Seeds germinate fast when the soil is already nice and warm, which makes late summer a good time to rejuvenate lawns and plant fall vegetable crops of spinach, lettuce, peas and kale. Or plant a new tree.
As the season winds down for summer crops (sweet corn, pepper, tomato, etc.) we should not let our guard down on fall crops such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprout, kale, etc. These crops are on still actively growing and need attention when it comes to pest management.
After a relatively warm and dry mid-summer, rainfall returned to the state during the last weeks of August into early September. Warmer than normal conditions are expected to continue across the state during September.
Adam Thoms of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach answered all your questions about how to tend to your lawn this fall.
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What is the best strategy for weed control as fall approaches?
A healthy lawn this the first and best strategy. Strong competition from healthy turfgrass will help more than anything against weeds. Fertilizing the yard with 0.75 to 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet now, and again in early November will help give the turfgrass the nutrients it needs for optimal growth and health. Also making sure bare spots in your yard have seed in them will help to fill in areas of the yard that otherwise could be open for weeds to invade.
What are some characteristics of a good herbicide to use in the fall?
Fall herbicides should focus on broadleaf weed control. We suggest spraying for these weeds after the first frost. When selecting a broadleaf herbicide, make sure it has at least 2-3 different chemicals. The reason we want different chemicals is that some chemicals work better on certain broadleaf weeds than others, so getting 2-3 chemicals in the tank will help with better broad-spectrum control. The fall is not the time to treat for crabgrass, this is a summer annual and the frost will kill crabgrass. It will germinate again next April to May so do not worry about it until the spring.
What weather conditions should we apply herbicides in?
You want to apply herbicides when there is little to no wind, the temperatures are less than 80 degrees, and there no rainfall in the forecast for at least a day. If you are using a granular weed and feed product you will want to apply this right after it has rained or after a heavy dew. These products only work if the leaf tissue is wet, as the product has to stick to the leaf.
Is fall a good time to aerate the lawn? What is a good strategy for lawn aeration?
The fall is the best time to aerate a yard, September and October are better than November to aerate because it allows the yard some recovery time. The best aeration is to use a machine that pulls a plug, and go at least two different directions over the yard.
Can we still use grass clippings for composting and mulch even if they have been treated with fertilizer and/or herbicides?
Always read the label to see if you can use the clippings. The label will tell you if it is safe to use the clippings or not.
Can raked leaves be used for composting?
Raked leaves can be mulched up and returned to your yard as extra fertilizer, I have seen piles as high as 18 inches mulched into the turf. Make sure you chop the leaves up fine enough that they fall into the canopy and do not sit on top of the turf and smother it. This may mean mowing the yard two or three times if you have a bunch of leaves on the yard.
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Nuts produced by trees and shrubs in short supply after killing frost last May. Birds including bluejays, ducks and wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, fox squirrels and many other creatures rely on hard mast from trees and shrubs to build up energy reserves for long winter days or fuel their migration to warmer climates.
Our tree leaves are coming down, but don’t throw them away - put them to work for you. We’ve talked about creating a traditional compost pile in the past, but if you only have a small amount of yard waste consider bag composting.
Fall is a great time to improve your yard and get a head start on having a great yard in 2017. Now is the time to apply fall fertilization and broadleaf herbicide applications.
Accidental invaders are insects that inadvertently enter homes and buildings from the surrounding landscape. Many species are troublesome during late summer and fall as they move to protected locations to spend the winter.
As the leaves change and colors of fall become more beautiful, it is also the ideal season to complete turfgrass maintenance practices. It is the most important time to focus on cultural practices of mowing, aeration, fertilization, and seeding. The work you do now helps your lawn recover from summer stresses and prepares it for another long Iowa winter. This article will provide the necessary steps to ensure a healthy lawn through the fall months and next spring.
Fall is the time of year when unwelcome pests look for shelter for the winter. It is a good time to check your home and outbuildings on your acreage to discourage pests from taking up residence.