What should I be doing now with my fall lawn care program?

keevalOctober 24, 2013

I have a fescue lawn and, though I stopped using chemicals 6 years ago, I just this year learned about fertilizing with the meals. I had used some Espoma products for the first 5 or so years.

A summer soil test indicated I am very low in OM (and nitrogen). I've applied alfalfa a couple of times (August and September) and overseeded in September. I finally found soybean meal and planned to pick it up and apply it this weekend. I have also been considering what to apply in late November, as a final "winterizer" and am wondering what others do?

Temps are supposed to drop to 30 tomorrow night (that's unusually early here).

My questions are:

1 - Under normal conditions, is this a good plan (to focus on applying meals in the fall)?

2 - What should I apply in late November, as a final fertilizer?

3 - Given that I have new seed, how long should I continue to water deeply every week?

4 - Does the early cold snap change anything?

Thanks in advance!

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The concept of a "winterizer" fertilizer is really a misnomer because not very long ago the synthetic fertilizer manufacturers and sellers were advising people that used them to not fertilize later than Labor Day. What feeding the Soil food Web now will do is give the plants a food to store so those plants are ready to grow when spring soil temperatures tell them it is time.
About now you should be feeding your lawn with a good source of organic plant food. keeping in mind that soil temperatures lag behind air temperatures by quite a bit and the Soil Food Web will still be busy in a good, healthy lawn long after the air temperatures drop below freezing.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 7:06AM
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keeval

Thanks for the reply. I hadn't thought about the soil temps being warmer, but of course that makes total sense.
Any idea how long fescue should continue to be watered?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The people at your North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service would be better able to answer that question.
Up here the outside water is being turned off because of the possibility of the exposed pipes freezing.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 7:04AM
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keeval

Last night, I was doing a little internet research on this, and found another forum where that topic was discussed, in general. It seems the best thing to do is water deeply once a month during the cooler months (assuming these folks were right.)

I will call the Extension people, too, though.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 8:02AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Keep in mind that often the internet will have confusing and contradictory advice, along with outright wrong information. The best source of information about organic lawn care I have found is Paul Tukey.
When and how often to water depends on many factors, soil type and drainage, weather (heat, cold, wind, etc.), as well as the type of grass. The best way to judge when to water is to watch your grass, it will tell you when it needs water. however, the people at North Carolina State have done much research on turf growing, including when and how much to water, that is available to those that ask.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 7:28AM
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rdak(z5MI)

Good replies so far IMHO.

Since your soil test indicated you have low OM.....you should be mulch mowing HUGE amounts of fallen leaves into your lawn every fall.

Well, you should do this whether you have adequate OM or not IMHO.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 9:01AM
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