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Late Summer Lawn Health

August 13, 2009

wedding locationI can’t take credit for this landscape OR the photo- it was taken where MJ and I were married in Vermont five years ago. There’s a lot to love about the shot: walking across the lawn are my two brothers, my sister-in-law, and two of my nieces, it’s a great example of what I mean when I discuss “framing” views in the landscape, it’s a beautiful setting, and it’s where we got hitched. It also illustrates the value a healthy lawn can bring to the landscape. Note that I said healthy, NOT perfect.

This is the perfect time of year to start thinking about how you’re going to build the soil and improve your turf’s health, so that next year you can have a beautiful and low-input lawn. Early fall (September-October) is an ideal time to work on your lawn, but if you wait till then to gather materials or start calling contractors, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Plan ahead!

So what can you do for your lawn in the fall? Odds are, it could stand at least a little improvement. Overseeding is good; aerating and overseeding is better. If you really want to build a lusher lawn, lay down some fine compost, aerate, and overseed. Most lawns don’t need nearly the nitrogen that the big fertilizer companies say they do; compost provides a good bit of slow-release nitrogen that’ll keep your lawn well fed.

If you want more tips, a good resource is Paul Tukey’s book, “The Organic Lawn Care Manual.” I won’t lie, it’s not a riveting read, but it’s packed with good information. Or, you can set up a consultation with your friendly, neighborhood landscape designer & garden coach, and you’ll get to learn more about compost and nitrogen than you ever thought existed! Either way, enjoy the cooler weather to come, and get outside and play.

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