Our bare feet enjoy it. The dog rolls around on it. The soccer kids kick it. But as long as it's pretty much green and mowed, we'd rather smell the flowers!
Even though we tend to take the lawn for granted, it is plant life that serves a purpose and needs our attention. It's kept our environment cooler and more enjoyable throughout the summer. Fall, however, is a time when we need to love our lawns a little longer into the final throes of the growing season. Now, it's our turn to pay our lawns back with late-season TLC.
Here are some tips for TLC that your lawn will love:
• Reduce weekly maintenance. Cut down on the watering and mow less frequently. Cooler nights combined with fewer hours of daylight slow lawn growth considerably, so you need less water and can mow less frequently.
• Apply a final application of fertilizer. Using the same organic fertilizer you used earlier this season is probably fine. But if you need to buy more, look for a fall formulation with nitrogen and potassium because these minerals are good for the roots.
• Core aerate the lawn before winterizing the sprinkler system. Aeration pulls plugs of soil and sod out of the lawn and these holes open up the soil so that the roots can take in maximum moisture during the winter. In dry winters like the last one, every drop of moisture counts.
• Zap turf weeds. Here's your last chance for this year to get after turf weeds. Doing one last round of weed control will really pay off next spring in terms of fewer weeds at the start of the season.
• Schedule to have your irrigation system winterized before a freeze. Better to winterize early than have your lawn dug up next spring to repair broken pipes.
• Get expert help if you have had fungus or other turf disease or insect problems this summer. What can be controlled now will mean a smoother start to next season.
Giving consistent plant care is the best way to maintain a healthy lawn just as it is for other plants. Weeds are often the result of too little or irregular watering and turf diseases are often from over-watering. Proper watering and consistent cultural practices like fertilization and aeration go a long way to reduce weeds and disease. These are preventive measures and sustainable practices that reduce the need for pesticides, herbicides and other treatments for your lawn.
Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company based in Silverthorne that is a member. You may contact them at (970) 468-0340.