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Why Feed Your Lawn This Fall If Your Grass Looks OK?

September 10, 2015

You ask any turf expert for lawn care tips and they are going to tell you the key to a strong lawn is strong roots and the key to strong roots is to give your lawn two feedings in fall. So turf experts feed their grass a couple of times in fall even if their grass looks like it does not need it on top, because they know it needs it down below where the roots are getting ready for a growth spurt prior to winter.  (If you have a southern grass like Zoysia, Bermuda, Bahia, or St. Augustine your lawn likely only needs a single September feeding. If you have already fed your Centipede two or three times this year, you can skip any further feeding until next spring.)

The grass square on the left has strong roots because it has been well fed.  The grass square on the right is starving with very thin roots.

The grass square on the left has strong roots because it has been well fed. The grass square on the right is starving with very thin roots.

Here’s what you need to do for Bluegrass, Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass lawns: You spread your first fall feeding in September. That’ll give your lawn a chance to recover from any summer lawn damage. Now you might not see much improvement at first, but don’t get discouraged. A lot of the improvement from an early fall feeding is happening underground, as new grass roots develop and spread. In fact, the underground root development will go on until the ground freezes, long after the first frost.

Within a few weeks, the lawn will start looking healthier. But the real improvement comes with the second feeding about 6 weeks after the first in late fall. This one helps to lock in what you’ve just gained, and carry it into the spring. What’ll happen is that your lawn’s increased root mass will absorb and store the nutrients from the fertilizer. Once spring arrives, your lawn will quickly tap into these nutrients, for a beautiful burst of green. In fact, a lawn fed twice in the fall will be the first to green up in the spring!

And I know I’ve said this before, but I can’t emphasize it enough. When it comes to lawn food, spend the few extra bucks for a really good one. There are big differences in how lawn foods work, and with a product like Scotts Turf Builder or Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard or Scotts Natural Lawn Food you’ll see a big improvement in how your lawn looks! You can count on it!

Oh by the way, one of these feeding can contain a weed control like you find in Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Weed and Feed. This is a great time of year to kill clover, ground ivy (creeping charlie), dandelions and other weeds. Just make sure you apply to moist foliage on a day when rain is not expected. Application to a dew covered lawn in early morning really works well. And, don’t forget, any newly seeded areas should not be treated with weed control until after your new grass has been mowed 4 times.

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