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Ask the expert: Autumn lawn care

August 25, 2013

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Fall is approaching and this summer, with all the rain, has been kind to my lawn. What should I be thinking about doing as the seasons change?

Carrie Engel of Valley View Farms in Cockeysville says now is a good time to get rid of any perennial weeds. She recommends Crab-E-Rad. Then, in a few weeks when the weather is cooler, it will be safe to seed.

"Don't worry about the crabgrass," she said. "It's an annual and if you apply pre-emergent crabgrass preventer next spring, it will take care of it." But the summer rains have given the other weeds what they need to thrive.

Before seeding, consider aerating the lawn and using a dethatcher. You can rent the equipment, and it will help prepare your lawn for seed. Don't overdo it. The seed needs contact with soil to germinate. "A lot of people think twice as much seed is better," she said.

"It is the best single time of the year to feed your lawn. So if you haven't fed it since spring, do it now," said Engel. "September, October. The grass will really be taking off then."

Use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen but without phosphorus, to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

Continue to "mow high and let lie," she said. Let the grass decompose on the lawn to feed the soil.

And finally, buy spring bulbs now while the supplies are good, but keep them cool until late October and November, the best time to plant them.

Baltimore Sun Staff