Fertilize Your Lawn Before the First Frost

Fertilize Your Lawn Before the First Frost

Seasonal temperatures play an important role in helping to strengthen your lawn and garden. The spring and fall months are a perfect time to prepare your grass and plants for the harsh weather ahead. One of the ways to help ensure your yard looks its best in the spring is to fertilize your lawn before the first frost, while grass root systems are storing up reserves for winter. If you fertilize the lawn now, your grass gets the nutrients it needs before the ground freezes.

Fertilizing Lawns in Fall

The area in which you live and the type of grass growing in your yard determines the best time to fertilize your lawn. There are two main types of grass:

Cool-season grasses. They love the cooler weather, and so they peak in the early fall. It’s the best time of year for fescue, bluegrass, and rye. Fertilize this grass in late August or early September, about six weeks before the first frost. When it starts to get even colder, around October or November, apply winterizing fertilizers. This type of fertilizer is usually higher in potassium which increases hardiness to help grass survive the winter.

Warm-season grasses. They thrive in the warmer weather, so the fall is when Bermuda, zoysia, and centipede grass start to go dormant and turn brown after the first freeze. These grasses don’t need to be fed in fall, unless you live in an area that doesn’t get frost. You don’t want to stimulate any growth while they’re going dormant. Instead, wait until the spring to bring them back to life.

Tips to Fertilize Your Lawn

Whenever you’re fertilizing any lawn, it’s best to do so on a cool day and to water the fertilizer into the ground so it reaches the roots. Don’t overdo it. Too much fertilizer can burn your lawn. This especially holds true for newly seeded areas, so be sure to avoid those spots or cover them. A slow-release fertilizer formula provides optimal results over time. Always follow the instructions on the package to ensure you’re applying the right amount at the right time.

For any questions about fertilizing your lawn, or assistance with maintaining your yard, contact the Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone].

Prevent Weeds Starting in Fall

Prevent Weeds Starting in Fall

Do you feel like you spent summer waging a war on lawn weeds, but lost the battle? Good news! Fall is the right time to prevent weeds from taking over in spring and summer, especially the more invasive ones. Getting ahead of the weed war in fall saves you time, money, and a lot of frustration come springtime.

Why Is Fall the Best Time to Prevent Weeds?

Perennial weeds are still active in early fall and are hard at work absorbing the energy needed to get through the long winter. Nutrients are absorbed into the plant leaves, then travel down the stem and to the root systems. It is because of this process that these pesky plants are most vulnerable this time of year. Just like the nutrients, any applied weed killer will easily reach the roots, thus eliminating the entire weed so it won’t come back to haunt you in the spring.

Understanding Weed Control Terminology

The timing is right, so what’s next? A weed or two is easy to pull by hand, but targeting an invasion or a larger area may require a chemical application. And it helps to know the terminology when finding the right product for the job.

Herbicide. A toxic chemical substance that kills or prevents weeds from growing. Herbicides are classified in two categories: selective and non-selective. These chemicals have three characteristics: persistence, or how long the herbicide is effective; mechanism of action, or how it accomplishes the task; and method of uptake, or how the plant absorbs it.

Sometimes called total weed killers, non-selective herbicides kill on contact any plant they touch. Therefore, use them carefully and only for spot treating. This type of herbicide is often used to clear the ground for the construction of commercial properties.

Selective herbicides are designed to kill a particular weed. For example, a selective herbicide may only target broadleaf weeds.

Pre-emergent herbicides are a preventative measure. They are applied to the lawn in spring and fall to stop seeds from germinating.

Use post-emergent herbicides on already existing weeds. They are best applied in the fall while the weed is still actively growing and in the process of storing nutrients for winter. This product usually kills the entire plant on contact.

Call the Experts

As with all chemicals, be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully and always wear protective clothing and gear. Consult an expert if you have any questions. A thorough, year-round maintenance program is required to prevent weeds. If you are short on time or patience, we can help. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone].

Five Common Fall Pests & How to Prevent Them

Five Common Fall Pests & How to Prevent Them

Colorful leaves, football, and relief from summer heat makes fall a favorite season for many. The cooler weather means more time spent indoors to stay cozy and warm. Unfortunately, other creatures want a warm place to spend winter and you’re home could be their next destination. Here are five fall pests that often end up as uninvited guests.

Bees, Wasps & Other Stinging Things

By late September into early October, wasp and bee queens set out to find shelter for the colder months. Logs and hollowed trees are prime real estate, but they also find ways into attics, sheds, garages, and underneath roof eaves. Be extremely careful removing any nests you find. Better yet, call in an expert.

