• By Charlie Nardozzi

    If you live in a part of the county where you grow cool-season grasses such as fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass, then fall is the time of year to really focus on your lawn. Fall is a great time to fertilize, aerate, overseed, and topdress your lawn, getting it ready for winter and giving it a jump-start on spring. Here’s more information on each of these tasks:

    • Aerating: Lawn aeration involves creating small holes in your lawn that will let air, water, and fertilizer better reach the root system. It also breaks up compacted soil so your grass roots will grow better. You can use an iron rake to aerate small lawns or rent an aeration machine for larger properties.
    • Fertilizing: Most lawns will benefit from an application of a 3-1-2 (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) organic fertilizer in fall. This fertilizer will release slowly into the soil and help build strong, healthy root systems that will help the lawn overwinter well. Some areas have restrictions on adding phosphorus fertilizer because of runoff and pollution, so look for a low- or no-phosphate lawn fertilizer if you live in those areas.
    • Topdressing: Topdressing your lawn involves spreading a thin layer of compost over your entire lawn. This 1/4 inch deep layer is raked into the the lawn grass and slowly helps build up the organic matter and tilth of your lawn. Once again, it’s about creating deep, healthy roots that will feed the lawn grass in spring.
    • Overseeding: Overseeding your lawn with a grass seed variety similar to what is already growing helps create a thick, lush lawn without having to resort to chemical fertilizers. The thicker and healthier your lawn grass, the less likely weeds and pests will be to invade.

    Do these fall lawn chores in this order: aerate, fertilize, topdress, and overseed. If you perform these tasks each fall, in a few years your lawn will grow thick and lush without much extra work.