We are rapidly approaching the best time for grass seeding. In our area, the middle of September is the start of the fall grass season. While it is too early to put down seed right now, it is the perfect time to get some of the preparation done. Soil preparation is an often overlooked but extremely important- possibly the most important- step to a quality lawn. It is heartbreaking to see quality seed and quality fertilizer put down on poor quality, unprepared soil; this will minimize success and be expensive!
If you have a number of weeds, we still have time to put down a weed killer to control weeds without damaging your existing lawn. Take your time to read the product's label; some products have temperature restrictions and a period of time that you have to wait to put down your new seed. We recommend Monterey Crab-E-Rad for this time of year. It is labeled for crabgrass and many broad leaved weeds. If you did want to avoid spraying, you could also use a de-thatcher, which cuts up the dense lawn. This allows you to rake up the cut up weeds and remove them. This powerful machine can be rented from your local small engine shop or hardware store.
Core aeration is also an important step in preparation for lawn seeding. Lawns, like most plants, have a hard time growing in compacted soil. Core aerators remove pieces of soil to allow for airflow and allow for roots to quickly expand. Ideally, the machine is run in both directions across the lawn for maximum aeration. If bare spots exist, or if the soil is especially dense, a light layer of sphagnum peat moss or a lightweight compost can be spread afterwards. This will fill the small holes from the aerator and prevent them from closing up, while providing a nice "bed" for your lawn seed to start. Seeding and fertilizing should be done immediately after the soil is physically prepared; waiting can cause the surface to smooth out giving less contact with your grass seed.
Dethatching and core aerating should be done on moist soil, make sure this is supplied either by rain or by running a sprinkler for a few days in advance of the renovation. Putting time into the soil preparation will give your lawn the head start it needs and make you a more successful gardener in the end!
Come see us with questions,
Mark & Brendan