The fall season is a beautiful time of year, but it can also be a challenging time for lawn care. This week, Carolina Fresh Farms discusses some early fall lawn care tips to help you maintain a healthy lawn as the fall season approaches.
Why Fall Leaves Are Problematic
Fall leaves can be problematic for your lawn because they block sunlight from reaching the grass, create spots of shade throughout the lawn and trap moisture. This can promote disease outbreaks that can harm your lawn.
How to Manage Fall Leaves
There are several ways to handle fallen leaves in your lawn:
- Rake them into piles and then bag them
- Use a blower to blow them off of your lawn
- Use a lawn mower to mulch over the leaves and create a healthy layer of compost for your lawn
Learn more here.
Fall Disease Control
In the worst-case scenario, fallen leaves can create disease outbreaks throughout your landscape due to the lack of sunlight and trapped moisture. To effectively prevent and treat turfgrass diseases, you have several options at your disposal. Consider using potent fungicides like Armada 50 WDG, available in water dispersible granules that require mixing with water and application via a backpack sprayer. Alternatively, you can opt for granular products like Headway, Eagle and Pillar, which necessitate spreading with a suitable spreader.
To maintain the effectiveness of your disease management strategy, it’s advisable to rotate between these products. This prevents the development of resistance within the disease pathogens and avoids overexposing them to a single fungicide.
Furthermore, there may arise a need for a second fungicide application. Typically, fungicides persist in the soil for approximately 21–28 days. If your lawn previously suffered from a disease outbreak, pathogens might still linger in the soil, especially after prolonged periods of rainfall within the first 21–28 days. Conversely, if rainfall has been scarce, the fungicide’s efficacy may last longer. For specific guidance, please consult your local Carolina Fresh Farms outlet. They can provide you with more detailed information tailored to your specific needs and conditions.
Learn more about fall disease control in our blog here.
Overseed and Feed Fescue
Now is the opportune time to overseed and nourish your fescue grass. Fall offers lower temperatures, creating the perfect conditions for cool season grasses like fescue to thrive. By seeding fescue in the fall, it has ample time to establish robust root systems before the onset of winter, resulting in a lush and vibrant lawn come spring.
To maximize success, it’s crucial to overseed fescue prior to the leaves falling from trees. This timing ensures that the newly germinating seeds won’t struggle against fallen leaves for access to essential sunlight.
For optimal growth, your newly seeded fescue will require a feeding of 16-25-12 fertilizer, which provides phosphorus to promote quick rooting, followed by two additional feedings: one 30 days after and another 60 days after—both using a 25-0-5 fertilizer. These feedings will contribute to the healthy development of your fescue grass.
If you have a bermudagrass lawn, an additional option to keep its green color throughout the winter months is to overseed it with ryegrass seed. This keeps your lawn looking green as the bermudagrass goes dormant. However, ryegrass should not be overseeded on top of zoysia, centipede or St. Augustine grass.
Fall Weed Control
Applying pre-emergent weed control in the fall is important for several reasons. Pre-emergent herbicides help prevent weeds from growing or sprouting when applied on the lawn prior to the target weed seeds germinating.
Fall pre-emergent applications should be done during September and October, depending on where you live. Carolina Fresh Farms recommends a 0-0-7 with 0.38% Prodiamine pre-emergent. Applying a fall pre-emergent treatment is one of the best steps you can take toward a healthy lawn, as it can prevent weeds from germinating, saving you time and money later in the year and through the spring. Learn more here or contact your local Carolina Fresh Farms outlet for more information.
Note: It’s important that you do not apply a pre-emergent herbicide to newly seeded fescue at this time or if you intend to overseed in the near future. If you overseed with fescue, a pre-emergent will not only prevent unwanted weeds from sprouting, but it will also prevent your fescue from growing.
Fall is a time when insects can cause damage to home lawns. Here are some tips for preventing and controlling fall insects in your lawn:
- Keep your grass cut short and remove debris like fallen leaves so insects won’t have places to hide from predators like wasps, spiders and birds.
- Apply insecticides like 0-0-7 Acelepryn to control fall insects like grubs and fall armyworms. Furthermore, Acelepryn 0-0-7 provides a 60-day residual effect for fall armyworms in particular while also addressing issues with ants, spiders and various other insects.
- Practice good lawn care practices like proper watering and fertilization to keep your lawn healthy and less susceptible to insect damage.
By following these tips, you can prevent and control fall insects in your home lawn and keep it healthy throughout the season.
In conclusion, early fall lawn care is essential for maintaining a healthy lawn. By managing fallen leaves, overseeding and feeding fescue, controlling weeds and disease, and dealing with fall insects, you can ensure that your lawn will be healthy and beautiful in the spring. For more information on lawn care, refer to Carolina Fresh Farms’ care guides or blog.