Are You Breathing Life Back into Your Worn-Out Lawn This Fall? 8 Tips for Reviving Your Tired Turf

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Grass Zones

It’s the end of summer, and your lawn has taken a beating. Your cool season grass needs a pick-me-up in the fall, so there’s more work to be done outside.

In the fall, cool season grasses need aeration, overseeding, and other turf-related health care.

Yards in temperate zones have a mix of warm- and cool season grasses—so you’ll need to aerate the areas that have tall fescue for shaded and partially shaded areas.

A Short Lesson About Cool Season Turfgrass

Summers in the northern part of the U.S. have been sweltering over the past 10 years or so. Cool season grasses, which grow in these northern lawns, grow best when temperatures fall below 85ºF.

As a matter of fact, cool season turf goes into dormancy when temperatures climb beyond 85ºF for a week or more. Dormant lawns look brown, dry, and dead. But the grass is still alive.

Read more: Reduce Your Water Usage and Save Money This Summer Using These Lawn and Landscape Watering Tips

Cool season lawns perk up again when it starts to rain, and the temperatures go back down.

8 Tips for Reviving Cool Season Grasses

Here are eight tips for reviving cool season grasses in the fall:

1.  Core aeration – You can rent an aerator at your local hardware store for this job. You move the aerator up and down and then side to side, pulling up small plugs of soil.

Aeration benefits a tired lawn because it releases carbon dioxide from the ground and allows oxygen, nutrients, and light into it.

2.  Dethatching – If you don’t aerate your lawn, you may still need to dethatch it. Thatch is the tan layer between the soil and the green grass.

Turfgrass can handle up to a half-inch of thatch. You’ll need to rent a dethatcher if your turfgrass has more than a half-inch. A dethatcher pulls up the thatch so that the soil can breathe.

If you don’t dethatch your turf, it could harbor insects and diseases. Plus, water and nutrition won’t penetrate the soil, putting your turf at risk.

3.  Topdressing – If you practice organic lawn care, then you want to topdress your lawn. It would be wise to buy a spreader that drops topdressing to make the job less strenuous.

Otherwise, you’ll need to block out a day to topdress your lawn with a shovel and wheelbarrow.

What is topdressing? It’s made up of compost, leaves, grass clippings, and other plant debris. Topdress feeds the soil, so your grass grows dense and healthy.

4.  In-ground sprinkler system – Since your cool season lawn won’t need as much watering as it did in July, you can turn back your irrigation system to go off fewer times.

Don’t forget to hire a landscape contractor to blow out your in-ground sprinkler system before the ground freezes.

5.  Mowing – You want to continue mowing your lawn by only taking off the top third. When it’s time to aerate your yard, you want to cut it shorter so that the aeration process goes smoother.

6.  Fertilizing – In the fall, you slow down the use of any fertilizer since the growing period is almost over.

However, you need to put down winter fertilizer if this is the only time your feed your lawn.

Time out eight weeks before the first hard freeze and put down winterizing lawn fertilizer. The nutrients in winterizer have more potassium to help your turfgrass to harden in time for winter.

Plus, winterizer encourages roots to grow deep for finding nutrition and moisture when the turf is dormant.

7.  Weed control – Oddly enough, the weeds won’t stop growing even during the cold months of winter. You can still put down pre-emergent weed control to prevent Poa annua—a cool season weed—from sprouting.

8.  Fall clean-up – This job is an ongoing one starting when the leaves begin to fall. If you want to give your lawn some extra nitrogen naturally, set your lawn mower to mulch the leaves and grass clippings when you mow.

Also, continue to pick up sticks, acorns, and fruit that drops to the ground in late summer through fall.

How K-Rain Sprinkler System Solutions Solve Your Irrigation Problems

If you’re a DIY’er, you’ll love K-Rain! Our outdoor sprinkler systems provide the right amount of water to your lawn and landscapes.

Here are some of our sprinkler system products:

You can find manuals for K-Rain sprinkler systems on our website. If you’re new to outdoor sprinkler systems, you can find a contractor for designing and installing your K-Rain irrigation system.

You can also buy your K-Rain sprinkler system parts at our online store or your favorite big-box retailer. If you have any questions about your K-Rain outdoor lawn sprinkler, call our customer service at 800-735-7246 or fill out our contact form.

Source:, Fall Lawn Maintenance Tips.