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Timely Tips Newsletter
October 2010
In This Issue
Don't Miss Fall Fertilization
Autumn Garden Tips
After Seeding in the Fall
Winterizing Your Lawn Mower
pumpkin display
Don't Miss Fall Fertilization Time!
The best time to apply a fall fertilizer is in late October to early November. As growth above the ground slows with the shorter days and colder temperatures, food from fertilization begins to be used for root development and carbohydrate storage, (think of it as a savings account for nutrients for grass), rather then for growth. There are many benefits from this, increased density, increased root growth, decreased spring mowing, improved fall to spring color, decreased summer weed problems, increased drought tolerance and decreased disease incidence. Fertilization this fall will definitely improve you chances of maintaining a quality lawn during any drought that may arise in the summer of 2011. My Jonathan Green Winter Survival is an excellent choice, and is ideal to use after a Fall seeding. My Jonathan Green Green-Up is a great alternative if you are looking for a fertilizer that is phosphorus free. As always, it is always a good idea to include Jonathan Green MAG-I-CAL with your Fall fertilizing. MAG-I-CAL will adjust your soil's pH, increase earthworm and microbe activity, and reduce stress of the grass plants; all of which will help any fertilizer you use work more effectively.

If you are following an organic lawn care program, there are a few options for Fall fertilizing. My Jonathan Green Organic Lawn Fertilizer or Jonathan Green Natural Beauty are excellent fertilizers. MAG-I-CAL can also be used in conjunction with either one, as it is all natural. You may also consider mulching the leaves you rake and applying them to your lawn; they won't contribute to thatch and they act almost as another fertilizer application for the turf.
Autumn Gardening
There are still things to do for your garden in the Fall. This is an ideal  time for shrub and tree planting. You should plant evergreens roughly six weeks before the first hard freeze, but deciduous plants can be planted anytime the ground isn't frozen, even during the winter months. Nourish your new plants with my Jonathan Green Lawn-Tree & Shrub Care, which encourages healthy, vigorous plant growth and dense foliage.

Remember to water your landscaping plants, dry cold is harsh for them. When watering during the winter, remember to disconnect the hose from the faucet when you're done to prevent freezing. You don't want to cause your pipes to burst!

In the fall, pull mulch away from the base of plants to prevent water from pooling there, this could potentially cause rot. This is especially important for woody plants, because it will discourage hungry rodents from burrowing under the mulch and chewing on the bark.

Take care of gardening tools before storing them for the Winter. Apply a light coating of oil on the metal surfaces of your tools and rub boiled linseed oil on wooden handles.

The days are cooler, the leaves are changing, Fall is in full swing! There is still plenty to do for your lawn!
After Seeding in the Fall...
patio in the fall

If you seeded this Fall, you're not done with lawn care yet! Thanks to tropical storms, we experienced heavy rainfall at the end of September. You should check on your germinating seedlings to see if there are bare spots from rain washing away the seed, and re-seed any of these bare spots you find.

Wet leaves can smother a new lawn or seed, and the blocking of sunlight can slow, stop or kill the new seed from maturing. Therefore, it is very important to rake your lawn.

Mowing is extremely important  to manage the vigor of your grass and its ability to compete against weeds. In the fall, the best results are obtained by mowing at the highest setting on your mower, the grass height should not be less than 1.5 inches tall. This will help insulate the grass during the winter. When grass is cut too short, the growth of the roots and the plant comes almost to a complete stop until the leaves can recover. This places a huge amount of stress on the plant. When the grass is mown at its correct height however, the roots can keep growing and the grass thrives. A sharp mower blade is also an important aspect of getting the new lawn off to a good start. If the blade isn't sharp, it won't make a clean cut and will rip and tear the grass. This injures the grass plants, making them an easy target for diseases and pests to attack.

Weeds are getting ready for next year, winter weeds are germinating now. After about the third mowing or approximately one month after your grass seed germinates, you need to address crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. Cooler fall temperatures make it great time to handle the weed populations. Apply a pre-emergent weed killer, like my Jonathan Green Crabgrass Preventer plus Green-Up. If you are following an organic lawn care program, apply my Jonathan Green Organic Weed Control. Combating the weeds now will greatly reduce your weed problems next Spring and Summer.

Winterize your Lawn Mower
End-of-Season Care can Lengthen the Life of Your Lawn Mower
close-up of lawn mower
  1. Empty the fuel tank and keep it empty until you're ready to use it again next Spring. The easiest way to empty the fuel tank is simply to run the mower until it's out of gas. Leaving gas in the tank can gum up engine parts and make the mower difficult, if not impossible, to start next spring.
  2. Disconnect the spark plug before continuing work on your mower for safety reasons.
  3. If your mower has an oil tank, empty that too.
  4. Turn the mower on its side. Hose it down to soften dried grass and dirt; use a stick to scrape off any stubborn materials. Scrub with a soft brush and hot, soapy water to remove greasy matter. Rinse, and allow to dry thoroughly.
  5. While wearing gloves, use a small piece of steel wool to remove any rust.
  6. Remove the mower blade and either sharpen it yourself or take it to a professional sharpener.
  7. Clean or replace the air filter.
  8. Refill the mower's oil tank with fresh oil.
  9. Check your lawn mower maintenance manual for other suggested season's-end care.
The BEST thing you can do for your lawn next Spring is what you do for your lawn NOW!

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Jonathan Green

P.S. Check out these links for more great tips:

Jonathan Green Articles
Fall Gardening Checklist from Petitti Garden Centers
ACE Hardware Lawn and Gardening Advice
Planting Fall Bulbs with Sid's Greenhouse Landscaping

  Jonathan Green Products