Fall is the ideal time to seed a new lawn, reseed a struggling lawn and fertilize an established lawn.
Time is of the essence in you’re going to plant seed this fall. The best time for seeding is from mid August to the end of September. Our warm days and cool nights are the right conditions for seed growth. By spring, the grass is well rooted and better able to handle adverse conditions.
Consider choosing a grass variety that is drought tolerant. Kentucky Blue Grass is lovely, but not without a lot of work. Much water, fertilizer, and insect control are necessary to get the look some folks crave. There are turf grasses that have a look similar to blue grass, with the added benefit of being more drought tolerant. Turf type fescue lawns have a very deep root system so are better able to tolerate heat and drought. Their fertilizer requirement is low, they stand up to heavy traffic from kids or pets. Because it is a bunching grass, it won’t form thatch or travel into your flowerbeds. Do your homework and select the variety that’s right for you.
Soil preparation is the most important factor of turf health. Adding four inches of compost and tilling it in will make a good seedbed and loosen the soil for optimum root growth and drainage. Once the soil is ready, sprinkle with water and let the weeds begin to grow. Kill the weeds using Roundup or other similar products. Once dead (about a week), cut them down and don’t disturb the soil again. Read the label and wait the required number of days before planting the seed or laying sod.
Use a starter fertilizer when seeding. These contain a higher rate of Phosphorus, which encourages rooting.
Light mulch will hold in moisture, moderate soil temperature, and reduce the loss of seed by birds. Keep the seed moist with daily, light irrigation for the first two to three weeks. In spring, begin watering deeply and infrequently to encourage a deep root system.
If over-seeding bare spots or sparse turf, use a hard-tined rake to rough up the area to ensure good seed to soil contact. Mix in a starter fertilizer and sow seed that is similar to your existing turf. Mulch, and keep moist.
Fall is the ideal time to fertilize the lawn. Fall fertilizing will help keep the turf greener through the winter. Nutrients added now, will be stored by the plant to promote a dense, slower- growing turf next spring.
Fall is a great time to treat perennial weeds. As the plant pulls sugars down into the root system to store for winter, the herbicide will be pulled down too, giving you a better chance of killing the whole weed, not just the top. Don’t let the weeds go to seed.
It takes effort to have a nice lawn in a high desert area. A little work now will pay off with a greener lawn this winter and a great looking lawn next spring.