The summer has unofficially ended in the Montgomery County, MD and Washington DC area. When the days get shorter and the nights get longer in the fall it signals trees and shrubs to begin preparing for dormancy, but for grasses it signals a time to grow and fall is the best time of year to re-seed and fertilize your lawn. Fall is the most important time of year to fertilize your lawn to help establish a strong and healthy root system and for you to achieve the healthy green lawn you have always wanted.
Depending upon the type of grass you have, it is recommended to mow your lawn at 3″ to 3½” from mid-April through late-October. We recommend mowing your lawn at 2 ½” to 3” after October 31st.
It is very important to pick up and remove leaves that have fallen on your grass weekly. Fallen leaves can smother your lawn if left in place.
Use your leaves to make valuable compost for your gardens and planting beds.
The rainfall and temperature differences in the fall season in Maryland, DC and Virginia signal many plants to store water before they go dormant and this is a very important time to water your trees and shrubs although we experienced above normal rainfall in June and July, things have dried out significantly in August and September and many lawns in Howard County, Montgomery County and Washington DC are showing signs of moderate to severe drought stress. Many trees are dropping their leaves early because they are receiving enough water to hold onto them.
Lawns need to be watered daily for 15 minutes per section for 14 to 21 days after they have been re-seeded and normal watering for lawns and trees is twice a week for 45 minutes per section, depending upon your individual lawn.
You may need to adjust your watering to ensure that runoff is not occurring.
Fall is the most important time of year to fertilize your lawn. Fall fertilization stimulates healthy root growth and tillering, which will thicken your lawn and make it more drought tolerant.
Maryland has a new fertilizer law that goes into effect on October 1, 2013. This new law affects homeowners for the first time, so be sure that you understand how to properly fertilize your lawn before you buy any fertilizer.
Always follow the University of Maryland Guidelines for fertilizing your grass.
Fall is also the best time of year to re-seed your lawn. The recommended cool season seed types for the Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia areas are Improved Tall Fescues. There are many varieties and you should always read the seed label before you buy. Only buy pure seed with the highest germination rate.
Don’t be fooled by marketing slogans such as “guaranteed to grow”, you want seed that will survive.
While these simple maintenance practices can be done by homeowners, scheduling aeration and over seeding services can also bring many benefits to a lawn in the fall season. Complete Lawn Care offers aeration and over seeding services to our local Washington DC, Montgomery County, and Howard County customers and we are currently performing seeding and aerating services. Contact Complete Lawn Care to schedule aeration and over seeding services or click here to learn more.