Reseeding, fertilize, weed prevent for fall/winter?

xxnonamexxSeptember 6, 2013

I purchase Scott's winter guard fertilizer and weed crabgrass preventer as well as pennington grass seed. My back lawn gets a lot of shade and the grass is like hay so I plan on tossing new seed and fertilizer down soon. My front lawn I want to keep the weeds under control for next season. Any tips, suggestions on best easy way to apply? Is it too soon to apply for winter care and weed prevention for spring? I would just like to prep my grass for next spring with new seed and no weeds and green lol.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

It is getting to be too late, not too early. You can do it later for sure, but if you do it now, it gives you time to recover if you missed a spot or the seed doesn't come up for some reason.

I don't stay up to date on Scott's products. The way their website works when I get on, it knows I live in the south and I only get to see the southern lawn products. Crabgrass is a summer annual plant. It germinates in the spring. I can't imagine a preemergent herbicide that would last until next year and be effective. The weeds that are germinating now are typically wildflowers which have a very short life in the spring. Usually you can mow them off and you'll never see them again. Generally we tell people if you want a fertilizer, get a fertilizer. If you want a herbicide, get a herbicide. Mixing the two together sounds great in the commercials, but the application of the mix is completely different from anything else you ever use on the lawn. Many people get it wrong and are disappointed. It's practically a two-man job to do it right.

Your grass seed should be for shady areas. Otherwise you likely have the wrong mix of seeds.

The best way to keep weeds out is to make the lawn as dense as possible NOW and to water and mow properly NEXT SEASON. Seeding now is a good idea for everywhere your lawn is thin or weeds have grown in. Use an appropriate shade or sun seed for the specific areas they'll be used. I would not use a winterizer fertilizer yet. Save that for Thanksgiving. If you use something with the new seed, use a starter fertilizer and/or any organic fertilizer. Do the seeding now and water 3x per day for just long enough to keep the seed moist. Do not drench the soil 3x per day. It's more than a misting but much less than a drenching. Keep up that watering schedule for 3 weeks and then start to back off. Mow when the grass is 5 inches high. Mow it back to 4 inches (your mower's highest setting). Tall grass has deeper roots to make it through the winter and summer. Winterize about Thanksgiving time. Actually watch for the grass to stop growing. Then winterize.

Next season start off by watering deeply and infrequently. Deeply means one inch all at one time. Mother Nature will help you with this. If you get a full inch of rain, then don't water more. Infrequently means once a month when the temps are below 70 degrees, once every 3 weeks above 70, once every 2 weeks above 80, and once a week above 90. Mother Nature will help you with this, too. Basically the idea is to allow the soil to dry out completely at the surface before watering again. If you keep the soil surface moist, then all the crabgrass seed will try to germinate.

Mow at any height you like but at least 3 inches. I would say 4 inches, but others swear by 3. It's not that big a deal as long as you don't mow it low. There are only three turf types that should be low and yours isn't one of them.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 1:08PM
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Thanks for the advice. I have a huge area that the grass is like hay and I think I cut it too low. I will raise my mower to keep the grass higher. Since we are about to approach fall is it ok to do as you suggested? for 7a zone here in NY. I agree with you about the mixed fertilizer crab grass prevention. I bought the seed and the mixed winterize fertilizer crab grass since I have it I will use it in Nov as you suggested. I will apply the seed and starter fertilizer soon. My grass was just cut and is pretty low about 1.5-2in. I will raise my mower. So many things to read some saying raising is bad b/c it allows insects to thrice, ticks in tall grass, some say lower cuts weeds better.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:37AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Insects are not all bad. In fact most are good. I have two homes. At one the grass ranges from 12 inches high to 32 inches high. The only insects I see are scorpions, but everyone in this rural county has scorpions. Mowing lower will cut off weeds; however, some weeds love being mowed low. But it is certain that tall grass (except bermuda) is more dense and shades the soil. Weed seeds like sunlight and continual moisture to germinate. If you deprive the yard of both of those, then you won't have weeds to mow down.

I can show you picture after picture of yards mowed high and they don't have weeds or insect problems. Here is one of my favorites. It is a favorite because the guy knows nothing about growing grass. But he looks like a lawn genius simply because he mows high and waters deeply and infrequently. He rarely fertilizes and never uses weed killer.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:47PM
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What's he use? A foot tall grass is too tall I think I can see like 4 inches. I have to measure mine to see how low mine is.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:34PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

He fertilizes with free, used coffee grounds from Starbucks about 3 times per year when he remembers. His total cost is the cost of water and gas for the mower.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 10:29PM
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