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Feed in the fall
Feed in the fall
Autumn is when grass plants focus on growing their roots, making it the best time to fertilize and water. Deeper roots can help the lawn withstand heat or a dry spell next year. You should also spread seed on the lawn in the fall because winter is easier on young grass than the summer heat that faces spring-planted grass.

Be sure to purchase weed-free seed ($50 for a half-acre lot); if you use a "sun-and-shade mix," you'll get a blend of different grass types that helps ensure the right kinds will grow in the right places.

Fall is also the best season to remove thatch or loosen hard turf with a power rake or an aerator. (Renting either from a hardware store or garden center costs $50 to $100 a day.)

Weed seeds don't sprout in the fall, but grass seeds do, so the exposed soil will fill in with new lawn before weeds invade.

NEXT: Water, water, not everywhere

Last updated September 04 2008: 5:35 PM ET
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