Healthy green turf in October

Lawn Care in October – The Ultimate 2023 Guide

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

Updated on

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We’re now nearing the end of the annual lawn care season, friends. It’s a little bittersweet as we have a final domination sendoff for Halloween, to only soon put our lawns to bed for a long winter’s nap.

But if you want to have another beautiful lawn next fall, do not miss these October lawn care tips!

As part of my month-by-month lawn care calendar, here’s the lawn care tips overview for October 2022.

October Cool Season Grasses Tips

Lawn Fertilizer

If you’ve aerated and overseed as part of your September lawn care, then your grass seeds should be germinated by now. If not, check the frost schedule for your zone. Ideally, you want to mow your new cool-season grass at least 2-3 times before the first major frost.

If you have time, fill in the bare spots of your lawn with grass seed and lightly rake into the soil surface to get the best seed to soil contact. This should be done early in the month. Choose perennial ryegrass, turf-type tall fescue, or Kentucky bluegrass, or a blend of all three (like Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra ), and grab a bag of one of the best starter fertilizers and lime.

Be sure to continue to feed your cool-season lawn in October with a fast-release nitrogen fertilizer. For nitrogen blitz, you can use low nitrogen fertilizer or a high nitrogen fertilizer (ideally the latter like a 46-0-0 urea nitrogen), as long as you’re applying a total of 1 lb. of Nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. in a month. Try spoon-feeding 0.5 lbs. of N per 1,000 square feet every two weeks. Try our fertilizer calculator to take the math and guesswork out of it.

Spread granular fertilizer evenly across your entire lawn. Continuing to push growth on your new grass will result in a healthy lawn next spring. Plus, the extra nitrogen and nutrients will result in a greener lawn which is ideal for Halloween domination.

You can feed and fertilize anytime in October.

Lawn Watering

You can slow down the watering, and water less frequently. In fact, I’ll be shutting down my irrigation system this month. For those that spot seeded, water and keep the grass seed moist for quicker germination. Once established, continue to spoon-feed your new grass and lawn with nitrogen fertilizer (as we said above).

October is also a great time to apply a top dressing to incorporate more organic matter into your lawns and soil. The next best time to do this is in the spring when the grass is actively growing.

October Lawn Mowing

As previously mentioned, start to cut your lawn slightly shorter throughout the early fall. The days and nights are cool and days are much shorter. Continuing to mow your lawn frequently – with the extra lawn feedings – will help thicken the turf and strengthen the grassroots. As always, stick to the 1/3 grass cutting rule.

Late October Lawn Mowing

Try to mow a little lower. Your final mow of the season should be close to two inches (without scalping your lawn). Shorter grass blades will flop over less and therefore be less susceptible to winter snow mold. I also prefer to bag my grass clippings, especially for the final mowings.

Clean up leaves and debris. Stay on top of this as you want to have a clean lawn before the hard frost and snow.

Skipping Ahead

Your final winter fertilizer should contain fast-release nitrogen and plenty of potassium. I love the 10-0-20 by Jonathan Green but should be generally be applied in November. This should go down before the ground freezes and the first snow fall. Adding lime for lawns will help adjust the soil pH. And a dose of Propiconazole 14.3 at 4 oz. per 1,000 sq. ft. right before the first snowfall will help mitigate the chances of snow mold.

Broadleaf Weed Control

After you’ve mowed your new grass 2-3 times, you can address lawn weeds such as wild violet. If there are just a few weeds, you can hand pull those. If there are more winter weeds and broadleaf weeds, use a selective weed killer herbicide.

October Lawn Maintenance FAQs

Is it too late to fertilize my lawn in October?

No. October is a great time to fertilize – warm-season lawns, too! If you have a warm-season lawn in Florida, your fertilizer ban has probably lifted and you can begin to apply nitrogen fertilizer again.

What should I put on my lawn in the fall?

Fall is a great time for lawn food (balanced Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium), lime or gypsum, and treating broadleaf weeds (winter weeds).

Should you fertilize your lawn in October?

Yes. Fertilizing lawns in October is a great time to feed turf, both up north and southern warm-season grasses.

Can I weed and feed my lawn in October?

October is a great time to feed your lawn and tackle winter weeds, too. For best results, use a separate broadleaf weed killer (such as EndRun) and nitrogen fertilizer. Weed and feed is generally Step 2, and better applied in the late spring.

Can I scarify my lawn in October?

No, it’s too late in the season to scarify a lawn. The turf is slowing down its growth in October and preparing for winter. Scarifying will stress the lawn, making it unable to repair itself before the frost and cold winter months.

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

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