Robert Tigner Nebraska Extension Educator has some lawn mowing tips for fall.
Mowing – Continue to mow at the same height used during spring and summer. A height of 2.5 to 3.5 inches is best for cool season turfgrass. Return grass clippings to the turf. Mow often enough so as not to remove more than one-third of the total canopy height at one time. Mowing at the shorter end of the recommended range will require more frequent mowing than at the higher end of the range. Mowing too infrequently – called scalping- accelerates growth rate, reduces quality and canopy density, and encourages weed encroachment.
Aeration should not be overlooked. Core aeration, or plugging, is an important turf practice that is needed to relieve soil compaction and promote a vigorous root system along with infiltration of rain and irrigation water. Because of summer annual weed pressure in spring, lawn aeration is preferred in fall for cool season turfgrasses; and needed if soil compaction exists. Use the vertical type that pulls cores; preferably do not use a drum aerator.
Fall fertilization windows are late summer (late August into September) and early fall (late September through October). In late summer, apply 0.50 to 0.75 lbs. of nitrogen fertilizer per 1000 square feet to help turf recover from summer stress. Check nitrogen sources on label and select a produce that is 50% fast release nitrogen (N) and 50% slow release N. Young lawns (less than 10 years old) and lawns with poor density and quality can benefit from a mid-fall fertilizer application. For this, fertilizers should contain mostly water soluble (WSN) nitrogen sources.