Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018
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Amy Stone

Give your lawn a holiday feast, too

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You are probably still working on those turkey leftovers. So get outside and get behind that fertilizer spreader to work off some of those extra calories. It is time to give your turf its last feast of the season.

Kelly-Heidbreder-1

Kelly Heidbreder

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Your lawn has slowed into dormancy for the winter, so you have four things to do before it freezes: seeding, core aerating, fertilizing, and a final mowing. Fertilizing and mowing are done yearly. Core aerating and seeding can be done if you are seeing some bare spots or some spots that have had lots of traffic over the years.

Did you know that a late-season slow-release fertilizer will make your lawn turn greener in the spring? You want to get this extra nutrition on the lawn after it has stopped growing but before the ground is frozen. The roots will store carbohydrates, kind of like a bear eating lots of food before he goes into hibernation. Those carbs will be ready to help your lawn green up quickly in the spring.

Slow-release winterizing fertilizer is what you are looking for. The first number will be high, and that means the bag contains mostly nitrogen. The second number is for phosphorus, which helps with root growth, and the third one is for potassium, which will give a plant’s flowers and fruits an extra boost.

Since we are concentrating on the blades of the turf, we want high nitrogen, so we need something with a high first number. You will need some food for the roots, too, so a typical slow-release winterizer might have numbers like 20-2-6 or 10-0-15.

Gourmet turf food

I like to give my turf a big serving of gourmet food. Instead of bagging up that last layer of leaves, keep mowing them into your lawn. Once they are finely mulched, they will filter into the root system for the grass and give the roots some nutrients for the early spring.

Other natural fertilizers like bone meal, fish blood, or chicken manure will help your turf. You will need to sprinkle it on your grass and rake it into the soil line for it to be effective on your lawn.

Last time to mow

If you haven’t done this already, it’s time to give that lawn its last mow of the year. It has stopped growing for the season and is ready to be put to bed. Put the mower deck down a little lower to cut the grass about 2 inches long. This will leave less space for disease to find a home on each of the blades during the winter.

Winter transition selfie

This transition time is a good time to take a picture of your garden.You should have taken one in early spring, another in the early summer, then late summer, fall, and now in the late fall. It might look pretty sad right now, but that’s the point.

If you are taking pictures from the same location each season, you can compare them and make plans for improvements during the planting season. Pay close attention to the structure and layers in the border. Do you have a focal point in each season? Do you have some kind of color as the garden goes through its transitions? Get that landscape map out and do some doodling over the winter months and save some money for that garden next spring.

Christmas is coming fast

The holidays are here, so take a look around your yard to see where you might be able to harvest some evergreen boughs. You might have a few trees or shrubs that need some shaping and the trimmings can be used as a winter decoration.

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at: getgrowing@gmail.com.

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