Cool temperatures allow a jump on beneficial fall maintenance practices – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

Cool temperatures allow a jump on beneficial fall maintenance practices

The recent record or near record low temperatures combine with adequate soil moisture is advantageous for our cool-season turfgrasses, especially compared to the typical August-September heat and drought.

  • Fall fertilization can begin anytime, especially with rain in the forecast to help water in the application.

  • White grub damage will likely be minimal with overall health plants and adequate soil moisture, which enables the plants to tolerate significant feeding without any sign of damage. Unfortunately, these cool temperatures will not reduce secondary damage from feeding skunks and other animals.

  • Late summer seedings benefit from the cool temperatures for optimum germination and growth, plus evaporation has been fairly low reducing watering needs. Seedling diseases like Pythium or damping off have been minimal because of the cool temperatures (see Turf Tip: Damping off diseases in new seedlings)

  • Stressful maintenance practices like vertical mowing, aerification and/or topdressing practices can be started anytime in these cool temperatures.

  • Fall broadleaf weed control can also be started, but I’d still recommend waiting a few more weeks to maximize control and to insure winter annuals germinating over the next month are controlled.


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