IT’S FALL – ALREADY!
Hard to believe it is already fall. If you hate the heat, I am sure you welcome the shift in seasons. Autumn is also a great time to get your California lawn in beautiful shape! Follow the list below to achieve stunning results.
PATCH DEAD OR DAMAGED SPOTS.
Remove and discard the old turf. Loosen the top 3 to 6 inches of soil in the bare section, add in compost to improve nutrient supply then level the surface. Patch with the same type of grass seed as the existing lawn. If you don’t know why type of lawn you have research it online or bring a few clippings to your local nursery for identification help.
OVERSEED IF DESIRED
Here in California it is common practice to overseed in the fall for winter-dormant grasses such as Bermuda and St. Augustine with ryegrass. It is always best to overseed when daytime highs range from 78° to 83° and nighttime lows are 55° or colder, typically between mid-October and mid-November.
Before you do anything, mow down the lawn as short as possible. Mow in stages, only taking off 1/4 to 1/3 inch with each pass until you have removed 65 to 70 percent of the original blade height.
Apply seed generously, approximately 12 to 18 pounds per 1,000 square feet depending on the density of your current lawn. Lightly cover with composted steer manure or other weed-free mulch. Be sure to keep soil moist until seeds germinate. Don’t mow until the grass is 2 inches tall.
AERATE IF NEEDED (Most California lawns need it!)
If your lawn gets a lot of heavy foot traffic, the soil beneath can get compacted making it difficult for water, fertilizer, and absorb oxygen at roots. If you can’t easily push a stick 6 inches into the turf the soil is compacted and should be aerated. The remedy is to punch holes into the soil so that the roots can easily absorb oxygen, moisture, and important nutrients. There are many manual aerating devices available at HomeDepot, Lowes, or Walmart that work well for small lawns. If you have a large lawn area you’ll want hire the job out or rent a power aerator to do the job. Aeration works best on cooler days when the ground is still moist from rain or a good watering.
FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN
Both cool and warm season grasses benefit from fertilizing in early fall. Combination lawn fertilizers are a good choice, since they contain a small amount of fast-release nitrogen, which provides a quick green-up, and a larger portion of slow-release nitrogen, which continues feeding the lawn slowly and gently. Apply fertilizer as recommended on the label.
Another way to fertilize is by leaving your grass clippings on the lawn. As the clippings decompose, they release nitrogen into the turf. Cutting grass with a mulching mower, which chops the blades into finer pieces than a conventional mower, speeds up the process. By doing this regularly, you can eliminate one lawn feeding or more.
If you have lots of chickweed, dock, dandelion, plantain, or other broad-leafed perennial weeds in your lawn, apply a post emergence systemic herbicide to control them (systemic herbicides circulate throughout the plant, killing all parts, including the roots).
For prevention of winter weeds like annual bluegrass, apply a pre-emergence herbicide to stop their seeds from sprouting.
WAIT FOR SPRING TO DETHATCH
We no longer recommend dethatching lawns in early fall. Thatch is the tough fibrous layer of dead stems, rhizomes, and debris that builds up between the soil surface and the grass blades above it. When this layer gets thicker than about 1/2 inch, some of the thatch should be removed, preferably but not until spring. Grasses recover from dethatching trauma more quickly in warmer weather.
NEED A NEW LAWN?
Why bother with sod? Get a beautiful, drought tolerant lawn for pennies on the dollar compared to water thirsty sod. Call us for a free quote on hydroseeding today. And remember, we do more than just turf lawns. We offer hydroseeding ground cover, flowers, and even some shrubs. Call Canyon Hydroseeding at (951) 680-1949