1. Fertilize. We recommend using a fertilizer with low phosphous (middle number) and a ratio similar to 3-1-2. EasyGro Premium Winterizer is our most popular, but Medina Organic Fertilizer also does a great job and there are a number of other options that do well. Stay away from products like 13-13-13 and 12-24-12 in the fall unless a soil test specifically recommends to do so.
2. Apply Pre-emergent Herbicide. Tired of weed problems every year, especially sticker burrs? Your best defense is to prevent the weeds from germinating in the first place. Products such as Amaze, XL2G, and Dimension are best applied in October in our area. For maximum spring weed prevention apply pre-emergents again in February.
3. Don't forget to water! A common misconception is that lawns don't need to be watered in the wintertime. While lawns require slightly less water in winter than in the heat of the summer, a dry winter is just as stressful. Moderate soil moisture protects against cold damage and helps the grass return sooner in the spring.
4. Watch for Brown Patch and Take All Patch/Root Rot. These common fall lawn diseases can take a toll and leave your yard looking bare. Early detection and treatment with fungicides can be very effective, so come see us for a treatment recommendation as soon as you notice signs of disease.
5. Mulch lawn clippings & leaves. Mulch/chop leaves and clippings then lightly spread them across your lawn for added organic matter and to improve soil moisture retention.
6. Aerate. If possible, use an aerator to help loosen soil and counteract compaction.
7. Be careful not to scalp. Set your mower deck height to about 2.5" for St. Augustine or 1.5" for Bermuda. Cutting grass too close leaves it more susceptible to drying out, insects, and disease.
Because of cooler temperatures, fall is also the best time to lay new St. Augustine sod. Bermuda grass seeding can be done up until September.