Ants

Ants head indoors as the weather turns cooler in search of food and shelter. Carpenter, pavement, and odorous house ants are the usual suspects that can set up colonies in walls, crawl spaces, and crevices. While carpenter ants are capable of damaging a home’s structure, other ants get into our food and become a nuisance. Once these colonizing creatures get inside, they are hard to get rid of unless you locate the nest.

Stink Bugs

The smelliest of the fall pests, stink bugs set up shop inside homes and other structures once the weather turns cooler. If stink bugs enjoyed the warmth and comfort of your home last winter, chances are they left an invisible chemical trail to lead their rancid relatives to your home.

Spiders

For the most part, spiders are harmless and help keep the pest population down. They eat many common household pests, including disease carrying insects like mosquitoes, cockroaches, and flies. Still, these creepy creatures are not a welcome site in homes, especially the venomous ones. All spiders can bite if provoked or in self defense, but only a few are dangerous.

Rodents

Not all pests are insects. Mice, rats, and other rodents like warm sheltered places in the winter, too. In houses, they like walls, closets, crawl spaces, and attics. They’ll even make nests in attic insulation. Rodents have a reputation for getting into food containers. But these pests are also dangerous because they chew through wires, carry diseases, and often bring along other pests such as mites and ticks. How can you tell if you have a rodent problem? Gnaw marks on wood, wires, and walls, as well as droppings on floors and other surfaces.

How to Keep Fall Pests Outside

  • Caulk or seal up cracks and crevices around foundations, doors, and windows, plus near piping and wiring.
  • Store food in airtight containers, wipe off counters and tables, and vacuum regularly to remove any crumbs.
  • Fix moisture problems like leaky pipes and use dehumidifiers in damp basements.
  • Place screens on chimney openings and vents.
  • Repair damaged window screens.
  • Dispose of trash and recycling in sealed receptacles.
  • Replace loose weather stripping around doors and windows.
  • Outside, make sure plants, bushes, and branches don’t come in contact with siding, foundations, or roofs. Better yet, create a foot-wide gravel or stone border around your home.
  • Keep stacks of firewood away from the house and only bring in logs as needed.
  • Get rid of clutter indoors and out, where pests can hide and call home.

We hope these tips help keep fall pests from becoming unwanted guests in your home. If you suspect a pest infestation in your home or wish to take preventative measures, contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll help you stay pest-free all year round.

5 Tips for Fall Lawn Care

5 Tips for Fall Lawn Care

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end to maintaining your yard, especially if you want a lush lawn come spring. Fall lawn care plays a vital role for healthier grass during all seasons. Discover tips to keep your turf in top shape now.

1. Keep Going with the Mowing

Don’t stop mowing your lawn when summer ends. Lawn maintenance, like mowing and watering, should continue until early winter or when the grass stops growing. As autumn comes to a close, make your two last mowings shorter than usual. Taller grass is more likely to be damaged by the weight of leaves and snow. Allowing some sun to reach the soil helps keep things dryer and grass is less likely to be susceptible to moisture-loving diseases.

2. Fertilizing and Fall Lawn Care

September is the perfect time to start strengthening your lawn by fertilizing. Feed the grass once early in the month and again in a month or two and your lawn benefits beautifully. Grass that suffered from heat, drought, and other stresses over the summer gets the nutrition it needs now to grow deep roots and survive during winter.

3. Making Raking a Priority

Many people wait to rake the lawn until the end of fall to avoid repeating the chore. But it’s better for the grass if you remove leaves more often. Rain and morning dew create a carpet of damp leaves that not only smothers grass and blocks out sunlight, but is also a breeding ground for fungal diseases.

4. Aerate

Thatch, a buildup of dead grass and debris, prevents light, water, and nutrients from reaching the lawn’s roots if the layer becomes too thick over the summer. In fall, check that the layer is under an inch. Aeration is a process that breaks up thatch and soil that’s been compacted over the high-traffic months. By creating a series of holes in the lawn, oxygen and nutrients reach the root systems better. It’s good to aerate before fertilizing to optimize the intake of nutrients.

5. The Need for Seed

Seeding bare spots or overseeding an existing lawn gives grass the entire winter to grow deep, strong root systems. In fall, the ground is still relatively warm, but the sun isn’t as hot. Roots develop more slowly, creating a stronger, denser, healthier lawn in spring that is better equipped to ward off weeds.

Let Us Help You with Fall Lawn Care

To ensure each step is done at the right time and to alleviate the challenges of renting and handling heavy equipment, let a pro tend to your fall lawn care. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at [phone], and we’ll work on your lawn now so it flourishes beautifully in the future.