dormancy is to not weaken it through herbicide applications. As fall rolls around, weeds are not concerned with making it through the winter but instead with producing as much seed and growing as much as possible to ensure they can return next summer. Try to fight the urge to aggressively treat these weeds at this stage as they are difficult to kill and will die soon anyway. By aggressively applying herbicides you can weaken your lawn and cause it to struggle the following spring.
The third way to strengthen your turf as it prepares for dormancy is through proper water management. With decreased temperatures and slower growth the turf requires less water so it is important not to overwater your turf. Too much water can result in germination of winter weeds, fungus development and a higher water bill when it is unnecessary.
With your turf prepped and ready for the venture into dormancy, all that’s left to do is kick back and enjoy the final months of warm weather before the cold hits.