When Is The Best Time For Lawn Reseeding
Traditionally most lawn reseeding was done in the autumn when there was good natural moisture and moderate temperatures. With todays weather, you can consider reseeding in spring as well , with some useful advantages: trees will not be dropping leaves onto the newly seeded areas sunlight can permeate the less-thickly leaved trees you might get sufficient rainfall to avoid additional watering and the slowly rising temperatures will help encourage this earlier germination.
Dormant Seeding Lawns: Last Chore Of The Season
Bob Mugaas, University of Minnesota Extension Educator
Photo 1 : Thin lawn area that could benefit from dormant seeding. Bob Mugaas.
One last shot at lawn improvement can be done even yet this fall. By early November, most lawn care chores and activities are completed lawn mowers are put away, watering has ended, hoses are drained and stored for the winter, irrigation systems have been blown out and winterized and, the last, late season nitrogen fertilizer has been put down. Yet, there remains one activity that can still be done to help repair or thicken the lawn for next year. In fact, prior to the early part of November , it would be have been too early to do this task. That task is known as dormant seeding. It is best employed when wanting to reseed bare soil areas or help thicken up thin lawns. It is not as effective, where lawns are thick and dense with little opportunity to achieve the good seed to soil contact necessary for the grass seeds to germinate and grow next spring.
Aerate & Dethatch Your Lawn
Aerate stressed lawns to encourage good root development before the upcoming winter. Aeration helps loosen compacted soil and create a better grass growing environment.
Aerating and de-thatching are best done when a lawn can take some abuse and recover easily. Fall is perfect due to the cool air temperatures and warm soil temperatures. Dethatching and aerating should be done before over-seeding to ensure the seed makes direct contact with the soil. Homeowners and landscapers can now rent from a large selection of machines that have attachments for de-thatching, spike aeration, and core aeration . Using Natural Guard Soil Activator is a good way to naturally help the thatch in your yard break down.
If there is excess thatch present, use a dethatching rake to eliminate the dead matter.
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Care For The Young Grass
Once that new fescue lawn comes up, youve got to keep it up. And its going to take some special lawn care practices.
Prepare to nurse your new lawn for about two months, says the Maryland guide.
It also recommends keeping foot traffic off young seedlings for at least a month, as theyre easily injured.
Keep weeds out, too. All that tilling, fertilizing and watering that goes along with establishing new grass from seed also helps establish weeds. Early on, its best to pull those weeds by hand.
The control of annual grass weeds such as crabgrass can be a challenge too, the guide says. Broadleaf herbicides should not be applied until the lawn has grown sufficiently to be mowed three times.
Water The New Grass Seed
The ground needs to be consistently moist for the grass seed to germinate. Continue watering lightly, so the soil does not become hard or baked. How often to water grass seed depends on the weather. On hot and windy days youll need to water several times a day. If you are keeping the ground consistently moist, you should see baby grass popping up in 7-10 days. If you do not see any germination in that timeframe, you may not be watering often enough so, increase your watering frequency.
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Winterizing A Sprinkler System
You can pay the irrigation company $125 every year to blow out your sprinkler system, or you can use your air compressor and do it yourself. You just have to be careful not to leave any water in the line or it might freeze over the winter and burst a pipe. Also be aware that even the largest home compressor isnt powerful enough to blow out the entire system at once, so youll probably have to blow it out zone by zone.
If youre into number-crunching and you have the original irrigation layout showing the gallons per minute of each sprinkler head, just divide the total gpm of each zone by 7.5. Thatll give you the cubic feet per minute your compressor needs to blow out the zone. Otherwise, just rent a 10-cfm compressor and hose from your local tool rental center.
Set the compressor air-pressure regulator to a maximum of 80 psi for rigid PVC pipe systems, or 50 psi for flexible black polyethylene pipe. Then turn off the water supply and set the system timer to open just one zone. Next, open the manual drain valve at the end of that zone .
Close off both valves on the backflow preventer. Then remove the plug on the blow-out port and screw in a quick-connect hose adapter. Snap on the air hose and connect the other end to the compressor . Then blow out the line. The heads should pop up and spit out water. Disconnect the hose as soon as they run dry.
How Should I Water The Areas Of Lawn I Have Reseeded
Watering new seed is very different to if you were watering a lawn. Seed germinates by absorbing moisture into the seed pod, swelling up and popping or germinating. So, watering for short bursts will stop the seed from drying out. Water soaked through the lawn is of no use to seed at all.
