It’s almost fall and that means time for lawn care

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 13, 2019

Fall is the best time to fertilize and reseed cool season fescue, which is the predominant turf grown in Rowan County. Cool season fescue and bluegrass grow best during the fall and winter months.

Lawn owners with bare areas or excessive weed growth should consider over‑seeding with a turf type blend. Over-seed with 4-5 pounds of turf fescue per 1,000 square feet.

Areas that are completely bare need at least 7-8 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Make sure the soil is loosened at least 3 inches deep or core aerated to insure seed penetration. Clean wheat straw sparsely spread over the newly seeded area helps conserve moisture and insures germination.

Blends of turf type fescues are best to use in over-seeding. Kentucky 31 was the standard fescue grass seed used for many years, but new turf types are best adapted for home lawns. Fescue blends adapt better and give more resistance to summer droughts and brown patch. Brown patch is a fungus that easily spreads in fescue lawns. This fungus quickly spreads through a single cultivar of fescue or bluegrass.  Blends reduce the spread of the fungi.

The soil of lawns needs to be tested to determine the specific nutritional needs of these cool season blends.  Soil test kits are available from the Cooperative Extension Service office located on Old Concord Road.

Core aeration is also very helpful during fall reseeding and fertilization. Plugs of soil are pulled from the soil to provide a space for fertilizer and lime to enter the turf’s root zone. Air space is very important in good root development.

Core aeration should be done in the fall to insure proper aeration in our tight Piedmont clay soils. Avoid using a spike aerator. Spike aerators compact the soil, reducing the amount of oxygen available to the roots.

Turf type fertilizers with slow release fertilizers are excellent for constant feeding over the fall and winter months. These fertilizers come pre-measured in 5,000 and 10,000 square footage bags. These premium fertilizers seem more expensive from the initial cost, but a cost comparison with grade fertilizers prove that the turf fertilizers are about the same price.

Turf fertilizers are sold in a 4-1-2 ratio, such as 16-4-8 or 21-3-6. Premium fertilizers high in phosphorus are sold as starter fertilizers such as 11-22-6. Newly seeded lawns benefit from the high phosphorus content of starter fertilizers.

Grade fertilizers such as 10-10-10 or 17-17-17 quickly release nutrients. Rapid growth occurs soon after fertilization. These fertilizers are consumed rapidly by quick growing turf or leached through the soil by heavy rains. Go to  https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/carolina-lawns for more detailed information on lawn care.

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