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Lawn & Garden

Northeast Fall Lawn Care



I live in upstate NY (Albany) and was wondering the proper steps for fall lawn care.  Specifically, I've read the benefits of de-thatching, aerating, overseeding and fertilizing, but I don't know the proper order in which to do these things.  Also, I'll need to mow one more time, so where do I put that in the mix.


Thanks for the help.



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Posted 2012-09-10T12:17:29+0000  by juiceman juiceman

Hi there Kevin, 


I’m Grow2girl, from The Home Depot and welcome to the forum.  I too live in the Northeast and I am also working on my lawn at this time of year.


Everyone’s lawn is a bit different and the “rule of thumb” may vary a little depending on whether you have a high traffic area, children, pets etc.  Here is a guideline to work with for the fall.  You will want to mow your lawn first before you do the following:


  •  Dethatching – As time goes on, grass builds up in the lawn and creates thatch.  Generally, if you have less than ½” of thatch, then you do not need to actually dethatch your lawn.  If you have any more than that, it can prevent air and moisture from getting to your lawn.  For cool weather grass, such as yours, the best time to thatch is either late-summer or early fall.  If you have a small lawn, you can simply use a spring rake and rake up the excess grass by hand or if you have a large lawn you can either rent or purchase a dethatcher. If your lawn is in good condition it is only necessary to dethatch about every 3 years.


  • Aerating - This process will loosen compact soil to allow water to get directly to the roots.  You can use either a spike or plug aerator.  You can either purchase or rent an aerator.  The best time to aerate is also late-summer or early fall and this can be done every 2-3 years.

Aerator rental.jpg

  • Over seeding - I would definitely over seed your lawn after you dethatch or aerate.  The best time to seed is either now, in the fall or in the spring.  Be sure to purchase a perennial seed that will return year after year.  Some types of grass seed are considered annual in our area and will not come back next year.

Grass Seed.jpg

  •  Fertilizing When seeding, you will want to use either a starter fertilizer or use a soil with starter fertilizer in it such as Scotts Lawn Soil.  After about 8-10 weeks, you can apply a Winterguard fertilizer. This will help your lawn “bounce back” in the spring.


Be sure to water after the seed has been applied and use a spreader for both the seed and fertilizer applications.



Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Posted 2012-09-11T15:19:05+0000  by Jen_HD_BOS

i have already applied fertilizer this year, can i do this in early spring?

Posted 2012-10-07T16:19:43+0000  by zk

Hi there zk,


I'm Grow2girl, from The Home Depot.  Fertilizing should be done on a regular schedule, for best results.  Generally lawn fertilizer can be applied every 8-12 weeks, depending on the type of fertilizer that is applied. 


When was the last time you fertilized and do you know what product you applied?

Posted 2012-10-09T15:09:33+0000  by Jen_HD_BOS
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