Get your new lawn in shape for a strong start next spring

You’re about to spend your first fall and winter in your new Paragon home and you have a new lawn to go with it. This summer was a long hot one that challenged homeowners and their lawns alike. Brown spots popped up and the grass looked thin and unhealthy. How do you revitalize the grass so it will look like new again next spring?

Here are some important steps that you should do in September and October, the prime months for putting your lawn to bed for the winter.

Fertilize. Lawns need nitrogen to flourish. Choose a winterizing fertilizer that will help your lawn to develop a deep root system. You’re not growing grass now, but strengthening the system under the soil, which also helps control weeds and insects.

Aerate. Fall is a good time to do this and you can rent an aerator for a day at a reasonable price. Aeration improves the water movement, especially with our Missouri clay, and allows the roots to breathe.

Water sparingly. We’ve had some rain lately and that should be sufficient for the time being. Over watering a lawn causes more damage than under watering and can cause mildew.

De-thatch. For this job on a total lawn, you’ll need a dethatching rake. A good brisk raking will remove most of the worn-out grass and thatch so it won’t smother existing grass and roots. Depending on how much thatch you remove, it may be too much to leave for decomposition. Raking and composting the material may be a better way to go.

Brown spots. This past summer was a killer on lawns. Brown spots appeared and the grass looked dead. Sometimes that’s the way grass will try to protect the roots, and it goes into dormancy. If the brown spots haven’t greened up by now, the spots need a bit of help.

If the spots are small, use a rake to loosen the brown grass and work up the soil so the new grass seed can take root. This is called over-seeding, or applying grass seed to an existing lawn.

Larger patches may need a lot more work. Those areas should be re-seeded. There’s not much difference between over-seeding and re-seeding, except for the amount of ground covered. If you need to re-seed, consider having a professional lawn service come and do the job for you. They may cost a bit more, but re-seeding a huge patch of lawn is very intensive work.

Because of all the care you gave your lawn this fall, it will look spectacular next spring and just the right touch to show off your new home.

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