The Importance of Fall
After three decades of working on golf courses, in my humble opinion, there’s no better time of year than when the leaves begin to change color and the morning air has a slight chill in it. Perhaps it’s because after months of a constant, almost intolerable, combination of heat, and humidity stressing out the turf you’ve sworn to protect, Mother Nature starts to ease up and help you. However, rather than being able to sit back and enjoy the more hospitable climate, it’s now time to take advantage of this optimal growing time and get your turf properly prepared for a long winter’s nap.
Fall is the best time to establish new turf areas or simply reinvigorate some struggling areas. The favorable conditions of cooler temperatures mixed in with some rain, get the seed germinated quickly in an ideal growing environment. If you’re trying to introduce some new and improved cultivars, Fall is the best time to achieve the highest success.
To help improve any seeding projects, try using ProScape Starter Fertilizer 21-22-4 with .08% Meso, which not only provides the nutrients that young seedlings need but the Meso pre-emergent herbicide also stops any weeds that may want to take advantage of the ideal weather as well…while still allowing the grass seed to germinate.
While it's certainly no fun to do, aerification during the fall is a critical maintenance practice. Both the greens and fairways need to be opened up to boost airflow and water movement. In addition to removing the thatch buildup and relieving compaction, the open space you’re creating helps the roots recover from summer and start to grow again by storing carbohydrates.
You can encourage healthier root growth and quicken the recovery time needed to fill in the holes with Country Club Root Reviver 3-3-4 with endo-mycorrhizal fungi, kelp meal and humic acids.
The most important and impactful fertilizer application of the entire year is the one you do in the Fall. It helps the turf recover from any damage suffered during the summer and gets it prepared for the following Spring. Dr. Clark Throssell, my former college professor at Purdue University, told me that 70% of the total nitrogen goal for the turf should be applied in the Fall.
One area getting a lot of attention in our industry is finding ways to utilize the nutrients that are already in the soil but are bound up. That’s one of the main advantages and selling points to utilizing fertilizer products that also contain humic acid. The humic acid acts as a chelating agent and helps free up these nutrients so that the turf plant can take them up from the soil. The key, however, is applying the proper rate of humic acid to actually free them.
For your fairways, you may want to consider Country Club fertilizer with Humic Max®, a line of mini-sized products that have been specifically designed to deliver the industry-recommended 0.5 pounds of humic acid per 1,000 square feet. These products will allow you to energize your native soil under your fairways and maximize the health of the turf.
As wonderfully refreshing as the cool weather is in the Fall, all the work you're doing is geared towards one goal, coming out of Winter healthy and going into Spring at high speed. Fall will not last long and all the work needs to be done while the grass is still growing. So enjoy the weather, while you can…the whole cycle will start up again before you know it.