Step 1 – Fertilization. We recommend something with a 1-0-2 ratio. In other words, 1 part nitrogen, 0 parts phosphorus, and 2 parts potassium….like an 8-0-16 for example. Obviously, the 1-0-2 ratio is meant as a starting point. A local expert can better give you specific needs for your area. If you have trouble finding a fertilizer with that ratio, a fertilizer with a 1-0-1 ratio will also be acceptable.
Step 2 – Billbug Control Insecticide. One great thing about EMPIRE Turf is that Chinch Bugs don’t like it. Chinch bugs are a huge problem in St. Augustine grass lawns. The main insects you have to watch out for with EMPIRE are billbugs. Hunting billbugs are small black insects. As an EMPIRE lawn owner, the thing we recommend doing is to go ahead and put down billbug control in the fall and in the spring whether you have had issues with the hunting billbug in the past or not. Make sure it’s a broad spectrum insecticide.
Optional Step 3 – Fungicide. Look out for fungus in your EMPIRE like a large patch. This fungus appears in somewhat circular patterns…usually about 2 to 3 feet in diameter. If you have had fungus before or suspect you have a fungus in your lawn currently, put down a fungicide to help the grass enter the cold months healthier. For fungicide, you will likely need multiple applications. Remember to wait 21 days between each application.
Optional Step 4 – Weed Control. When the temperatures start dropping, summer weeds will start dying off and winter weeds will start to pop up. In some areas of the country, winter weeds aren’t a big problem. If you haven’t had problems with them in the past, forgo putting down any herbicide this fall. However, if you know that weeds in the wintertime are an issue for you, get a pre-emergent herbicide from your local lawn care store and apply it to the lawn now to stop the winter weeds from popping up.
Step 5 – Mowing. Mowing in the cooler months is slightly different. Leave the EMPIRE a little bit higher than normal to encourage deeper root growth for the winter. Basically, adjust your mower settings to go up one notch.
Step 6 – Watering. As for watering, as temperatures drop, grasses won’t need as much irrigation….so adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Too much watering can lead to fungus and disease outbreaks.
Remember with all lawn products be it fertilizer, insecticide or herbicide…read the label and follow the proper instructions.