Anonymous asked in Home & GardenGarden & Landscape · 1 decade ago

I laid new sod in July, should I fertilize it this fall, and cut short for winter, will do this if it is best.

3 Answers

  • Karl
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The owner of the Sod Farm that I get mine from (Dwarf Tall Fescue in the Intermountain West) says that the grass needs fertilized at three key times of year. Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. The fertilizer he recommends is a 3-1-2 ratio (9-3-6, 27-9-18, etc.) with Iron. Bluegrass usually needs an additional feeding since it grows faster than Fescue, which is why I prefer not to use it. I hate mowing!

    Memorial day helps it get through the hot summers, Labor Day helps get it ready for the cold winters, and Thanksgiving gives it the needed boost to get started in the spring. Any other times and you're pretty much just wasting money since the grass doesn't really need it.

    Since Labor Day just passed, I'd get out there and get it down quickly.

    Oh, and as far as mowing before winter. DO NOT MOW IT REALLY SHORT! It is best to mow it normal (2.5"-3"), or if you live in an area prone to winter damage, slightly shorter (2") than usual for your last two cuttings before it goes dormant for the winter.

    Warm season grasses should be mowed slightly longer to prepare for winter.

    Each species has specific needs based on climate, so your best bet is to find a local sod farm and ask what is recommended for your particular grass.

    Source(s): Landscape Architect
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You can fertilize it lightly but I wouldn't cut it short for the winter leave as much leaf area as possible for good growth start next spring.

  • 1 decade ago

    The answer depends on where you live & what kind of grass you sodded. If it's a cool season grass like Kentucky Blue Grass or Fescue and you live where it freezes in winter you should fertilize now, but you best hurry. Grass needs to harden-off before winter comes and you don't want a lot of tender new growth when it freezes. The most important fertilizing application for a cool season grass is the one applied in the first two weeks of September. Timing of this application can vary based on where you live. Just be aware that this application must be applied at least 6 weeks before the turf in your area would normally go dormant. If it's a warm season grass then most likely its too late to fertilize now. Wait until the start of next season to fertilize your warm season sod.

    It's not the best practice to mow your lawn shorter in fall. Maintain your normal lawn length in fall until the grass goes dormant. It's better to make your first couple of cuts in spring your shortest cuts. This allows the sun to warm your soil quicker and stimulate spring green-up.

    Here is what the Universities of Massachusetts & Rhode Island says: "The most important means of preventing or reducing snow mold problems in lawns is the care of the grass at the end of the summer season. As long as the grass continues to grow, it should be mowed (i.e. don't let your grass get long). Fall fertility programs should be timed so that they do not influence the ability of the grass to become dormant for the winter season. Fall fertilizers should be applied more than six weeks before dormancy, or they should be applied after leaf blade growth has stopped but while the grass is still green. Addition of nitrogen fertilizer just before the grass becomes dormant will stimulate a late burst of succulent green growth, making the grass prone to winter injury caused by frost, ice or exposure and also providing the snow mold fungi with vulnerable host plants. This condition is particularly dangerous when an early snowfall occurs."

    Additional Details: Fertilization schedules, to be effective, should be tailored to your grass type AND your specific climate. Recommendations that do not take these issues into consideration can do more harm than good. If you live where you get snow in winter, it is never best to leave your grass longer than normal through the winter! This is what promotes snow mold. Finally, grass is a herbaceous perennial. It dies back to the ground at the conclusion of its growing season. It grows from the crown in spring. It is a fairy tale to believe that your grass will green faster because last fall's grass blades were left long and they will produce more food next spring. These blades are dead long before spring arrives. Last years grass blades (especially if left long) shade the soil from the sun's rays and delays the warming of the soil. It is the warming of the soil that triggers a grass to break dormancy and start its spring growth.

    Here is the advice of the University of Illinois on mowing height: "Before the grass begins to grow, in spring mow the turf slightly shorter than normal to remove dead blades and other debris. Be careful not to scalp turf during this initial mowing. Once turf begins active growth, mow at the proper height and frequency. The last mowing of the year should be at the normal mowing height. Turf should neither be cut excessively short nor allowed to become excessively long going into winter. "

    Here is what Texas A&M has to say about the practice of short mowing for early spring green-up of warm season grasses: "A more appropriate time to scalp warm season grass lawns is just prior to spring green-up. Drop your mower cutting height down to ½ - 1 inch and begin mowing. It is an excellent practice to remove old, dead plant material and to expose the soil to sunlight to warm the soil for quicker lawn green-up."

    And finally, here is what the University of Kentucky has to say about mowing cool season grasses shorter in early spring: "An early spring mowing will even-up the turf, mow off the dead brown leaves (last fall's leaves), and cause earlier spring green-up."

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