Gardening with Laurie: Prep your lawn for the fall
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Here we are at the end of September. Most people in our area have had some rain, the heat is not quite as intense and fall weather is just around the corner.
Your lawn is probably still actively growing at this time, especially if you received rain.
During the next few months, the weather will cause the grass to slow down. Before long, you won't have to mow, unless you plan on over-seeding your lawn with rye grass seed.
Several complaints have surfaced lately about lawn fungal problems. Apply horticultural cornmeal to the infected areas and a little beyond. Lightly water after applying and then let it dry for several days. I find this method to be one of the easiest ways to fight brown patch in lawns.
Cornmeal can be used on any type of fungal disease. The entire lawn can be treated as a preventative if you have had problems in the past with brown patch.
If this is a wetter fall than usual, this will be a good idea. Fungal problems usually start with damp, moist conditions.
If you have areas of your lawn that were damaged by grub worms, it is a good time to repair any dead patches.
First, remove any dead grass from the lawn. With a garden fork turn over the bare soil and then rake the soil, so the area to be planted is smooth. It is important to lay new sod on level ground. You don't want a new lawn with hills and valleys.
Lay the new sod or plugs and press each piece so the grass roots make good contact with the soil.
After planting the grass keep the soil well watered for the first couple of weeks, if there is no rain.
New lawns or established lawns will benefit from a fall fertilizing. Any organic fertilizer can be applied anytime of the year.
Fertilizing in the fall is very important. This time of the year, you are feeding the root system. The healthier the root system, the healthier the lawn come next spring.
If your lawn is plagued by ants or fleas, you can still apply beneficial nematodes during the fall. Putting them out this time of year, while temperatures are cooler, means you do not have to worry about watering as often, and they will still do their job.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.