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Fall Lawn Feeding Plan

August 23, 2013

You should not be surprised to hear this Scotts guy tell you to feed your lawn.  Even before my Scotts days when I was a County Extension Agent in Virginia I preached the importance of feeding your lawn in fall.  The reason:  All summer long your lawn takes a beating, especially this year with the record drought in many areas.  Your lawn’s had more heat, more sun, more dryness – and it probably looks it.  Some areas have had more rain than usual this summer.  No matter where you live or how your lawn looks, you need to think about your lawn’s roots where growth may have been stunted or stopped altogether.

Fortunately, we are nearing the best time of year to do something about it.  You should plan to rejuvenate your grass over the next few months with at least two feedings of one of the Turf Builder Lawn Foods.  (I plan on feeding my lawn three times between now and Thanksgiving with Scotts Natural Lawn Food because I have seen first-hand the difference this extra nutrition will make in grass root growth.)  If you have warm-season grass like Bermuda, St. Augustine or Zoysia that you have not fed recently, feed now and again in 6 weeks.  If you have cool-season grass like Bluegrass, Fescue or Ryegrass, feed in early September and again in mid-October.  I like to feed this kind of lawn a third time around Thanksgiving.

Not only will Turf Builder or Scotts Natural Lawn Food give your lawn a fast green up, you’ll get more root growth because fall is the best grass growing weather of the year.  Cool nights, sunny days and wetter weather are ideal for developing the kind of deep, healthy root system your lawn needs to thrive long term.  However, to get this payoff you need to feed your grass!

Feeding your lawn in fall helps to make your lawn thicker with stronger roots.

Feeding your lawn in fall helps to make your lawn thicker with stronger roots.

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40 Comments
  1. Chris N. permalink

    I just moved into a new construction home a month ago where 80% of the lawn is sod and the other 20% is from the old lot. Why I didn’t push to have the lawn graded and sodded entirely is chalked up to first time home owner experience.

    I use a real mower on my bermuda and notice the great care it takes and the new sod is easy to keep weeds out because they’re easily noticeable. However, in the back yard i’ve got a lot of grass but the old lot has many weeds. Reading a previous article of yours i’m convinced to lay down Scotts Weed & Feed to well, weed & feed. If I do this within the next week or so does that mean I should still put down turf builder alongside another treatment in 6 weeks or do Scotts Weed & Feed this week and turf builder in 6 weeks? I’ve heard different things for new sod and I want to take care of it the right way.

    Really appreciate the blog,

    • Hi Chris N.
      Feed your new sod with Turf Builder now and do the weed and feed in about 6 weeks using Turf Builder WinterGuard Weed & Feed. Water after feeding with Turf Builder. Apply the Weed & Feed to moist foliage first thing in the morning when rain is not expected for 24 hours. Glad you are finding this info useful!

      • Chris N. permalink

        Ashton,

        Sounds like a plan! To clarify, in the meantime just keep mowing the weeds to manage them?

      • Hi Chris N.

        Yes, keep mowing your grass and weeds on a regular basis.

  2. my lawn as St Augustine and Bermuda. What can I give it to stimulate the St Augustine growth and deter the Bermuda growth.

    • Hi Lynell
      We do not have a product that will take the Bermuda out of your St. Augustine lawn. However, there are a couple of things you can do. Both of these grass types like to be fed, however St. Augustine appreciates a little extra feeding. So, feed your lawn 4 or 5 times a year. Since St. Augustine likes sun and shade, while Bermuda only likes sun, you can mow your grass tall to help shade the Bermuda to weaken it (around 3 inches or so after the cut). Spring and Fall applications of Bonus S Weed & Feed will encourage your St. Augustine and stunt your Bermuda (although it will not likely kill it).

  3. I have quite a lot of clover grass in back yard ( cheyenne Wy )
    what product should I use to get rid of this. when do I do this as I want to
    use winterizer in early Sept, mid October and again at thanksgiving.
    We have bluegrass Thanks Carol

    • Hi Carol
      You have two options: 1) You can use Turf Builder WinterGuard Weed & Feed for one or both of your first two feedings. 2) You may want to use Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed and Clover Killer in the hose-end Ortho Dial N Sprayer. I would spray two weeks after your first feeding. The spray will be more effective than the weed & feed if your clover is growing particularly strong.

