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5 Steps to a Better Lawn by Halloween

by Allyn Hane 20 Sep 2018

In last week’s exciting episode of “Lawns Across America” we pulled a little slice of the Midwest, Miamisburg, OH out into the spotlight and used their weather/climate/forecast as a way to map out a later season fall aeration and seeding plan. If you missed it, I highly recommend you go read it as it will help train your mind on strategy; true lawn strategy.

If you did not put down seed this fall you may want to consider a final pre-emergent application for the season to prevent weeds in early spring. If you have a warm-season lawn, then you DEFINITELY want to get a pre-emergent down sometime between now and mid-October.

Even though your turf may go dormant for a bit over winter, your soil does not and that’s where the weed seed are. We have two primary choices I recommend.



They both work about the same so get the one that best suits you. I’ll be applying Dithiopyr in a video coming up this weekend so if you get yours now you will be able to follow along on the exact product I’ll be using myself.

Ok next, let me talk to all of you who consider yourselves beginners…

Warm Season Lawn Friends:

  • St Augustinegrass
  • Zoysiagrass
  • Bermudagrass
  • Centipedegrass
  • Bahiagrass

Cool Season Lawn Friends:

  • Turf Type Tall Fescue
  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Perennial Ryegrass

I’m talking to all of you, and specifically, those of you that are not all about this crazy aeration, overseeding, lawn renovation, rejuvenation stuff!

Sometimes I sit back and wonder how many of you read my overly-complicated-error-ridden emails about mix rates, N-P-K and pounds on the ground and then just roll your eyes in disgust.

You want it simple and easy, and you want results!

And so this is for you.

Side Note: this post stems from a lively discussion that happened in our Facebook Group this week. The gist was that a handful of senior members of our 4-month-old group were becoming increasingly annoyed by the amount of what they perceived to be “noob questions” rapid firing into the discussion stream. They were all dealing with the stress in their own ways, one posted a farewell diatribe - it was beautiful and sparked the debate. My Giphy game was strong.

These types of lawn family scuffles are normal in our group. Last week there was a protest against all the “MILO PRICE MATCHING SCHEMES” that seem to go on every few weeks when everyone gets frothed up itching to Throw’er Down. It’s a pretty wild group; a real band of hard ass War Boys and War Pups for you Mad Max fans. If you would, please consider joining in and help us keep things lively and positive!

So on this topic of “all these noobs,” and how they should be dealt with there were good points made on all sides, but what it did for me was remind me why I started all this Lawn Care Nuttery in the first place. I started because I wanted to educate homeowners and give them the confidence to do their own lawn care, specifically fert and weed. You see, working at TruGreen in the late 1990s, I realized that what we did wasn’t really that hard. In fact, it was dead nuts simple. We did have high-quality equipment and access to “pro products” but really, the formula was only this:

“Throw down nitrogen every 4-5 weeks, spray weeds, mow tall, pray for rain, aerate every fall, grass seed is cheap, and when all else fails, Starter Fertilizer fixes EVERYTHING!”

That’s it.

It was 9 years ago that I started on YouTube. Even before that on a blog (2007/2008) and before that on a BlogSpot. Here is what the original LCN house looked like in June 2007, just 2 years after I started from seed on bare dirt.  

Either way 10 years ago, the internet (mobile) wasn’t as “speedy and well organized” back then, and YouTube wasn’t a thing yet either, so homeowners who did want to venture into trying their own lawn treatments were truly out there “spraying and praying” with whatever info they could get from the Home Depot garden department guy.

Hopefully, the label on the product purchased had some good iconography and pictures because Lord knows you all don’t actually read product labels.

That slow internet and lack of information back then meant a lot of would-be DIYers never took the leap. They didn’t try because ya know, fear of “Burning the Lawn!”

And so here we sit today, 2018, and we have a legit community of hard-charging Lawn Care Nuts who are in many ways more educated than the average lawn spray tech at TruGreen - I’m not kidding.

A good portion of you know more than those guys about what you are spraying, why you are spraying it and what to expect. After all, you have a huge advantage in that you only have to treat one single lawn and you see it every day!

It’s Not Too Late in 2018!

That aside… if you are a noob, I have NOT forgotten you!... NOW is your time to shine because Halloween Lawn Domination is a thing and you can be a winner this year. If you have done NOTHING all year long and have just been reading my emails as an escape from the reality of your work day, now is your final call to action.

Halloween is a great time to really shine, get noticed by your neighbors, and while doing so, gain enough confidence to push you to take more massive action next spring.

That said, take a look at what a heavy-handed dose of Milorganite can do coupled with some tall mowing on a cool season lawn.

And so here is my challenge to you:

Go to the store and pick up a couple bags of Milorganite. If it’s out of stock then get whatever organic fertilizer they have. I know Menards has been selling a Milorganite clone. There is our old friend Ringer Lawn Restore, or this one that I found on Amazon that is $25 for 5,000 sq ft coverage.  Pretty much every big box store will have a choice of organic fertilizer and one thing they all love to tell is “Non-Burning.” Those are key phrases for you to look for when choosing your organic lawn fertilizer to throw down. I love organics for many reasons but mostly, I like them because as a beginner you can’t mess anything up if you over apply and you will still get great results! So go out there and Fert like a Cowboy!

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Get your organic fertilizer of choice.
  2. Look on the front of the bag for the words “covers x,xxx square feet.” Most will cover between 2,500 and 10,000 sq ft. Don’t let the size of the bag fool you here! Just read it and file that away in your brain!
  3. Measure your lawn to know how big it is. If you want, just choose a small section - maybe like the front only. Make it simple on yourself.
  4. Get a cheap spreader (or a good one if you want). DON’T OVER_THINK_IT.
  5. Go out and spread that fert. See how the coverage feels as you walk. Enjoy it. Wait 10 days and let me know how you did.
  6. Also, start mowing your lawn tall - as tall as you can. All of you, just do it.

I promise if you do that, you will gain confidence and your lawn will look much better.

Want to really dominate by Halloween? Do that same thing again 12 days before Halloween. This time, you will be a little better at it and can dial in your strategy.

Perhaps you will pick up my Hybrid Organic Lawn plan and learn a little more so you can get prepared over winter.

Either way, Throw’er Down, and hope for the best!


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