Master Gardeners can help ensure your lawn’s health
Master Gardener Kath Gilman collects sample for soil testing.
By Kath Gilman Master Gardener
Fall is the best to rejuvenate a lawn after a long hot summer, but do you know what it really needs?
Has a soil test been taken that tells what type of fertilizer the lawn needs? A soil test will analyze needs for lime and will recommend which type of fertilizer you need to help make the soil healthy so that turf can thrive.
A few key things to do this fall:
• Take a soil test. Pick up a soil testing kit at your local Virginia Cooperative Extension Office at 24 Pelham St in Warrenton. The fee is $10, plus postage. The results will come back from Virginia Tech in a couple of weeks.
• Know your lawn area. Apply only enough fertilizer to cover the area of your lawn. All of the lot is not lawn.
• Add lime if needed. Many lawns are greatly improved by adding lime to raise the pH of our local acidic soils.
• Aerate and over seed bare spots. If soil is compacted, aeration will add oxygen to help turf. Use a good quality seed and it will take root and grow into a more lush lawn for spring.
• Fertilize. Most grasses should be fertilized in the autumn in this part of the country. Fertilizing in September or October helps the grass go into winter with a strong root system. If you fertilize in the spring, use half the recommended amount on the bag.
Using the proper fertilizer in the correct amount, getting the soil pH correct and aerating and over seeding, should improve your lawn quality. Improvement is something that happens over time. These practices will ensure the lawn will become thicker and greener.
Master Gardeners can help. The Fauquier County Master Gardeners, the Virginia Cooperative Extension and the John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District have joined forces to offer local homeowners a special turf management program called “Green” Grass that promotes healthy lawns and protects our local streams and lakes from toxic run-off.
The “Green” Grass program is part of the Virginia Healthy Lawns initiative, open April through September, at a cost of $40. To participate, homeowners can sign up for the program online.
A pair of Extension Master Gardener volunteers will come to your home and measure your turf area and take a soil sample for testing. Based on your soil test results, they also will provide you with a lawn care and nutrient management report that has been specifically customized for your lawn.