gardener mulching flower bed with pine tree bark mulch

Fall is here and I hope everyone is enjoying the cooler temperatures.

We have had sufficient rainfall and it appears as though we will continue this pattern, so I would suggest turning off your irrigation system at this time.

We have plenty of available moisture for our landscapes. Too much water will encourage fungus and disease problems, and it will also encourage more weeds to germinate.

Now is a great time to pull a soil sample and get to the lab or university. This information will provide the details of where your nutrients levels are within the soil. All plant material relates directly to the availability of the nutrients and the pH of the soil. Knowing these values allows one to create a custom road map to a better lawn and landscape.

Now, let’s get mulching! It’s that time again. Keep your mulch at 2 to 3 inches in depth for optimum weed control. It is best to leave 6 to 12 inches of air flow at the base of trees and shrubs.

Now is great time to check your lawn and determine how much sunlight you actually receive during fall and winter. Take a picture of the area at different times from sun up to sun down, and count the number of hours you are receiving direct sunlight.

If you find an area that does not meet the optimum sunlight hours for your specific turf, prune and limb up for maximum sunlight. In some cases, tree removal might be the only option.

We do have other options as well. You could install a shade garden, or naturalize the area (let it go wild), or try a hardscape to create a different room for the garden – or perhaps a combination of all. See what works best for your use of space.

We have four different turf types in our area and each requires a different volume of sunlight to stay healthy. St. Augustine requires four direct hours of sunlight, Zoysia requires six hours and Centipede and Bermuda both require eight hours.

If you plan to sod this fall, make sure to check the label on any pre-emergent that may have been applied to the lawn.

Fall also brings leaf debris. Do your best to keep all leaf debris and pine straw removed for better airflow for the lawn.

Mark Deloach is the owner of Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.