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weed and seed fall

But here’s the problem: Early spring probably isn’t the best time for you to fertilize your grass or apply herbicides unless you have a history of weed problems.

Trouble is, this assumes that you’ve got weed seeds in your soil ready to sprout. If you’ve been using pre-emergent herbicides regularly or otherwise doing a good job of controlling weeds and keeping them from going to seed, you may have exhausted the supply of weed seeds in the soil. If that’s the case, applying pre-emergent herbicides is like clapping your hands to keep the lions away.

And unless your weeds are running rampant, try spot spraying them in the fall instead of putting down herbicide over your entire lawn. That’s just one small step you can take for sustainability.

Other weed and feed products are designed for late-spring application. They contain herbicides designed to kill actively growing broadleaf weeds like dandelions. But if you want to kill broadleaf weeds, these herbicides are much more effective if you apply them in fall. At that time, the weeds are storing up reserves for winter and moving nutrients from the leaves to the roots. They move the herbicide to the roots at the same time, resulting in a better kill.

Then there’s the fertilizer. It should be mostly nitrogen, and I’ll admit that it can really green up the grass in a hurry. But it can also fuel lush top growth at the expense of roots, and you want those roots going deep for moisture so the grass can outcompete weeds during the hot, dry summer months to come. That lush top growth also means you’ll need to mow more often and deal with more clippings.

Use 2.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet

Do not apply to Bermudagrass lawns when daytime temperatures exceed 85 degrees F.

On established lawns without harming lawn grasses.

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Application on Bermudagrass may cause temporary yellowing or discoloration but full recovery can be expected.

Wild Onion and its relative Wild Garlic can punctuate a dormant warm-season lawn with bright green exclamation points. Eliminate these smelly weeds with post-emergent herbicide. Lawn Burrweed is a winter annual weed that sets spurred seeds in spring, making a lawn a painful venture for people and pets. Control this prickly weed with a fall application of a pre-emergent herbicide.

Apply anytime – spring through fall at temperatures between 50 degrees F and 90 degrees F.

Spray when weeds are small and actively growing when temperatures are below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, 85 degrees Fahrenheit for Bermudagrass.

In established fall lawns, weed & feed products help prevent cool-season weed seeds from germinating and emerging. In dormant southern lawns, emerged cool-season weeds stand out bright green against brown lawn grasses, which makes spot treatment easy. Effective post-emergent weed treatments, such as IMAGE All-in-One Killer, offers broad-spectrum fall control for difficult sedges, crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. IMAGE Kills Nutsedge, available in concentrate and ready-to-spray formulas, controls winter weeds in warm-season lawns, including Poa annua, also known as annual bluegrass, a troublesome annual weed common in Bermudagrass lawns.

Start fertilizing cool-season grasses about six weeks before the average first frost in your area. Fresh out of summer dormancy, these grasses benefit from added fall nutrition, which spurs new shoot, stem and root growth, and helps increase their food reserves. 1 September and October are prime cool-season fertilizing times for much of the United States.

Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fescues, flourish in northern regions with warm summers and cold winters. Cool, moderate, early fall temperatures send these grasses into their most active growth season, which is the ideal time for fertilizing and strengthening.

Fertilizing Warm-Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses often go dormant and turn brown during winter, leading many southern lawn owners to overseed lawns with a cool-season grass that provides temporary green color through the winter months. Overseeding should take place at least 45 days before your average first fall frost, so new seeds can establish before winter. 2 Fertilize newly overseeded fall lawns with a starter fertilizer such as Pennington UltraGreen Starter Fertilizer 22-23-4, which supports robust root growth and greening of the cool-season grass. Avoid using weed & feed products on newly overseeded lawns, as they may prevent germination of the new grass seed. Consult your local Cooperative Extension Service for current information on limits for lawn fertilizers in your region.

2. Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance; “Simple Tips,” October 2014.

Fall’s arrival brings changes in day length, temperature and precipitation, along with important changes in your lawn. Some lawn grasses and weeds begin to slow down and prepare for winter dormancy, but others kick into high gear. Feeding your fall lawn provides helpful nutrients to fight weeds and strengthen lawn grasses for the winter ahead. However, what and when to feed and how to manage weeds depends on your climate and the type of grass you grow.

Feed warm-season grasses their last feeding of the season six to eight weeks before the average fall frost date in your region. They’re still actively growing, but they’ll soon need to harden off and prepare for winter. Bermuda grass has higher nitrogen needs than some other warm-season grasses, so it can be fertilized up to four to five weeks before frost. 1 But don’t feed warm-season lawns any later. Fertilizing too late in the growing cycle can stimulate late-season growth that delays dormancy and makes lawns more susceptible to winter injury.