As we head into fall, everyone is thinking about their lawn. Depending on what type of lawn you are growing, it will determine when you plant or aerate. Cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses are completely different, and they can only be planted during a short window. Most homeowners have a cool season lawn which is made up mostly of fescues which generally slow down growing during the summer.

Fall is the ideal time to plant and aerate cool-season lawns. If you have tried to plant fescues in the middle of summer or the spring, they generally will die out. The ideal time to plant cool-season grasses is between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.

The fall is also the best time to turn in your soil to be tested. This test will ensure that you apply the correct amount and type of fertilizer. I feel like some people just throw fertilizer out and see how it goes.

You could either not be applying enough or just throwing money down the drain. A simple soil test will tell you what to apply and when to apply.

Watering the seed in will get it off to the correct start. It’s easiest to try and sow the seed when you know it is going to rain and do it before it rains. If we have no more rain the forecast, you will most likely have to go back every three or four days and water. You should see seeds start to germinate within 10-14 days.

After you have seeded the lawn, go back and rake it in or roll it in. This will help the seeds make soil contact. The top reasons that most seeds never germinate is not having contact with the soil or not getting watered at the correct times. By covering with straw or a biodegradable blanket, this will help keep the seeds moist and control erosion of the tiny seeds.

Aeration will help reduce compaction in your soils and improve drainage. For cool-season lawns, aeration is needed in the fall and early spring. This will allow the grasses time to recover before they are stressed from winter or summer.

As always, if you have any questions regarding any horticulture facet, feel free to contact Lucas Holman, Horticulture UT-TSU Extension Agent, Wilson County at 615-444-9584 or Lholman1@utk.edu.

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