Cool Season Grasses (Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Tall Fescue, and Fine Fescue):
- Mow at regular heights until growth stops.
- Apply lime if soil test indicates need.
- Fertilize moderately after cool days slow leaf growth (1 to 1 ½ pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft.) Nutrients at this time will encourage root growth and thickening of turf. Soluble nitrogen fertilizers are used more efficiently by turf in late fall; aerate now if needed.
- Late September is the best time for broadleaf herbicides, especially for perennial broadleaf weeds.
- Keep leaves from packing and smothering grass.
- Be sure turf goes into winter with moist — not wet — soil.
- Recondition lawn mower. Store mower with clean oil and empty fuel tank.
- Use soluble fertilizer or calcium chloride instead of salt for melting winter ice.
Warm Season Grasses (Zoysia and Bermuda):
- Most warm season grasses in Missouri need little to no maintenance at this time of year. As the air cools, these grasses will go dormant and yellow.
- Any sodding or plugging should be completed soon to ensure establishment before the cooler months.
- Excessive watering or fertilization may interfere with the natural hardening process before winter.
- Mowers should be set to ½ to 1” in preparation for fall. Clippings need not be collected if they do not remain as clumps on the lawn surface.
- A properly managed zoysia lawn is very competitive with weeds. However, winter annuals, such as chickweed and henbit, can be a problem when the grass is dormant. Weeds will also invade turf after it has been damaged or weakened by insects, disease or intense dethatching. Winter annual weeds are best controlled in the fall rather than the spring, when they bloom and set seed.
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