Lawns Top Fall Planting List

Too many people in the North believe that lawn making is mainly a springtime activity and not many know that late summer is a very good time to come to the aid of an established lawn or build a new one. The weather is ideal for grass seed germination starting early in August in the far North and a week later for each hundred miles southward.

Mid-August is a good time to sow grass seed in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The days are growing shorter, nights are cool, temperatures are lower, dew and showers provide moisture, and weed seeds do not germinate. This last is a very important factor in favor of late summer and early fall grass seeding. The sprouting seed and young seedlings do not have to compete with weeds, a distinct advantage over grass started in spring.

Seed sown in August and early September will produce a good stand of grass that will not be in exceptional danger of winter injury. Seed sown after mid-September (in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area) will be susceptible. Each day’s delay in seeding after that date, increases the risk of injury.

Applying Fertilizer

The periods mentioned for seeding also apply to fertilizing. In August and early September fertilizing is especially beneficial because the weather again becomes favorable for good growth of grass after a mid-summer slump. An ample supply of nutrients should be available so that the best growth can be made. But fertilizing should be done not later than mid-September so that the new growth will have time to mature and harden before winter arrives. Late fertilizing makes the grass lush and soft and subject to winter injury.

August begins the fall planting season, a good time to plant evergreens and garden perennials. Weather conditions are as good as they are in spring and plants are in excellent shape for transplanting. This is the best time to grow coleus plants, peonies, irises, bleeding heart, baby’s-breath, lily-of-the-valley, and mertensia. These plants have made their growth for the season and have matured. They can be moved without interfering either with their growth or their flowering.

August also is the time to plant or transplant yearling biennials such as hollyhocks, sweet rocket, foxglove and canterbury bells. These have made their growth for this year; they will flower next year.

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