We often receive phone calls from our clients asking about the importance of continuing their service on warm-season turf during the fall. While their turf goes into dormancy (turns brown), they feel the need to suspend their service until the spring. However, the fall is a very important time to prepare for the upcoming season, as we are applying many important products for success in the coming year.
Pre-Emergent and Post-Emergent Treatments During Fall
Pre-emergent treatments to the lawn prevent the upcoming annual winter weeds from germinating in the lawn. Poa Annua, for example, is very difficult to control without pre-emergent applications. Not only are we applying the pre-emergence, but we also prepare the soil for spring.Fall is also a critical time to apply post-emergent weed control to the lawn. There are a variety of weeds that are not prevented with the pre-emergent. As the cooler temperatures move in, this triggers the germination of annual winter weeds. Perennial weeds often begin to store carbohydrates in their roots as the temperatures drop. This makes fall an important time for application to ensure the product will be carried in the same direction as the carbohydrates and will make it to the root for a successful kill.
Potassium, Phosphorus, and Lime Lawn Treatments
To help combat some of the nutrient deficiencies in the soil, we apply potassium and phosphorus to lawns. The main responsibility of potassium is to help thicken the cell walls so it can withstand certain stresses such as heat, cold, drought, and disease. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient that all plants need to grow and survive. It can also help stimulate root growth. By encouraging a healthy root system, this can allow the turf to uptake nutrients from the soil. Phosphorus can also help thicken up the lawn to maintain a healthy growth habit.
Georgia clay is a naturally acidic, nutrient-deficient soil. Therefore, we also include limestone as a part of our program. This will help counteract some of the acidity in the Georgia clay from the fertilizers and the rain.
Additional Fall Lawn Tips
Keeping the lawn mowed during the fall will improve your results. However, we don’t suggest mowing weekly during the fall months. As the grass goes dormant, you’ll want to slowly cut back on your mowing. Start with every other week and move to monthly once the grass goes completely dormant. Be sure to also keep fall leaves and debris off the lawn, as they can cause extensive damage if left for too long.
Lastly, you will want to adjust irrigation since it will not need the same amount of water during the fall. Often, we see very dry weather in the fall months, so it’s good to manually run your irrigation as needed to ensure your lawn stays hydrated.
For more information on the importance of lawn care this fall and in cooler months, check out ways to keep your lawn healthy during the winter.