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Fall Lawn Care

By Dave Epstein | July 23, 2010

As the weather cools, the grass can green up just like it did in the spring. Fall is a great time to start a new lawn or work on an existing one. As New England is north of the Mason-Dixon line most grasses that grow here are cool season grass.

Common cool season turf grasses include:



Fescues; and


In the Fall you should:

Apply organic herbicides to broadleaf weeds use synthetics only when absolutely necessary and follow instructions.   Get your soil tested. This is an important step. If you need to reduce acidity, apply lime now. If alkalinity needs to be reduced, apply sulphur.   Remove excessive dead grass known as thatch. You can rent an aerator or dethatcher to help with this.   Remove leaves from the grass before winter as leaves can kill the grass if left as they get matted down under the rain and snow.

Here are my three top subjects with regard to lawn care.


Fertilization; and

Setting lawn mower height correctly.

Water the lawn if mother nature does not provide enough natural rain. You can start lawns three weeks prior to the date of the average first frost. If the nights are consistently below 40 degrees and the days below 60 degrees the grass will germinate For cool season grasses apply one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn early in the fall. Do not apply after the grass has begun to go dormant.

I overseed my lawn each fall as I have a cool season grass lawn. I do this to strengthen the lawn for the following season. Be sure to water as the new seedlings need to be kept moist.

Lawn Mowing in the Fall

Cool season grasses can be cut no lower than 2½ inches. My rule of thumb is keep the lawn at 3-3½ inches in the hot months and 2½ inches during the fall and winter. I find that if my cool season grass is kept too long into the winter it mats down under the snow and causes damage and more snow molds.

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