  4. Jen permalink

    I live near Charleston, SC and we are still having 90 degree weather, so not exactly Fall like here yet. When do you recommend doing the two feedings here?

    • Hi Jen
      My feeding suggestions for you depend on the kind of lawn you have. If you have St. Augustine (in South Carolina some folks call it Charleston Grass) you can feed now (even with 90 degrees) with Turf Builder and water after feeding. Then feed again in 6 weeks with Turf Builder WinterGuard. If you have Centipede Grass it is best to limit feedings to 2 or 3 times a year. If you have fed less than that this year, feed now with Turf Builder and let that be it. If you have Fescue, wait and feed in Early Sept and get three feedings in this fall. Sorry for all the options, however in Charleston there are different kinds of lawns.

  5. Anthony permalink

    Hi Ashton, in between the suggested fall feedings when is a good time to overseed?

    • Hi Anthony
      Sept is a good month to seed for most areas. You would select the Turf Builder Lawn Food for Starting New Grass as your feeding with the seeding. Let me know where you are located and I can give you specific seeding suggestions.

      • Anthony permalink

        Thanks Ashton I’m located in RI, how would I incorporate the fall feedings as well? Thank you

      • Hi Anthony… Thanks for letting me know where you are located. In early Sept seed with Scotts Turf Builder Sun & Shade Blend and spread Turf Builder New Lawn Starter the same day, then about 4 to 6 weeks later feed with Turf Builder, then about 6 weeks later feed with Turf Builder WinterGuard.

  6. Bob Serrao permalink

    I live in Savannah, Ga. Until recently, I had a lawn care company caring for my lawn. The results were terrible. Please advise type of care of should be providing for my lawn at this point. I have centipede grass.

    • Hi Bob
      Centipede Grass likes no more than 2 or 3 feedings a year: In spring when you are seeing at least 60% green coming out of winter, about 2 months later during summer and then a third feeding around now. If your service has already fed three or more times this year, then you should not feed until next spring. During summer you can put down Ortho Bug B Gon MAX to take care of insects that can attack your grass, plus fleas and ticks. If you put down at the higher spreader setting on the package, you will also kill fire ants. Only use weed controls that list Centipede Grass as ok on the label and then only when your grass is actively beginning growth in late spring. Next Feb or Early March put down Scotts Halts (without lawn food) to prevent crabgrass and other summer weeds.

  7. amhesq permalink

    Should the lawn be thatched / aerated before feeding with Turf Builder

    • Hi amhesq
      You should consider aeration only if your thatch layer is more than a half inch thick. You can cut a plug from your lawn to get a side view of your thatch layer. You can leave the cores on your lawn after aerating. You would feed afterwards. Dethatching is more of an option if you are really wanting to remove dead grass and expose soil prior to seeding. The thatch would need to be raked from your lawn prior to seeding.

  8. Patrick permalink

    Hi I live in Lebanon,In.I just recently moved into a new house and plan on taking care of fertilizing and reseeding this fall. The yard is in decent shape now but can always be better. Any suggestions on what grass seed and when I should reseed?

    • Hi Patrick
      Most lawns in your area contain Kentucky Bluegrass as the primary grass plant. Many also have some Fine Fescue and/or Perennial Ryegrass. The Scotts Turf Builder Sun & Shade Grass Seed Blend is a good choice. If the bare spots in your lawn are only a few inches in size, you may find that feeding your lawn 2 or 3 times this fall will cause the Ky Bluegrass to spread and fill in thin areas. If you decide to seed do it in the next week or two and feed with Turf Builder Starter Lawn Food, follow up 6 weeks later with Turf Builder and then in mid Nov feed with Turf Builder WinterGuard. If you seed, do not put down any weed killers until your new grass has been mowed 4 times.

  9. Within the last month we put in a newly seeded lawn, have watered religiously and am seeing good results. I was told that using Turf Builder Winterguard with Plus 2 Weed Control late in the Fall would be the best for this new lawn. Also, when, if at all should I mow this season?

    • Hi Ned
      You can use Turf Builder WinterGuard Plus 2 once your new grass has been mowed 4 times. Mow your new grass at a setting to leave your lawn at around 2-1/2 inches after the cut. Ideally your grass should receive at least two feedings: Starter Lawn Food for New Grass when you seeded(if not feed soon) and then the WinterGuard Plus 2 will be your second feeding. Apply the Plus 2 to moist foliage when rain is not expected for 24 hours.

