Fall Lawn Care: Weeding, Seeding and Fertilizing

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Subject: fall lawn care

Is this a good time to spray crabgrass killer on my lawn? And if so. should I do it again in the Spring?

Tom M.

Subject: Mowing before winter.

I've heard that you should try and keep your grass relatively short before winter, to prevent yard mold in the spring.........thoughts?


Subject: Aeration

Does it make more sense to aerate an old lawn that has a high percentage of red clay for soil before seeding and fertilizing? Thanks

Mike Lafollette
Mike LaFollette

Subject: Diana,


You want to avoid using any type of weed control or fertilizer that lists "pre-emergent" on the label. Many products combine pre-emergent and fertilizer because they calim it kills to birds with one stone. The pre-emergent prevents weed seeds from sprouting, but it will also have the same effect on grass seed. So, if you put down a weed control/fertilizer product with pre-emergent, it will prevent your new grass seed from sprouting, ultimately wasting your money.


Subject: After, and a good while after

After, and a good while after. My rule of thumb is if it's been mowed once you can apply weed control, but use a starter fertilizer when you seed. If you're seeding in fall I'd recommend waiting until early spring to use a preemergent weed control/fertilizer.


Subject: fertilizer weight

just a quick mention that the 100-lb bag of fertilizer you mention only has 40 lbs. of chemicals. is the rest filler, or is the math off?

Mike Lafollette
Mike LaFollette

Subject: Fertilizer fillers


The rest of the bag contains "Fillers" that supply additional nutrients like iron, sulfur, maganese, etc. Other, non-nutrient fillers also help dilute and improve the spreadability, mainly to prevent lawn burn.

Frank Goodman

Subject: Lawn Care

Thank you for the article. It comes at a time of great need. Living in Columbus, Georgia can become so frustrating because zip code/quality service becomes discrimatory.

Matt Denney

Subject: Not good for the South

These are great tips for those living in the north (the author is in Indianapolis), but for those of us in the south and southeastern United States, if you follow this advice for fertilizing and spraying, you will destroy your warm season grasses.


Subject: Overseeding vs fertilizing

I need to overseed this fall and I would like to apply a broadleaf weed control. However, I don't see how you can do that without killing your new grass! Anyone have experience with that? Because of this conflict I just overseed in the fall and apply broadleaf weed control in the spring.

Joshua Russ

Subject: Frequency

I appreciate this story as it really helps explain the importance of lawn maintenance to home owners. I do wish that is also discussed mowing frequency for home owners. There seems to be a false idea out there that mowing the lawn is a weekly chore. In reality, the lawn needs to be mowed much more frequently. Many lawns need to be cut once every 4 or 5 days. And, that same lawn might only need to be cut 1x every 10-14 days in the summer. Still yet a lawn in a shaded area may need to be cut more often in the summer than a lawn that is exposed to the sun every day. This is especially true when the home owner is trying to follow the 'don't cut more than 1/3 of the blade off at a mowing rule. It's so often truly unrealistic to cut the lawn to 3" at one cutting without cutting off more than 1/3 of the blade. I also have to say that the height a lawn needs to be cut depends on many factors. Truth is that the taller the lawn regularly is the deeper the roots go into the soil which allows the lawn to access hydration better. Also, no lawn is the same. Even if you have the same species grass on 2 different properties oftentimes setting a mower at the same height for both properties may result in a different cut. No home is the same and no home maintenance program will be the same for each home.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.