Friday, October 9, 2009

Starting The Next Years Lawn In September

By Thomas Fryd

Unfortunately not many gardeners know that September can be one of the most important gardening months of the year. Too many gardeners consider this month just one of the last of the growing season, offering little opportunity to do more than wait sadly for the coming of winter. September, however, can be a "busy, joyous period devoted to planting, preparation for next year, keeping the garden up to the end of the season, and improving and making new lawns. It ushers in the fall planting season in the North and gives the gardener opportunities to do many things that will lighten the load of spring work next year.

This is the ideal time for lawn work, to start a new one, improve a poor one or repair the damage done by crab grass. The weather again is very favorable to the growth of grass and the germination of newly sown grass seeds. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler, there is enough sun-shine and moisture to favor the development of grass and it is the time when lawn weeds do not germinate.

The latter is an especially important factor in favor of the good grass, an advantage not enjoyed in spring when newly seeded grass must compete with weeds at a most critical time. Hand pulling is most hazardous at this time and chemical weed killers cannot be used without injury to the tender grass seedlings.

Do Seeding Early

One very important point in connection with seeding lawns and starting new lawns in the fall is to be sure that all operations and seeding are done by the middle of September so that the new grass will develop a sturdy, thick stand before winter arrives. Every day's delay after that date increases the rate of risk of winter injury, especially if a winter without much snow cover should follow.

This is the time of year when top dressing (adding a thin layer of sandy loam or peaty soil) can be undertaken without much concern over the prospects, which usually are very great, of introducing weed seeds, particularly crabgrass. Weed seeds in the soil will not be an immediate problem to the new grass nor will it be next year if a proper program of fertilizing, mowing and watering through xeriscaping is practiced. Xeriscaping ideas is the answer for watering. Top dressing is not necessary for a fairly good lawn, but it will be very beneficial to a poor one, or to one that is on a thin base of good soil, as too often is the case.

The top dressing soil will provide a good seed bed for lawns that require reseeding. The proper order and process of rejuvenating a poor lawn is to fertilize first, then top dress, seed and water down.

Applying Fertilizer

A good lawn will not require more than fertilizing and this is one of the best times of the year to provide an extra supply of plant food so that an exceptionally vigorous growth can be made while ideal weather conditions prevail.

All fertilizing of lawns should be done by the middle of the month allowing the lawn to get maximum benefit without any of the risks involved when feeding is done later. One of the risks would be causing a soft, lush growth late in the growing season. It would be likely to be injured or killed during the winter. Use lawn fertilizers at the rate of two pounds of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn surface and be sure to water immediately.

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1 comment:

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