  10. We just moved to The Villages, Fl. and have zoysia grass. we were told to fertilize now as it is turning brown in spots. what should we use?

    • Hi BM
      Feed your Zoysia with Scotts GreenMAX or Scotts Turf Builder. You are living in a neat community.

  11. irma rogers permalink

    can i use triple 13 fertilizer with scott’s weed control during spring. i have st. augustine grass.

    • Hi Irma
      Yes. You could use Scotts Bonus S Weed & Feed as your first application. You should wait at least 6 weeks before feeding again.

  12. Brian permalink

    I live in georgia and have bermuda. When should i do my 2 feedings?

    • Hi Brian
      If you have fed your lawn in the last 4 weeks or so, give your Bermuda one more feeding this year with Turf Builder WinterGuard. It would be best to get your last feeding around the middle of Sept. If you have not fed in the last month, you can feed now and again the end of the month using Turf Builder WinterGuard.

  13. Carole LaForce permalink

    Live in Wisconsin. Just bought Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Lawn Care. Need to seed some brown patches. When can I seed? Before or after Winterguard.

    • Hi Carole
      Since you do not have weed control in your WinterGuard (that would be WinterGuard with Plus 2 Weed & Feed), you can seed anytime now.

  14. Gloria permalink

    I live in SE Michigan and my back lawn has become infested with wild violets. What product will help destroy these pesky plants?

  15. Gloria permalink

    Also want to know if Scotts Turfbuilder plus 2 will combat the wild violets? I have 1/2 bag left from last year and I plan to use it on my back lawn if it does the job. If not, what shall I use?

    • Hi Gloria
      Sorry to say your Turf Builder Plus 2 Weed & Feed will not take care of your Wild Violets. I have good news though: Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed & Clover Killer will do a great job on them. This product comes in a concentrate that you spray using the Ortho Dial N Spray hose-end sprayer. It also does a good job of taking our Creeping Charlie (Ground Ivy).

  16. Chris N. permalink

    Ashton, I apologize for not listing my state in my first comment. I fed the lawn last week with Turf Builder (not Plus 2) and plan to feed again in mid october with Turf Builder Weed and Feed. Based on my location, do I need to change my plan of attack to a winterguard or stick to Weed and Feed?

    Thanks Ashtonyou help bring confidence to the DIYer

    • Hi Chris N… The Turf Builder feeding will really help your new Bermuda lawn. Typically it is a good idea to get you last feeding of the year down by the end of Sept. You can use Turf Builder WinterGuard Weed & Feed for that one.

  17. Joyce permalink

    Ashton, what a great plog! I’m finding your articles extremely helpful and I enjoy reading all the comments.
    Up until this year I have used someone else to care for my yard. Now that I’m retired, I want to try taking care of everything myself. The lawn suffered some damage from summer heat and sun. About a month ago, I detached and raked off the dead. Last week I aerated and overseeded. I also put down started fertilizer and lime. I have been watering on a regular basis and already see some of the new grass coming up. I plan to put down turf builder in late October and again in late November.
    Is there anything else I need to be doing? Thanks!

    • Hi Joyce
      You have a great plan. I know you will be very pleased with how your new grass will come in. My only suggestion is to do your next feeding about 4 weeks after your seeding and then your November feeding might be mid Nov rather than late. I can see your green thumb from here!

      • Joyce permalink

        Ashton,
        Thanks for your quick and encouraging response. Please forgive my typo — I love your blog, not plog:(
        I will most definitely take your advice and look forward to future conversations.

  18. Joyce permalink

    Ashton,
    Good feeling about my lawn plan was very short-lived:( Over the weekend I was looking over the yard and noticed tunnels everywhere — OMG — moles and/or voles are back!! I put down GrubX last spring and had great success — no moles until now. Guess I should have remembered to put down another dose in August. I put down Ortho Bug-B-Gone this morning and hope that will help. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Hi Joyce The moles may be after earthworms which are not controlled by what you put down. The mole experts suggest trapping as the best method. Here is a website from a very knowledgeable source: http://www.themoleman.com Ortho has a repellent that I have not used: Ortho Mole-B-Gon (comes in a granule and a hose-end spray). Good Luck!

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