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Preparing Your Lawn and Garden for Fall in South
After all the lawn care TLC you invested during spring and summer, don’t stop now. Fall lawn care in the South has unique differences from lawn care maintenance recommended for other zones. There is still work to be done to keep your lawn looking vibrant and healthy during this seasonal change in your temperate climate.
Fall lawn tips
Chances are that if you live in the South, your lawn is a type of Bermuda grass such as Sahara or LaPrima. Both of these types are very popular and savvy choices for your growing zone. When temperatures begin to drop to about 60 degrees, or after a first frost, you’ll notice that your Bermuda grass begins to go dormant.
Fall lawn care in the South is easier if you follow these fall lawn tips:
Inspect your lawn
Prior to making any lawn applications, walk your lawn and inspect it for weeds and insects. Bermuda grass is prone to weeds and does require using an application of a pre-emergent product to prevent winter weeds.
If your inspection identified an insect problem, such as fleas or cutworm, use an insect control product to eradicate the problem, or these lawn pests can cause damage. Check with your local lawn care specialist for guidance because there are chemicals that will burn Bermuda grass if not applied properly.
When you winterize your lawn by applying a grass conditioner, the product releases important nitrogen when your lawn is dormant. This helps the grass to remain healthy and resists any stress caused over the winter months. Grass conditioners also perform another valuable function by feeding your lawn potassium, which speeds up the greening process in spring.
When your lawn goes dormant, there is no need to mow. You can continue to rake or blow any falling leaves, but do not mow until your grass begins to grow again. A couple of weeks before you cease mowing, gradually lower the height of your grass to one inch. During fall and early winter, you no longer want to trap moisture in your grass, which can make your lawn susceptible to spring diseases.
Do not aerate
Don’t aerate in the fall, or your efforts will do more to promote the growth of weeds.
An important tip for all lawn care in the South is to mix two grasses together as a way to transition from one season to the next. If you mix in an annual type of grass such as winter rye, your Bermuda grass lawn will look thicker during fall and winter and you won’t notice that your grass is dormant. Winter rye, or any other annual grass variety, must be planted every year. The reason this technique works so well is because about the time your Bermuda grass begins growing again, the winter rye will be dying out.