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Kill, till and fill

Lawn care: Deborah Moreno, at the Suffolk Lowes, recommends the “kill, till and fill” method to get your lawn green again.

Turn your lawn green again

The summer sun has not been kind to lawns and gardens this year.

But with a dip in temperatures, there are a few things owners may be able to do to help ensure their lawns remain or regain good health.

“People have been complaining about what the heat has done to their grass,” said Deborah Moreno, department manager for outside lawn and garden at the Lowe’s store in Suffolk. “Not only could people not work outside because it was so hot, but the heat was causing a lot of damage. Now, we’re seeing a lot of customers who are coming in anxious, trying to fix the damage the weather has done.”

Kill, till and fill is what Moreno recommends.

With the weather making yard work a little more bearable, getting out there to kill all your weeds is one of the first steps to take.

“Right now is a good time to get rid of your weed problems,” Moreno said. “If you use weed killer, though — I don’t care what kind it is — read the directions because you’ll need to wait before you lay more seed.”

After you weed, whether it’s by chemical or by hand, it’s time to aerate your land.

“Right now is the time to be aerating your lawn,” Moreno said. “It helps keep your turf healthy by stimulating deep root growth and loosening up compacted areas. It also helps the water move through the ground — especially after a dry summer — and when you fertilize it, it will help the fertilizer get in deeper.”

Now is also the time to fertilize your lawn and fill in any of the sparse spots.

“It’s a great time to fertilize your cool-season grasses,” Moreno said. “If you have a warm season grass, it’ll be the last time to fertilize it before it goes dormant.”

It’s also a good time to put down nutrients and pre-emergent, which will prevent weeds from germinating and coming up in the spring.

“It’s time to put down your enriching and enhancing soils where there are problem areas,” Moreno said. “If it’s deficient in a nutrient, put it down now. Another big thing is to put down a pre-emergent to work down into the ground and keep your lawn free of crabgrass and weeds next spring.”

If you want to reseed your lawns to fill in sparse areas, however, you may need to wait a few weeks if you’ve used a chemical weed killer or a pre-emergent.

“I have people come in saying they re-seeded their lawn after they put a weed killer down, and it’s because the chemicals don’t allow the seeds to germinate,” Moreno said.

Once its safe to reseed, however, she recommends doing so to give the seeds time to germinate and take root before it gets too cold.

“If you have a warm season grass and you want continued green, consider overseeding it now with a cool grass, like ryegrass,” Moreno said. “Those lawns you see that are nice and green on Thanksgiving, are lawns that have been overseeded with ryegrass. It keeps it nice and green.”

“Kill, till and fill” may be the key to helping you regain the green lawn you didn’t have this summer.