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.