September is the best month for renovating a lawn after harsh summer weather.
Fertilizing the lawn in September is critical for developing healthy root systems, the best defense against the heat and drought of summer. Longfellow’s recommends applying a high phosphorus fertilizer in September, and a winterizer (high nitrogen) in November.
When reseeding, apply the grass seed at half the rate of a new lawn. It must be done by early October in order for the seed to germinate and grow enough before a hard freeze.
Organic matter is an essential component of a healthy soil, even for the lawn. Longfellow’s recommends Milorganite as a slow release organic fertilizer with iron. Though it only offers small amounts of OM, the benefits are obvious in the first season. Apply Cotton Burr Compost lightly to increase the OM levels of the soil.
The most important fall lawn activity is aeration. It allows air, water, and nutrition to penetrate deeply into the soil where the roots will benefit.
We recommend that these plants not be planted much after October 1 in central Missouri:
- Japanese Maple
- Azalea and Rhododendron
- Crape Myrtle
- Abelia and Nandina
- Roses (grafted only)
- Ornamental Grasses
- Small root balls, such as quart or gallon-size perennials
Success can be increased by attentive watering, the use of root stimulator and compost at the time of planting, and proper mulching.