There is no rule of thumb when it comes to how quickly seed can germinate. Soil temperatures, moisture availability, depth of seed and light availability all play their part. Also, some grass species are larger and can germinate much quicker than others. Ultimately, however, the correct moisture in the surface and moderate soil temperatures are key to quickening up this process.
How do I look after the new seedlings?
To grow into strong plants, seedlings need foods, and they need it early. Generally, seedlings like phosphates, although some nitrogen is also useful. Traditionally you would of looked for a quick-release fertiliser with a fairly high middle number, such as 5-10-5. Apply either when sowing the seed or when you first see germination, at 35-70 grams per square metre.
If an organic feed is preferred, we recommend True Grass organic fertiliser. Through our own testing we found this helps seedlings germinate faster and the lawn to thicken quicker than conventional fertilisers. Simply apply the organic granules into and over the seeded area and then top the feed up again when germination has occurred as the new grass plants will soon use it.
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Prep The Overseeding Site
Mow the existing lawn short, says the Nebraska Extension. Cut to about 1.5 inches before overseeding, so the new seedlings can compete with the existing grass and weeds.
A short cut also helps sunlight reach new seedlings and prevents seeds from getting stuck in the vegetation. Unlike most occasions, when mulching grass clippings is good for your lawn, bag the clippings for this mow so they dont interfere.
Thatch also impedes growth from new seed, so its next on the to-do list.
Nebraska says its important to have less than a quarter-inch of thatch when overseeding.
If you have a thicker layer of thatch than that, use a power rake, aerator or another tool to dethatch your lawn. The North Carolina Extension recommends aerating to reduce soil compaction and help increase soil to seed contact. Holes left when you aerate also capture seeds and hold moisture, leading tall fescue seedlings to come up in tufts from the core aeration holes.
Good recommends a verticutter, which cuts vertical slits into the soil.
One of the most important things, when youre overseeding a lawn, is getting soil contact with the seed, he says.
A verticutter, or vertical mower, makes sure the seed comes into contact with the soil once you spread it.
Some homeowners will also apply topsoil as a topdressing when overseeding. It provides some germination, but using existing soil and verticutting is a much better method, Good says.
Think About What You Want To Accomplish With Overseeding
Most people, when they think about overseeding, think about doing it to help out a lawn that has thinned.
However, it can be best to think about overseeding as a preventative measure. Overseeding can help prevent weeds from taking over your lawn.
No matter why youre overseeding your lawn, once you have your goals straight, then you can think about how to overseed properly.
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Spreading And Nurturing The Seed
Choose The Right Seed
Most Canadian lawns are a blend of perennial ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, and fescues. But all grass seeds are not created equal, top quality grass seeds improve the results exponentially and can make the entire process much easier. So it’s important to choose a high-quality mixture such as Scotts® Turf Builder® Coated Grass Seed, specially formulated by the lawn experts at Scotts Canada for quick coverage and a long-lasting lawn in a variety of conditions. Scotts’ experts say that the amount of sun exposure is the most important determinant in choosing the right blend for your lawn. A Sun and Shade Mix is the best all-purpose choice while other mixes such as Sunny, Shady, Heat & Drought etc. are available for those specific conditions.
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Consistent Soil Moisture Is Key
Take advantage of the season, when cooler temperatures and more consistent soil moisture make things less stressful for delicate, newly forming grass blades. Fall rains tend to be gentler than those in spring, allowing the water to soak into the soil where it will do some good. In addition, less irrigation is required because the hottest weather will have passed. Weeds and pests are less prevalent, too, lessening competition and stress on new grass.
Our fall lawn care guide shows you how to ensure a greener lawn next spring.
Watering Thoroughly But Not Too Much
Once the seeds have been properly sown and lightly incorporated into the existing soil, water the area thoroughly and leave until next spring. By this time of year, our cool to cold temperatures and short days will help keep the areas moist far longer than in summer. While just barely damp soil is okay, it is important that the area does not become soggy and saturated with water. If the weather does turn a little warmer and drier and the area starts to dry out, it may be necessary to lightly water the area just to keep it damp and prevent it from becoming too dry. However, in most cases it will be unnecessary to do this.
