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September through November

Elite Plus Ryegrass/Fine Fescue

The weather cools, the leaves turn golden hues of yellow and orange, and suddenly fall has begun. What does this mean for your lawn care?

Lawn management in Washington’s wet climate can require some special attention. As the rainy days begin to increase in September leading up to November, the wettest month of the year, it’s important to decrease irrigation gradually to promote better turf health. Overwatering can lead to weakening of roots, and the turf not getting enough oxygen. Signs that a lawn has too much water can be browning and moss growth. This is also, a great opportunity to conserve water by eliminating unnecessary water use.

With so much moisture running through the lawn, and ideal cool temperature growing conditions, now is a great time to ensure that the grass is not being stripped of vital nutrients. During fall, it’s important to fertilize the lawn with an all-purpose fertilizer, such as 21-7-14. This is a mixture of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. The fertilizer can be applied up to two times throughout the fall season, once at the beginning and once towards the end. This will help make certain the turf stays healthy by getting the nutrition it needs. Any local hardware store or nursery will offer appropriate fertilizers.

Early September is also an ideal time to overseed the lawn. Overseeding is the spreading of seed over an existing lawn. This can help repair and fill in thin areas. Doing this early in the season will give the seed time to germinate, or sprout.

*It’s important to note, that a lawn experiencing weed growth should be addressed with a contact herbicide prior to applying fertilizer. Weeds can contribute to stealing the lawn of water and nutrients, so it’s vital to deal with this problem first. After the herbicide has been applied, wait at least one week to apply fertilizer. Another option is a Weed & Feed fertilizer that will take care of both of these tasks in one easy step. As always, it’s important to follow the application instructions on the package. For more information on common weeds found in the area, read our information on weed control.

Lastly, the extra boost of nutrients, combined with an optimal climate for growth, may result in rapid growth. The need for mowing will depend on this growth. A good rule of thumb to follow is the 1/3 rule. That is, do not mow off more than 1/3 of the grass blade. As temperatures cool further, and winter approaches, growth will slow, and mowing frequency may need to be adjusted.

If trees are near, and fallen leaves cover the lawn, these can be raked and removed, or broken up with mowing, proving as a useful mulch providing extra nutrients.

Cool season grass varieties typical of Washington lawns, like our Northwestern Ryegrass/Fine Fescue Blend and Elite Tall Fescue, thrive in the autumn months. Therefore, Fall is a great time to strengthen and prepare a lawn for the cold, wet Winter season approaching.