Labor Day is “Time-To-Think-About-Your-Lawn-Day”
Late summer into early fall is the perfect time to grow grass. With the cooler nights and shorter days, weed growth is beginning to slow, which provides less competition for grass.
With proper cultural practices and the three simple steps below we can help you build a lush, safe, chemical-free lawn:
1. Core aeration and over-seeding
Doing this around Labor Day affords the greatest opportunity for grass seed to germinate and get established before going dormant for the winter. Newly established grass will then begin to flourish again in the spring well before noxious weeds emerge, gradually crowding them out. High quality tall fescue seed blends are the most disease and pest resistant, and drought tolerant for our region.
Core aeration breaks up compacted soils and allows oxygen and water to get down into the root zone. It also provides good seed-to-soil contact for the most effective germination. The soil plugs removed in the process break down in a couple weeks with rain and mowing, returning important organic matter back to your lawn.
Use a blend of slow-release, organic nutrients that supplies nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and apply any additional supplemental amendment indicated by a quality soil analysis. Your lab report helps us determine the proper type of lime and micronutrients to apply, when necessary.
For example, while calcium helps loosen soils and aids in nutrient uptake, magnesium pulls soil particles tighter together. The latter is helpful in sandy soils, but not necessarily desirable for the clay soils in our area. So only apply dolomitic lime if there is also a magnesium deficiency as well. We can’t over-emphasize the importance of soil testing!
3. Help build active soil biology and a healthy Soil Food Web
You can do this by applying actively aerated compost tea to build beneficial soil microbes. Synthetic fertilizers and chemicals actually annihilate soil life. High populations of beneficial bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes help break down organic matter and nutrients into a form that can be absorbed by plant roots and feed your hungry turf. Additionally, large numbers of beneficial microorganisms help “outcompete” pathogenic microbes and pests naturally.
We brew our actively aerated compost tea using careful guidelines to maintain high dissolved oxygen levels and evaluate it using our 400-power microscope to ensure effective levels of active, beneficial microbes.
For more helpful Organic Turf Management Tips, visit:
Happy Labor Day from all the staff at Organic Plant Care LLC!