With the fall season quickly approaching (thank God), it is important to know how you can get ahead of next season’s woes, before they’re even close to being here. Fall, believe it or not, is the most important season to really attack your lawn, and set yourself up for success for the upcoming new year.
Here in the south, especially Georgia, Bermuda grass is abundant. It is in, around, and on nearly every residential property, commercial property, sports field, golf course, and concrete crack that exists. Bermuda grass is commonly used in our region of the United States because it is a drought tolerant, ornamental turf grass. Bermuda grass is a low maintenance turf in the south, compared to Zoysia, and Fescue, to name a couple. One of the main benefits of it, other than being low maintenance, is the fact that it has a dormancy period that usually begins in October, and runs through mid to late March. This means, YES! NO MORE LAWN CARE! Or at least for a few months. I mean, you still probably have to at least keep the leaves off, apply pre emergent, spread pine straw and mulch, plant fall/winter colors, prune seasonal plants, bulb separation….the list just never ends, you know this. If you have had a rough growing season, this is the time to get ahead of the upcoming year, and have yourself a beautiful lawn that will get everyone wondering…”How do they do that?”
End of Summer/Early Fall
Now is the time to aerate, and overseed your lawn. Sure, go ahead and throw in some slow release starter fertilizer, Find it here, and water it in well. You will want to do this before your lawn reaches it’s dormancy period (temps below 55 degrees for Bermuda). Be sure not to mow until at least 24 hours after these materials are applied, and watered in well. I would recommend mowing your lawn before you do this to allow time for everything to set up nicely. Later, during the month of October, go ahead and get one last lawn mowing in to get your lawn down to a minimal height. Bermuda grass thrives when it is short, well drained, and taken down 1/8″-1/4″ per cut. Your lawn care company should have already applied a pre emergent to prevent germination of cool season weeds.
This is the time where lawn care should be at a minimum for dormant Bermuda lawn owners. A minimum, not zero! If you are noticing some spotty groups of winter weeds here and there, it is fine to spot spray them with either a selective herbicide or a broad spectrum herbicide. There’s really not much to do with the lawn until you start getting closer to the beginning of spring, when you will apply another round of pre emergent, to prevent spring weeds that will interfere with your fresh lawn. Other than mulching up some leaves before your friends come over on Saturdays and Sundays for football, at this point, you got it made.
When your grass goes dormant, so do your seasonal plants, such as roses, hydrangea, vitex, crepe myrtles, etc. If you have any of these on your property, you will want to consult your local lawn care professional, or research how to properly prune each plant species. This will promote new, lush growth come spring time.
I always recommend to our customers, that they wait to request fresh straw and mulch until after the leaves have fallen to install fresh ground cover. If they live in a large neighborhood where trees are nearly non existent, then feel free to go wild with fresh color any time! The leaves obviously don’t cause any damage to your ground cover, but what you get is kind of a wasted opportunity for prolonged aesthetics during the cold months. Think about it: Your new pine straw or mulch is installed, and everything looks great again. But it’s only mid October, and pretty soon, all that new ground cover will be covered in leaves. When they are removed by rake or blower, there will be a mess. Your pine straw will be patchy, your mulch thinned. Capitalize on your investment, by timing it right!
With all this, you should have at least a tidy lawn going into spring. With the fresh pruning, and fresh ground cover, everything should be booming when it starts to bloom. You will be well prepared going into the new spring!