Ciscoe's advice for fall lawn care

Gardening guru Ciscoe Morris shares advice for sprucing up your lawn this fall.

SEATTLE, WASH. - Gardening guru Ciscoe Morris shares advice for sprucing up your lawn this fall.

If you are like the majority of homeowners in our region, you don't water your lawn in summer, allowing it to go dormant.  Now that temperatures are moderating, the grass should be coming back out of dormancy, but don't be surprised if the turf has thinned out, especially if you held off watering for a number of summers in a row.  A thin stand of grass can cause problems.  Thin turf is more susceptible to moss and weed problems.  Moss is opportunistic and quickly colonizes thinned out lawns, and the seeds of weeds such as dandelions and clover germinate much more readily.  The best way to solve the problem is to renovate and overseed your lawn, and the ideal time to do it is from mid-September to mid-October.  Begin by spraying dandelions and other broad leaf weeds with a liberal dose of straight white vinegar.  Pick a sunny day; vinegar only works in warm, dry weather.  The vinegar will kill any grass it hits, but it doesn't matter as long as you overseed as part of the renovation process.  If moss is a problem, rent a de-thatching machine to remove the moss; then apply a moss control product.  The next step is to rent an aerifying machine and use it to punch gazillions of holes in the turf.  Overseed with a 50-50% mix by weight of fine fescue and perennial rye grass seed making sure to rake as much seed as possible into the holes.  Apply an organic lawn fertilizer, and keep the soil surface moist.  Before you know it, your lawn will look spectacular.  If you do this hard work every few years (or hire a company to do it) your lawn will not only look more attractive, it will also be much better equipped to resist future moss and weed problems even if you continue to allow your grass to go dormant.

Gardening with Ciscoe airs Saturdays at 11:30am on KONG and 1:30pm on NWCN.  Visit for more ideas and upcoming events.


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