Autumn is a time full of worries for the gardener. The huge list of seasonal work often includes the installation of lawns. In autumn, it is believed that plants are planted faster, easier to adapt to new conditions, and over the winter they have time to accumulate strength for further growth and development.
Indeed, this practice is widely used in horticulture, and on the question of whether you can sow a lawn in autumn, most often experts give a positive answer. However, everything is not so unambiguous. When deciding to sow lawns in the fall, you should take into account the climatic characteristics of a particular region: the timing of stable frosts, the average monthly rainfall and other weather factors.
Lawns in the South
In southern areas, September and the first half of October are considered the optimal time for planting a lawn. In the fall, young grass seedlings do not suffer from scorching heat and drought, they have enough heat and light, as well as the moisture that the ground is infused with during days of lingering rains. Before the first serious frosts, the grass has time to grow an extensive root system, store nutrition, and develop strong and healthy leaves. Having successfully survived the winter under snow or even without it, plants actively resume their growth, so that by summer the lawn looks fully formed and attractive.
In any case, before sowing the seeds you need to prepare the lawn thoroughly: either by loosening the soil, removing all garbage and weeds, or by replacing the existing soil completely with nutrient substrate. If there is not enough moisture in the soil, you should arrange sprinkling over the whole area of the site, combining this procedure with the application of fertilizers.
Lawn in the north
Does one plant a lawn in the fall in more northern regions? Absolutely! Of course, with adjustments for the climate. In the Center, in the North-West, Siberia and other regions with similar climatic conditions they sow grass “under winter”, using the popular winter crop growing technique. That is, the most favorable time for sowing seeds is early to mid-November, literally a couple of weeks before the onset of climatic winter. During this period, the soil is already very cold, even frosty, but there is no stable snow cover yet.
This method has its advantages. First, the seeds undergo natural stratification during the winter months, which is beneficial for their germination and the health of the seedlings. Secondly, spring in the north is usually prolonged, and the soil does not dry out for a long time after the snowfall, preventing the beginning of spring sowing. But if you have time to sow the lawn “under the winter”, friendly sprouts will appear in April, which by mid-summer will turn into a silky emerald lawn.
And one more question often worries owners of homestead plots: but is it possible to lay rolled lawns in the fall? Of course, you can! Moreover, autumn – the most favorable time for this method of creating a lawn, but regardless of the region, it should be done well before the onset of persistent frosts. In order for the grass roots to take root, you need to keep the soil moderately warm and damp for 3 to 4 weeks. If all the rules are followed when laying the lawn, during this time the grass will have time to recover from the stress, repair all damage, adapt and meet the coming cold weather in a calm, healthy state.
Basic lawn care measures in the fall
Every plant has periods of active growth, reproduction and dormancy. Lawn grass is no exception. In autumn, all vegetative processes slow down and the grass barely grows any more after mowing so as not to use up the nutrients accumulated during the summer. The coming winter can be a difficult test for plants, and the task of the gardener is to help them survive the cold without losses.
Even if the grass looks healthy and full of vigor outwardly, the following lawn care measures should be implemented in the fall:
- Sprinkler watering every 5 to 7 days during dry weather. Water the grass until October if the amount of natural rainfall is clearly insufficient. If there is a sudden drop in temperature, which is sometimes the case in northern regions, stop watering earlier.
- Autumn aeration is vital! Over the summer, the soil compacts a lot, especially with intensive trampling, and the roots may lack air. Well-timed aeration will help the plants during the long rainy season (moisture can escape more quickly from the surface of the lawn) and in the winter frost (the air will keep the roots from freezing).
- Fertilizing will additionally provide plants with nutrients, which will allow them to survive even a snowy and cold winter without losses. In autumn, only phosphorus and potassium fertilizers for lawns, which strengthen the root system, and do not use nitrogen fertilizers that stimulate the growth of above-ground parts of plants.
- Lawn mulching is done before winter sets in. Spreading a mixture of peat and sand over the soil surface will not only improve soil structure, but also provide a natural cover for the grass from the impending frost.
Autumn lawn growing problems
As for the lawn, its condition in the fall is a clear indication of how well or poorly it has cared for all summer.
Some external signs that indicate problems with the lawn:
- After mowing, the grass is shriveled up and won’t grow. This may have been caused by mowing the lawn too late and too low. Mow the grass for the last time in autumn – 2-3 weeks before frost sets in – so that the plants have time to grow a little. The height of the cut should be 1-2 cm higher than usual. If the lawn has not fully recovered by the spring, fresh seeds must be sown.
- Lawns turn yellow in autumn. First of all, the reason for the yellowing of the grass is a violation of the watering regime. Lack or excess of moisture is equally detrimental to plants. And if in the first case it is enough to organize abundant watering, the prolonged rains cannot be stopped, so for prevention it is necessary to aerate the lawn in advance.
- Grass becomes sluggish, loses its luster and richness of color, there are gaps. This can be due to a lack of nutrition and/or to an overgrowth of felt. In the first case, the grass is fed with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers, in the second – the mechanical cleaning of the soil surface from moss and plant debris is carried out.
Proper and timely care of the lawn in autumn will ensure its successful wintering and active grass growth in spring.