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Lawncare tips for autumn

Temperatures remain warm in Hardeeville, but it is time to start thinking about autumn lawn care. Here are some tips to keep your lawn healthy during winter months and primed for new growth in the spring.

  1. Halt the fertilizing – The rule of thumb is to avoid applying nitrogen fertilizer after mid-August. Adding nitrogen promotes new growth, which is not what you want this time of year. You may consider applying lime or potassium if you have tested the soil. Studies show potassium may improve your lawn's cold tolerance.

  2. Raise the deck – Raise your mower deck by a quarter-inch to promote deep rooting when cooler temperatures arrive. Allowing longer grass helps acclimate the turf before the first frost.

  3. Water minimally – Continue to water your lawn at the rate of one inch per week. When cool weather pushes your lawn into dormancy, water as necessary to prevent the ground from drying out.

  4. Weed prevention – Applying a pre-emergent herbicide will help prevent unwanted growth of enemy grasses and weeds. The first application in September followed by a second round 8 to 10 weeks later will hamper unwanted growth. Apply the herbicide when daytime highs meet 75 degrees for four consecutive days. Granular herbicides must be watered into the soil soon after application.

  5. Control bugs and disease – Applying an insecticide before the first frost will eliminate insects that were missed during your summer application. A fungicide is necessary to control disease that may take over before winter arrives. Recovery will be slow in the spring if a disease is not kept in check in the fall. Look especially at areas where problems have previously existed and stay on top of the situation before the disease spreads.

  6. Rake those leaves – Orange, yellow and red leaves are beautiful in trees, but they can do damage to your lawn if they are not removed. Leaves on your lawn will stifle the grass and prohibit the blades from producing the carbohydrates needed for cold tolerance. Utilize the mulching attachment on your mower if you don't want to rake. The organic matter - in light layers - is beneficial.

  7. Don’t aerate – Soil compaction hinders cold tolerance however it is too late in the year for this type of maintenance. Put it on your spring to-do list.


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