October Tips - Zone 8

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This article provides landscape and garden tips for October in Zone 8
by Brett · Zone 7B · 5° to 10° F to Zone 9A · 20° to 25° F · Growing Basics · 0 Comments · November 05, 2010 · 8,964 views

Fertilization & Watering Tips


Fall feed the lawn

Warm Season Lawn Grasses - If you did not apply a fall-feed fertilizer to your Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine or Zoysia lawn, sometime during October, preferably earlier in the month than later, apply a Fall-Feed fertilizer. For fall feeding these warm season lawn grasses you'll want to make sure to apply a fertilizer in September or October that is low in nitrogen (first number) and high in potassium (last number), such as 5-0-20. The potassium promotes root development, cell growth and nutrient absorption. By helping roots grow before winter sets in, you are insuring that the lawn will green-up quicker in the spring and become more resistant to disease and drought.

Cool Season Lawn Grasses - By the time October arrives, cool season lawns in the South are recovering from a long hot summer and may be coming out of a drought-induced dormancy, entering their active growth season. Therefore, unless you are overseeding (see below), you'll want to apply a fertilizer during the month of October which contains a higher amount of nitrogen (first number). Nitrogen will promote blade growth and this is what you're looking for regarding feeding the cool season lawn grasses in Fall. How much nitrogen? I would suggest a fertilizer that contains between 18 and 34 percent nitrogen, such as 18-0-4 or 32-0-6, and preferably one which provides a "slow-release" nitrogen.

SEE: Fall Fertilization of Southern Lawns

Seed or overseed Fescue or Bluegrass lawns at this time.

Fall is the best season to plant or overseed a fescue lawn. There are two basic categories of fescue seed: "turf-type" and KY-31 Fescue. We recommend using turf-type fescues or a mixture of the two. Keep in mind that Ky 31 is best suited for use in pastures. Broadcast fescue seed with a rotary-type walk behind or shoulder spreader. Feed newly seeded fescue lawns with a lawn starter fertilizer conatining plenty of phosphorus (middle number).

SEE: How To Overseed A Lawn
SEE: How To Seed A New Lawn

Apply pelletized lime at this time to Fescue, Bermuda, and Zoysia lawns.

Lime is not a fertilizer, however, you may notice after applying it that your lawn greens up quickly. This is due to the correction of the soil ph, which indicates the level of soil alkalinity or acidity. Certain grasses, such as Bermuda, Fescue, and Zoysia require a neutral soil pH (6.5 to 7.0 pH) in order to absorb and uptake nutrients from fertilizers applied. If you live in a region where soil is typically acid (below 6.5 pH) and have never applied lime to your lawn, a one-time application of 40 lbs standard pelletized lime per 500 -1,000 square feet or 40 lbs Green N Grow Lime per 5,000 square feet usually corrects soil pH to a level sufficient for these grasses to thrive and for fertilizers applied to be absorbed by the plants. Once pH is corrected usually no further applications of lime are necessary for several years. You can test your soil's pH using a test kit purchased from your local nursery and garden center or have it tested through your local cooperative extension service who may provide soil testing services.

Water plants and trees

In the event that there is drought, continue to provide supplemental water to shrubs and trees that need it. When temperatures cool down and shrubs and trees have gone dormant, or normal rainfall has resumed, there will be less of a need to provide water.


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