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Turfgrass care in Autumn

by gardengirl

Ok yard lovers, this one’s for you. Green grass is a thing of beauty but it does require some deliberate care to keep a lawn looking it’s best.  October 15 is the LAST time for the year to fertilize a lawn in the Austin area (Zone 8). Grass requires essential nutrients to be healthy.  Inadequate feeding of the grass results in greater problems with weeds, insects and disease, which then increases the need for various products to fight these nasties. Grass clippings left to decompose on the lawn or fertilizer can supply some of these necessary nutrients. The best way to determine what your grass may need is to do a soil test. Go to for detailed instructions on how to do this simple procedure. In addition to testing the soil, measure the square footage of your yard. While this can seem troublesome, it only needs to be done once.  This ensures that no more and no less fertilizer than the grass requires will be applied. In the long run this benefits your wallet, as well as prevents excess fertilizer build up in the soil and ultimate run off into our creeks and lakes. Typical annual nitrogen recommendations for lawns are between ½ to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet.  As we are coming up to the date of the last fertilizer application, if you haven’t tested your soil, apply fertilizer with a 4-1-2 Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (NPK) ratio. Make sure the nitrogen is in a soluble form, not time release for the fall application. A handy calculator to determine the amount of fertilizer you need can be found at


fall turfgrass