Brown lawns still need care

Wednesday, October 8, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:46 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

As the leaves change color and begin to fall, many Columbians are more than ready to leave lawn care behind. However, experts say the next several weeks are actually the most important to resurrect and prepare your lawn for next year.

Despite the rain earlier this month, many Columbia lawns are still suffering from the dry summer. Brad Fresenburg, the extension research associate for MU horticulture, said now is the time to examine your lawn for drought damage and to determine what needs to be done to prepare it for next year.

Lawn renovation usually includes reseeding with cool seasonal grasses, such as fescue and bluegrass, and fertilizing. The best time to reseed, Fresenburg said, is between Labor Day and mid-October.

“Many people feel that seeding in the spring is a better time,” he said. “But that is a misconception.”

Charles Paxton, assistant superintendent for landscape services at MU, said the most common type of grass found on a homeowner’s yard is turf-type tall fescue, which responds well to fertilization in late summer and early fall. Paxton recommends applying fertilizer once a month in September, October and November.

“The grass needs to be rejuvenated, and you need to do that this time of year,” Paxton said. “It helps develop a strong root system so you’ll have a good lawn next spring.”

Paxton said reseeding and fertilizing in the fall will provide good results for homeowners next year.

“If people would follow that, they could grow a good lawn in Columbia,” he said.

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