Lawn Care Basics
Fall is the Best Time to Seed and Feed
Fall isn’t just for pumpkin spice and picking apples. It’s also the best time to seed and feed your lawn.
Why Seed and Feed in the Fall?
Wondering when to plant grass and fertilize your lawn? Fall is the best time. The autumn season comes with a mix of warm soil and cool air, perfect for planting grass seed and allowing time for new grass roots to develop before winter sets in. It is also a good time to fertilize to build stronger, deeper roots for winter, resulting in a thicker, greener lawn next spring.
Depending on your lawn’s condition, here are a few simple ways to take advantage of ideal fall conditions for seeding and feeding.
Repair Bare Spots
Summer brings a lot of activity to your lawn, so by the time fall rolls around, it’s safe to say that it probably has a few bare patches from pets, foot traffic, and kids playing. That's another reason planting grass in fall is a good idea. It's easy to give your green space a little TLC by patching up those bare spots.
Using a hand rake or other tool, loosen the top layer of soil to give the new seed a better chance to nestle in and begin to build strong roots. Next, apply Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch and Repair over the entire bare spot, following label directions. This combination of high-performance seed, absorbent growing material (to help keep seeds from drying out), and continuous-release fertilizer guarantees grass that will grow anywhere (given to proper care). Just be sure to choose the right seed for your grass type.
Finally, give the newly seeded patch a deep and thorough watering (stop if you see the water start to puddle). In order to keep the seeds hydrated so they can grow to their full potential, the patch will mostly likely need to be watered daily, or whenever EZ Seed® begins to turn light brown. Try to keep kids, pets, and lawn mowers off the newly planted seedlings until they are at least 3 inches high.
Overseed a Thin Lawn
If your cool-season lawn seems thin, fall is a great time to thicken it by overseeding before winter arrives. Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn™ is specially designed to turn weak, thin grass into a thicker, greener lawn. It combines grass seed, fertilizer, and a soil improver into an easy-to-use product that’s applied using a spreader.
To overseed your lawn, first, set your mower to one of its lowest settings so you can cut your grass to a height of 2 inches or less, and bag the clippings. Next, rake the lawn to remove any dead grass and debris and loosen up the upper layer of soil so it will be easier for seeds to take root once they’ve sprouted. Fill and adjust the spreader according to the instructions on the product package and apply as directed.
Be sure to water regularly. Be sure to keep the soil surface moist by watering each day, or as needed, until the seeds are established and the new grass has grown high enough to be mowed (about 3 inches). For more information on overseeding your lawn, check out our Thicken Your Lawn by Overseeding infographic.
Feed Your Lawn
The difference between a "so-so" lawn and a truly beautiful lawn, both now and next spring, is the one-two punch of a pair of fall feedings. Fertilize your lawn in early fall and again 6 to 8 weeks later with Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® Fall Lawn Food. Not only will it help build strong, deep grass roots for a thicker, better lawn come spring, but it also provides nutrients to help repair damage from summer heat, drought, and activity. If you have a St. Augustine, centipede, or zoysiagrass lawn and you’re also battling dollarweed and fire ants, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Triple Action for your first fall feeding. It’s formulated to feed the lawn, plus kill lawn weeds and kill and prevent fire ants. Use a spreader to apply the fertilizer to your lawn on a calm day with very little wind. Be sure to follow label directions. (To learn more about feeding, check out our article: How to Fertilize The Lawn.)