Posts Tagged ‘over seeding’

Fall lawn seeding in NH & VT

Fall is a superior time to establish an entirely new lawn or to simply fix a dead patch.  Both projects involve preparation of the site and subsequent seeding with an appropriate grass type best suited for the location.  The lawn pictured in this blog post was completed by our company less than a month ago and shows excellent progress within a short period of time.  This is due to warm soil, cooler days, excellent topsoil mixed with compost, high calcium lime for improved seed germination/pH adjustment, and lots of grass seed.  Like making a fine chili, the ingredients may seem simple- yet putting them all together in the proper sequence is paramount to success.  Whether you are undertaking a few square feet to 6,000 sqft as pictured in this lawn renovation- execution is as vital as the quality ingredients to achieve a new lawn area.

If you are going to do the lawn repair/installation yourself be sure to order quality loam mixed with compost if available.  Make sure you have enough time and a small tractor to move the loam if you are receiving a truck load or more.  Two experienced people can install a large lawn area in a weekend if the project has been thought out ahead of time.  Having the proper seed variety is not as easy as it may seem or the quantity.  Most grass varieties will call for 8 to 14lbs per 1,000sqft depending upon the type.  Rye and Tall Fescue have much larger seeds then Bluegrass or some shade varieties so more or less will be needed as a result.  The best lawns take thought and using a house brand or a generic “sun” or “shade” mix is often not the answer or solution for achieving a long term turf area.

Applying a slow release fertilizer with high calcium lime are additional tools to help the seed establish itself and put down a root system- all critical phases in the first 2 to 3 weeks.  Using hay adds weed seeds so stick to straw or nothing at all.  If a lawn is properly rolled to insure good seed to soil contact- you will get germination in the presence of adequate moisture.  Straw helps on slopes or areas that may not receive adequate water.  Seed nets or mats are very useful on steep slopes where you want to establish anything to help stop erosion.

The soil will stay warm into early November, especially around houses and southern or western exposures.  Since grass must undergo a physical change over winter- any grass established now will have a head start next year in terms of survival.  While larger projects may be put on hold until spring in terms of renovation- gambling with smaller areas are often worth the roll of the dice to get grass setup for the following year.  Location is key when it comes to making the call whether to embark on spot seeding or not in the fall.  If in doubt, seek the advice of a professional for options.  Fall seeding in NH & VT are great times to repair damage caused by summer heat and drought.

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Think Aeration & Overseeding this fall

 

 

 

 

Why aerate in the fall and why overseed?

Aeration can be done almost anytime with the spring and the fall being the best time periods.  The main reason fall takes an edge over spring is due to a few important facts.  First, the soil is already warm from the summer so seed will germinate much faster compared to the spring.  Second, annual weeds like crabgrass or spurge have completed their life cycles and are on the way out (dying) instead of growing larger.  The reduced competition is most helpful to young turf plants which don’t have to compete for air, light, moisture, and nutrients in the fall.  Most lawns will benefit from additional seeding, whether in existing established turf or thinner lawn areas.  Overseeding is not designed to create a lawn in bare areas but add to existing lawn regardless of the condition (great to thin).  The primary reason to overseed your lawn after aeration would be to introduce a superior grade grass into the lawn.  A perfect overseeding example would be where the kids play or an area that dries out frequently.  Adding a drought tolerant turf such as tall fescue is a wonderful tactic to add new grass and upgrade the lawn area while not undertaking a costly renovation.  In most situations, working with the existing lawn is a faster and more economical position than starting from scratch.  Since turf usually takes a hit in summer heat, being proactive for the next year is critical since the window of opportunity only comes twice a year!

What is thatch?

Thatch is defined as living and non-living “stuff” lying between the upper turf blades and the soil.  A thatch layer between 0-1/2” is considered healthy but one approaching 1” or greater resists water absorption like a dry sponge.  Excessive thatch also encourages many types of insects and disease issues.  Aeration is also useful for reducing compaction in clay or heavily used lawn areas.  Aeration may seem simple enough, but it is a very labor intensive process- especially when using our heavy, commercial grade machines.  While you may be able to rent a small aerator, a large benefit derived from a larger unit provides deeper hole, especially in compacted soil.  If you do decide to rent an aerator- be sure the tine tips are not worn down.  Aeration is especially beneficial when followed by over seeding to thicken and add improved grass varieties.

Commercial grade aerators physically remove plugs from your lawn which improves water, moisture, and nutrient absorption into the soil while enhancing root growth and thatch decomposition.  Dethatching machines slice the lawn creating large volumes of plant debris and can often cause extensive damage if not used properly.  Aeration is recommended on all lawns on a yearly basis while dethatching is only left to the most mature, thick lawns with a thatch near 1” as a renovating process.

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