It may not seem like it now, but we are heading into fall, and fall is an important time for cool season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass.
Right now many lawns are drought stressed but when the fall rains move in (hopefully very soon), most of the growth will take place out of sight in the root system. Once the grass starts actively growing again, it should continue to be mowed regularly to a uniform height until it quits growing, usually in November.
Another step in proper lawn maintenance is a winterizer fertilizer application that focuses on building up the root system. This also can be done in the fall. Control for broadleaf weeds also is important, some even say more important now than in the spring.
All plants are taking this time to build their roots for storage to maintain their life and health to overwinter. By applying herbicide, the plant moves it to the root system or, to the "root" of the problem.
It's also a good idea to apply a pre-emerge herbicide to control winter annual weeds, as well. If you live in an area with established trees, try to keep leaves raked, or at least mulched finely, as they can harbor disease and, if the piles are too large, leave dead patches in your grass.
Fall aeration is important because it increases the amount of air in the soil and helps the roots take up water and nutrients. Try aerating once a year; it keeps a thatch layer from forming and helps the grass grow better.
Proper care in the fall will lead to a more beautiful lawn in the spring.
Email your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your questions to Sarah Fernandez, c/o Quincy Herald-Whig, 130 S. Fifth, Quincy, IL 62301.