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Friday, November 1, 2013

Too late for some lawn T.L.C.? NO!

     In the best of all worlds, we'd  be done with fall chores like aerating, fertilizing and top-dressing our lawns.  But are we?  Maybe not, but it isn't too late!

     As long as you can give your grass a good, root-soaking drink beforehand, (and yes, that will probably mean dragging a hose around...), a deep core aeration now can still work wonders.  Removing two- to three-inch plugs of roots and soil will help your lawn in more ways than you can count. 

          The aeration holes will allow water and air down into our usually compacted soil.  That makes better use of any moisture Mother Nature decides to offer.  Whether you rake up the plugs or leave them in place is your choice.  Personally, I leave mine right where they land.   They contain nutrients!

     And for the record, aerating a lawn is much more productive and much less harmful than power-raking.  If you think your turf grass might have problems with thatch build-up, aeration is the perfect answer.  Introducing air and moisture into the thatch layer will help it decompose.  That's much better than trying to rip the thatch out with a power-rake, tearing up or damaging the crowns of many of the individual grass plants in the process.

And after we aerate...?

     Then we fertilize.  The fall/winter feeding is the most important "meal" you can give your lawn.  It gives the roots of the grass a helpful boost to get through the winter stout and strong.  And you'll see your lawn green up faster in the spring, too.  Always apply at the recommended rates and water it in according to the directions.

     One of our customers' favorite fertilizers at Tagawa's is Rich Lawn.  The "winterizer" formula is slightly different than the all-seasons product, but only slightly.  Any fertilizer you don't use now will be just fine to put down next spring, as long as it doesn't get wet between now and then.

And then are we done?
     Almost.  If you really prize a green, healthy lawn, you may be interested in another tip:
John, Tagawa's resident lawn expert (you'll find him at Dick's Corner....),  highly recommends a quarter-inch application of EKO Lawn Top Dressing.  It's a rich, dark, finely-milled compost.  The Top Dressing is too heavy to apply with a fertilizer spreader.  Just pour it into a bucket or wheelbarrow and "fling" it across the lawn..... kind of like feeding your chickens..... if you have chickens....  But that's another matter.

     Rake the top dressing lightly until it's evenly distributed over the lawn.  And then sit back and wait for a wonderful flush of green next spring.

And keep in mind....

     If all of this seems like a lot of trouble, remember this:  A healthy, well-rooted lawn is far more resistant to weeds, disease and drought.  The time and money you invest now can make your lawn, and your gardening life, a lot better down the road.