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How Much Seed To Apply
The amount needed for overseeding lawns are usually recorded on the label. It is different with different seed varieties. The rates can be adjusted depending on the thickness of your lawn. If you currently overseed on an annual basis, less seed is preferred.
- Use 2 to 4 lbs per 1000 sq. ft if your lawns is thick already. It is more of a maintenance activity for thicker lawns.
- When overseeding lawns with open dirt areas and other trouble spots, use 4 to 8 lbs per 1000 sq. ft.
- For complete renovation, 8 to 12 lbs per 1000 sq. ft. may be needed.
- Make sure you follow good irrigation techniques for the best results. It may take a couple of years, overseeding each year, for the lawn to look it best.
- Remember a key point when overseeding lawns: Try not to apply too much seed, and I emphasize “too much“. Thick, vibrant lawns are created over time as plants grow and enlarge. Applying so much seed in an attempt get a super thick lawn in three months may lead to overcrowding as plants mature.
Golf courses often use 15 to 30 lbs of seed when overseeding important areas. Why? Because they have an extremely high user expectation. They don’t have the luxury of “allowing it to grow in over time.” They know how much of a particular seed the turf can handle. Don’t try to follow their example or you may create problems for yourself.
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If you are not completely satisfied with an All American Turf Beauty application to your lawn, we will re-apply the application at no additional cost and continue the regular lawn treatment program. Alternately, we will fully refund your cost for the application and cancel any further obligation on your part.
To qualify for the guarantee, you must call All American Turf Beauty within 30 days of application.
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Three: Watering And Maintenance
Watering is one of the most important aspects of successful overseeding. You need to water the seeds into your lawn immediately after spreading, and continue to water daily until the seeds germinate, which can take up to two weeks. The first watering should be a heavy watering . After that, your watering can be lighter. Once the grass has germinated, be sure to water every few days giving the grass a good deep soaking. When the grass is fully established and the same height as the existing lawn, water it according to the instructions for that type of grass. While the new grass is getting established, try to limit activity on the lawn and avoid mowing as long as possible. Once the grass is the same height as the existing lawn, you can continue to mow as you normally would.
When Is The Best Time For Overseeding Lawns
When to overseed lawn depends on the type of seeds you are planting. In northern climates overseeding should be performed 45 days before the planting zones first frost. This is ideal for strengthening a weak or thinning lawn. Strengthening turf in the spring is best done when the threat of all freezes has passed their region.
Those living in southern climates with warm-season grasses should overseed to obtain winter colour, when temperatures have dropped below 65 degrees at night consistently. Prepare the area properly prior during elevated soil temperatures to promote germination.
How to Overseed a Lawn
You will need:
Step One: Mow and Rake
Begin the overseeding process by mowing your lawn on the lowest setting and bagging the clippings. Next, rake the lawn to remove any loose grass or debris, further exposing the soil to accommodate the new seed.
Step Two: Amend the Soil
Add a thin layer of one-quarter of an inch or less of enriched soil over the existing grass and gently rake it in to provide a healthy environment for the new seeds to settle into.
Step Three: Add the Seeds
Fill the seed spreader and adjust the settings according to the directions on the label, and apply over the entire area, refilling as needed. For smaller areas, you may want to use a hand spreader while a drop or broadcast spreader is more suitable for larger lawns.
Step Four: Feed the Grass
Step Five: Water the Lawn
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For Overseeding Preparation Is Key
When you begin to overseed your lawn, you have to prepare the area. To prepare your lawn for overseeding:
- Mow your lawn shorter than you normally would.
- Remove all of the clippings .
- Loosen the turf with a rake.
Mow your lawn shorter than usual to improve the percentage of seed that contacts the soil.
Youll also want to delay mowing your new grass after overseeding. Mowing your lawn close will buy you some extra time before you have to mow. Mowing too early can rip your new grass out because it wont have strong enough roots.
For normal mowing I recommend mowing 1/3 of the grass length. When overseeding, get closer to 2/3 of the grass length cut and raked.
After mowing and bagging your clippings,, rake over the area to remove all excess clippings and debris and to begin to turn over the soil, so it is ready to receive the new seed.
Raking is a good way to loosen the soil in your lawn so your grass seed has good contact. Without good soil contact, your seed wont germinate and grow.
I go over my lawn with an iron rake to loosen the turf.