Fall Lawn Care
By William McCaleb Program Assistant for Agriculture & Natural Resources Many common lawn weeds are best controlled in fall. Some of these weeds are perennial, but many are winter weeds like henbit, chickweed, and bittercress that germinate in late summer and early fall, make a little growth, then stop for the coldest part of the winter. Then, then take off in early spring as the days get longer and the soil starts warming. They respond to herbicides very well at this time of year. While we suggest spot treating weeds with a liquid formulation to minimize herbicide use, a fall application of a ‘weed and feed’ fertilizer may be appropriate in some situations. There can be several advantages, which include the following: - fall is the preferred time to fertilize cool season grasses, so we are killing two birds with one stone, assuming there are enough weeds to justify a treatment. Again, spot treatment will many times take care of the weed problem. Remember that if you keep your turf cut high, you are denying weed seed the opportunity to germinate, lacking the sunlight needed. - some of these weeds will flower and reseed themselves in the early spring before we have a chance to mow or make a spring weed treatment. Again, use herbicides only where weeds are a real problem. An occasional weed isn’t a problem. A healthy stand of turf can keep the number of weeds at bay. - If you accidentally throw some ‘weed and feed’ granules into the flower or vegetable garden, the herbicide will break down before spring. - there is also less chance of injuring other ornamentals if we accidentally over-apply or spill some of the product.