The colors of Autumn make the season a favorite for so many. While the beauty of summer and spring come from your hard work in the garden, Mother Nature takes over once the weather begins to cool. Still, while trees put on a display of color naturally, your lawn won’t magically transform into top shape. The summer sun takes its toll on even the most well maintained lawns, and come Autumn you may want to reseed.
Unlike last year, we’re experiencing a little more traditional temperatures for the beginning of September. Under normal conditions like these, September is the best time to reseed. In September, soil temperatures are usually between 65-75 degrees, the optimal temperature for growing seed.
The process begins with an examination of the lawn. There’s bound to be signs of wear and tear after the scorching summer we just experienced, although you may not need to reseed the whole thing. If you’ve been neglecting your lawn and find it’s overrun with weeds, you’ll have to dethatch the whole yard and apply a weed control treatment.
Once you’ve sized up the situation, prepare the lawn for seeding by mowing and dethatching. These steps allow the seed to get settled on the soil. The mowing process is simple; mow as you always do just set the blades at the lowest possible setting.
Dethatching requires a little more work depending on whether or not you have the proper equipment. If you don’t own a power rake or dethatcher, you can rent one from several hardware stores. Run the rake over the grass to remove the debris. Once it’s cleared out, it’s time to lay seed!
Before we go further, it’s important to highlight the different types of grass seed you may want to lay. We have a more in-depth page here, but the cliff notes version here should give you enough information to make a decision.
Yards that are filled with sandy soils should plant fescues. Fescues enjoy sandy soil because it allows their long roots to grow with freedom beneath the earth. They’ll germinate in just two weeks when planted in sandy soil! If you have clay soil instead consider rye or bluegrass seed. The rye seed is a particularly good choice as Winter approaches, as it germinates in just 7-10 days!
Now it’s time to lay the seed you chose. If you’re reseeding a big area it makes sense to use a mechanical seeder, but for smaller spots laying it by hand works great as well. Plant about 16 seeds per square inch, or use a spreader for an easier time. They don’t need to be buried, rather they should simply lay on the soil.
Once you’ve planted, water well but don’t over do it. The soil should be damp, not puddly. You can kill your seed by overwatering, so make sure you’re cautious.
Birds love to prey on grass seed, but you can deter them by adding elements to the landscape that scare them away. Wind chimes do a great job, as do many other noise making decorations.
One of the biggest myths about reseeding involves the use of hay to keep birds from eating the seeds. Hay contains weed seeds, which ultimately will send your lawn back to square one. Instead, try using Greenview Seed Accelerator or Dewitt Straw TackSak.
Greenview Seed Accelerator was created at Penn State University about a decade ago. It’s made from recycled newspaper, which holds lots of water and promotes faster germination. It also spurs growth with fertilizer engineered to help strong roots develop.
DeWitt Straw TackSak is a sack of straw seeding mulch designed to stop erosion and speed up germination. TackSak is made of finely processed straw, cut twice and processed with a bonding agent that gives straw a tackiness which holds it together and protects grass seed from heavy washout, runoff and wind.
And that’s it! By following these steps you’ll have a beautiful lawn to enjoy through autumn and into next summer. Having a healthy lawn in the spring begins with care in autumn.
If you have any additional questions please visit our store or give us a call! Every lawn has slightly different needs so please come as our lawn experts to create a blueprint for your lawn’s success. We’re here for you.