How to Restore Your Lawn and Prepare It for Fall in Middle Tennessee

The grass isn’t always greener. Sometimes, it looks dull, lifeless, and brown — especially after an intense summer heatwave in Middle Tennessee.

In August, temperatures reached highs of 110 degrees, causing temperature warnings to be issued in several counties. The heat was so bad that it forced Robertson County schools to dismiss two hours early and cancel many outdoor events.

Although we seem to be saying goodbye to unbearable scorching temperatures, the effects of summer heat are still visible on our lawns. Tennessee’s main type of grass, tall fescue, thrives in cool temperatures. High heat and humidity can cause it to thin.

The reason so many of our neighbors to the north have such beautiful lawns is because they don’t experience the kind of heat we do in Tennessee, said Richard Pearl, lawn care manager at Drew’s Lawn and Landscape. (True, but we have sweet tea and fried okra.)

So how can we revive our grass and prepare it for the upcoming fall season?

Water the right way

You’re probably thinking: “Isn’t there just one way to water a lawn?”

In fact, there is no.

In order to promote a healthy, beautiful lawn, watering should be done during certain hours of the day, and a specific number of times per week.

Lawns should receive one inch of water per week, which equates to about 30 minutes of watering three days a week, or 20 minutes four days a week, Pearl said. Watering should be done before 10 am so that the soil can absorb the water.

“Once it gets to the heat of the day, (the water) will sit on top,” he said. “The sun will cause it to evaporate so that the water never gets where it should go.”

Give your garden its daily dose of vitamins!

“Fertilizing a lawn is the same as a human taking vitamins,” Pearl said. “It’s basically just giving that grass the vitamins it needs to stay healthy all year long.”

Fertilization promotes a healthy root system, allowing the grass to withstand heavy traffic as well as maintain its green color year-round. Applying fertilizer can also help stimulate the roots and green up some of the brown.

What is the best way to prepare lawns for fall?

Fall is the perfect time to recover, Pearl said. Two ways to ensure our lawns thrive throughout the cold season is by aerating and seeding during September or October.

Aerating the soil allows water, air and nutrients to reach the roots, and also allows us to introduce new seeds into the soil, which will result in better results with the new grass.

“When we’re thirsty, we give ourselves water. When we don’t feel well, we give ourselves the nutrients we need. The grass speaks to us,” Pearl said.

Diana Leyva covers breaking and trending news for The Tennessean. Contact her at or follow her on X at @_leyvadiana

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