If you'd like your lawn to look as well groomed as a PGA golf course, fall is the time to take corrective measures. Before you do, though, walk across the street, turn around, and view your lawn from your neighbors' perspective. It probably looks better than you expected. A little distance disguises a lawn's minor flaws, says Oregon State University extension turf specialist Tom Cook. 'A good lawn is one that looks good from across the street," he says, "because that's how most of the world sees it." If yours looks healthy your only chore right now is fertilizing it to keep it strong. On the other hand, if your lawn is the scourge of the neighborhood, get moving.
FERTILIZE ALL LAWNS
Both cool and warm-season grasses benefit from
feeding 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.
PATCH DEAD OR DAMAGED SPOTS
Always patch with the same type of grass as
the existing lawn. Remove and discard the old turf, then loosen the top 3 to 6
inches of soil in the bare section, work in compost to improve the soil, and
level the surface. Then either seed, plant new plugs, or insert a fresh piece of
sod cut to fit the damaged area.
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