The calendar may still say summer. But in Colorado, the thermometer will soon be saying fall-ish.

Daily highs will be getting cooler as daylight hours get even shorter. Have you noticed the cooler nights? Right now, average night-time low temps are 6 or more degrees cooler than they were on August 1st. Cooler night-time lows mean fall will soon be in the air and especially so, for the lawn.

Cooler nights combined with fewer hours of daylight slow lawn growth considerably. And that means after the Labor Day weekend heat wave, it will soon be time to crank down the water and slow down the mowing. Grass in fall mode needs less water and less mowing the closer we get to official start date of fall in three weeks.

Even with the grass slowing down, you still need to love your lawn a little longer this growing season with deliberate TLC. Do the following fall lawn activities and you will build a hardier lawn for the winter and a stronger come-back next spring.

  • Apply a final application of fertilizer. Using the same fertilizer formulation you used earlier this season is fine. But if you need to buy more fertilizer, look for one high in Nitrogen and Potassium because these minerals are good for the roots.
  • Core aerate the lawn before winterizing the sprinkler system. Aeration pulls plugs of soil and sod out of the lawn and these holes open the soil so that roots can take in maximum moisture during the winter.
  • Zap turf weeds. Here’s your last chance this year to get after turf weeds. Giving one last round of control will really pay off next spring in terms of fewer weeds at the start of the season.
  • Get expert help if you have had fungus or other turf disease or insect problems this summer. Cultural practices such as fertilization and aeration go a long way to maintain a healthy lawn that resists disease. But it’s still a good idea to get problems properly diagnosed so you know what to do now and maybe next spring to get problems under control for good.Labor day american flag
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