WASHINGTON – Carolyn in Clarksburg writes, “What do you recommend as the best order for fall lawn care tasks, specifically applying corn gluten and milky spore, aerating and over-seeding. Which should we do first?”
That’s a very good list, Carolyn, and pretty much everything on that list should be done at this time of year if you have a cool season lawn. I’ll give you the short answer and then go into more detail below.
First, aerate the turf to relieve soil compaction.
Then apply milky spore powder to wipe out grubs feeding on the roots of your grass.
Then you pretty much have to make a choice. Either overseed to fill in bare spots or apply corn gluten meal to give your lawn a big fall feeding that will also prevent weeds like plantain, chickeed and henbit from germinating. Corn gluten prevents all seed germination, so it would also prevent the new grass from coming up.
Aeration often the cure for a problem lawn
For cool season lawns (fescue, bluegrass and rye) that have seen a lot of foot traffic and were originally installed on unimproved clay, you can’t go wrong by starting off the fall lawn care season with some core aeration to relieve soil compaction.
To do it right, you need to rent a machine called a