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How to Prepare Your Lawn for Fall in South Carolina

Posted by Bill True on Friday, September 20th, 2019 at 12:35pm.

fertilizing South Carolina lawn

That green, healthy grass on your South Carolina property doesn’t grow overnight. It takes persistence, patience, and proper care. Preparing your lawn for the fall and winter will help it thrive in spring and summer.

With average high temperatures in the upper 50s in winter and low 90s in summer, the area gets less than 6 inches of rain each month. Keeping the grass trimmed, well-hydrated, weed-free, and fertilized in the fall will help your lawn thrive. Fall is a good time to get South Carolina yard grass ready for cooler temperatures.

Here's a guide on how to prepare your lawn for fall in South Carolina:

Know Your Grass

Warm-season grasses are suitable for South Carolina. Chances are, your yard contains one or more of these types:

  • Bermuda
  • Bahia
  • Carpet
  • Centipede
  • St. Augustine
  • Zoysia

Soil condition is an important factor for the lawn; the ideal pH balance for most grass types is slightly acidic — just below the neutral mark of 7.0.

If your sod consists of Carpetgrass or Centipedegrass, an acidic balance of 7.0 or less also keeps iron chlorosis at bay. Turfgrass can grow in sandy, clay and marl-like soils. Carpetgrass prefers moist dirt, but Bahia can weather a drought.

Lawn Prep

Lawn mover adjustmentNow that temperatures are cooling off, make a to-do list for autumn.

When cutting grass, keep the mower blades low at a shorter shear. Do not remove clippings from the turf as they're an excellent organic fertilizer. You should also re-emergent herbicides will help to keep weeds from popping up.

A few leaves on the ground won’t hurt, but you must rake heavy lawn debris and dead deciduous tree foliage—especially after the fall drop.

Rake every few days if possible, so that there won’t be too many at one time when the trees are empty. Wet, dead leaves stick together and create soggy carpets that invite fungi and suffocates the grass.


Grass needs about an inch of water per week during the fall, and rainfall may not be enough. Check all sprinklers and spigots for leaks.


Aerating South Carolina lawnGrass roots need nutrients, oxygen, and moisture. Aerating the lawn lets those roots spread, especially in heavy soil.

You can rent a gas-powered or battery-operated aerator that punches holes and extracts dirt plugs from the sod. For larger lawns, you'll want to hire a landscaper who can do the work quickly.


When overseeding a South Carolina lawn, it’s crucial to choose the right product. Ryegrass, for example, is perfect for South Carolina lawns—especially after the lawn has entered dormancy. Ryegrass also keeps new, unestablished grass from becoming eroded.

Overseeding with the wrong variety can hurt warm-season grass because emerging blades will compete with the existing turf for nutrients, sunlight, and moisture.

Ryegrass thrives in shade and sunshine. Perennial cultivars resist disease but they are only meant for overseeding—not for a complete lawn. Overseed with ryegrass in the fall. All-in-one mixtures of grass seed, fertilizer, and organic mulch are good for bare areas in the lawn.


Grass blades grow slowly when the weather cools down, but their roots and rhizomes grow quickly. Fertilizing Carolina lawns during September, October, and November gives them a head start for the spring. Use a broadcast spreader to add dry lawn fertilizer to grassy areas.

Tending to your yard isn’t rocket science and requires only a few basic tools, but it’s important that you give your lawn care year-round. Yard work isn’t just a spring and summer chore, especially if you want it to look nice for seasons to come. Timing is everything — so be sure to do those autumn chores.

If you overseed too late, the tiny tender plants may not survive a temperature drop. The same thing for fertilizing; roots won’t be able to absorb nutrients. Aerating in spring allows weeds to flourish. Fall is the time for planting!

For more information on homes in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, contact one of our trusted real estate agents today!

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