Fall lawn checklist to ensure you have green grass this spring


ST. LOUIS – The gorgeous St. Louis weather has been ideal for working in the yard. And before leaves start to fall, there’s a number of things we need to do to make sure our grass looks great come spring.

Customers of the Turf Plan have been stocking up on all their fall lawn supplies as now is the time to get going on that.

The very first item on your fall checklist is to know the square footage of your lawn if you don’t already. This ensures you know how much of each product to put down.
Next, line up your aerator.

“Either rent it or line up the service because we’re all busy right now. Once you have that lined up you’ll need to remember before you do it or someone else does it to mark your sprinkler irrigation heads and/or your electric dog fence. The aerator will mess up either one of those,” said Bill DiMercurio, owner of The Turf Plan. “After that buy your grass seed. We recommend a turf-type tall fescue. We’ve found that to be most tolerant of the Missouri temperatures.”

Make sure you buy the right amount of grass seed, which is about 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet of grass on average.

“If zero is this concrete and 10 is Busch Stadium, if you’re anywhere between a 3 and a 7, use 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If you’re between a 0 and a 3, use 10 pounds per thousand. If you’re a 9 or a 10, you’re probably already doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway,” said DiMercurio.

Then it’s time to aerate.

“Aerate, put some seed down. Aerate, put some seed down. Do that as many times as you feel fit. And just know that the worse your lawn looks when you’re finished, the better of a job you did,” DiMercurio said. “The more holes you put in the yard and the more plugs you get to smother over the seed as they dissolve in the rain or water, the higher your germination rate.”

After all of this, you’ll just need to water and be patient.

“By the end of September, don’t worry about it. You’ll see new seed. By Halloween, you’ll still be green and it’s coming up. By Thanksgiving, you’ll have all kinds of turf. By Christmas, you really won’t care and by Tax Day you should be happy,” DiMercurio said.

Next on that list is to fertilize at least twice this autumn, using a pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet of turf each time. Adding up to a total of at least 2 pounds of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet this season.

“So one now, one in mid-October and if you really want to be an overachiever, come back and see us in November for a winterizer,” DiMercurio said.

DiMercurio says all of these things, aerating, overseeding, and applying your first round of fertilizer can be done in one day. Also, don’t forget to water twice a day.

“If you concentrate on doing it correctly with the right amounts and pay attention to the details you’ll get lots of progress in one season no problem,” he said.

The window to aerate is typically from the last week of August through Oct. 15 on average, but this is also dictated by the weather. DiMercurio recommends getting this all done between Sept. 15 and 25.

If you have questions or need more details on this process you can sign up for their free newsletter at theturfplan.com.

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