Act Now for a Healthy Lawn This Fall

Quick and Easy Tips Help Sustain Your Lawn Now and Next Spring

Aug 13, 2009, 13:56 ET from TruGreen

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- By investing a small amount of time and energy now, you can improve your lawn's good looks for fall and prime it for a green and glorious spring. Both warm and cool season grasses common in the U.S. can suffer substantial damage over the winter without proper care in the fall.

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The experts at TruGreen, the largest professional lawn care services provider in the United States, recommend an easy five-step strategy to ensure your lawn flourishes this fall and enters the winter season healthy and well-maintained:

Fertilize in the fall. Autumn is an ideal time to fertilize your lawn. For warm season grasses, properly timed applications of fertilizer high in potassium encourage healthy root growth and can protect against low temperature stress and winterkill. Cool season grasses benefit from a nitrogen-based fertilizer applied in the fall to foster new shoot development and recovery from summer stress. A green lawn this fall promotes accumulation of food reserves important to deeper root growth and quicker spring green-up next season.

Aerate the area. Aeration, creating tiny holes in the lawn, lets water soak in, stimulating root growth and improving fertilizer absorption. "When you aerate your lawn, it becomes a sponge soaking up water and preventing runoff," said Kirk Hurto, vice president of Technical Services at TruGreen. "It improves irrigation and protects your lawn from thatch build-up - the layer of dead plant material that collects between the grass blades and the soil."

It's OK to go "over"board. Overseeding, the spreading of grass seed over existing grass to increase density or promote growth on bare spots, can vastly improve a lawn's appearance after a rough summer. Early fall is the prime time to overseed lawns with cool season grasses. Make sure the bare areas are lightly raked to remove debris and ensure seed-to-soil contact. Complete this as early in the fall as possible because the sun-warmed soil promotes rapid seed growth and lawn fill-in.

If it's still growing, keep mowing. Don't think fall means the end of mowing. To guarantee you have a healthy lawn in the spring, continue to mow regularly while the turf is actively growing.

Don't leave the leaves. Falling leaves are a colorful reminder that fall is in the air, but leaving layers lying around can suffocate your lawn. It's best to either remove the fallen leaves or mulch them with a mulching mower. You can compost the leaves you collect and use them to nourish plants and shrubs, which also reduces the impact on your local landfill.

"Cutting back on your lawn care during the fall results in thinning grass and bare spots that are unsightly now and can lead to weed problems and soil erosion from water runoff come spring," said Hurto, "Our technicians report that proper care of the lawn this fall enhances the start-up of lawns next spring. Improved fall root development through proper fertilization improves spring green-up and lawn density, which is important for reducing weed encroachment."

For more information about caring for your lawn this fall, log onto or contact (1-800-TRUGREEN).

About TruGreen

TruGreen is the nation's largest lawn and landscape company, serving more than 2.5 million residential and commercial customers across the United States with lawn care, tree and shrub care and landscaping services. As the current industry leader, TruGreen continues to pioneer the development of new technology for lawn care, and devotes substantial resources to evaluate new products and equipment. Today, there are 268 TruGreen LawnCare branches in the United States and Canada, including 52 franchise locations. TruGreen is part of the ServiceMaster family of brands, one of the world's largest and most versatile service networks.

About ServiceMaster

ServiceMaster currently serves residential and commercial customers through a network of more than 5,500 company-owned locations and franchised licenses. The company's brands include TruGreen, TruGreen LandCare, Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. The core services of the company include lawn care and landscape maintenance, termite and pest control, home warranties, cleaning and disaster restoration, home cleaning, furniture repair and home inspection.