If your lawn is thin or full of weeds it is time to reseed. Spring or fall is the best time of the year to renovate your lawn. There is usually plenty of rain and the temperatures are cool which is ideal for grass seed to germinate and establish.
Step 1- Test the pH of Your Soil
The first step to successful lawn care is to make sure the pH of your soil is in the correct range for optimum growth. When soil is too acidic nutrients get trapped in the soil and cannot be used by the grass plants. Applying lime helps to release these nutrients so the grass can easily extract them from the soil. The best range is a 6.5 to 7 on the pH scale. Dees’ has easy to use kits that will allow you to perform the test at home. You may also bring in a cup of dry soil to our lawn & garden experts and we can perform a FREE test while you wait.
Step 2- Remove Weeds
All weeds in your lawn should be removed before you reseed. Do this by pulling them out by hand. If there are too many weeds in your lawn then consider spraying a safe and effective lawn weed control such as Bonide Weed Beater Ultra. This weed control does not harm your established grass and is highly effective in cool weather. You can reseed 2 weeks after the application. Always refer to the application rates on the bottle of weed control.
Step 3- Thatch & Remove Leaves and Debris
Thatch is a layered mass of dead grass blades and roots which accumulate between your actively growing turf and the soil. This layer can restrict the movement of air, water and fertilizer to the roots of the grass plant. This layer will also inhibit good seed germination because new grass seed needs to be in contact with the soil to germinate. Remove thatch by using a specialized thatch rake or rent a gas powered thatcher. These tools will remove this layer and expose the soil but will not remove your established turf. Rake up this thatch and any leaves or debris and add it to your compost pile or discard in the trash.
Step 4- Mow Your Lawn Short
Mow your lawn very short prior to applying your seed. This will make it easier for the seed to make contact with the soil. It will also make the final step of top dressing more effective. This cut will also help remove any small debris that you were unable to rake up after thatching
Step 5- Aerate Your Lawn
Oxygen in the root zone is just as important as water for your lawn. Compaction of the soil eliminates air pockets of oxygen and results in shallow rooted plants that are more susceptible to drought, weeds and insects. Compaction will happen over time due to lawn mowing, foot traffic, pets and heavy snow. Use lawn aerator shoes while you cut the grass or rent a lawn core aerator to correct this problem.
Step 6- Apply a Seed Starting Fertilizer
Apply Jonathan Green New Seeding Lawn Fertilizer which is great for root building. This will help the new grass seedlings develop a good root system as well as re-establish your existing lawn. Always use a fertilizer spreader and follow the spreader application settings on the back of the bag. Remember that more is NOT always better when applying fertilizer.
Step 7- Seed Your Lawn
Determine the type of grass seed you will need based on your light conditions, availability of moisture and amount of traffic your lawn receives. Do not ruin all of your hard work in the previous steps with a low quality “bargain” seed. Let us help you select the best grass seed for your lawn. To apply the seed evenly we recommend using a spreader to sow the seed as opposed to broadcasting it by hand. Don’t be concerned when you notice very little seed going down on the ground. Remember that one seed does not equal one blade of grass, each seed germinates and becomes a large clump of many grass blades. Spreader settings are on the back of all quality bags of grass seed.
Step 8- Apply a Top Dressing to Seed
Spread a thin layer of good top soil or compost over your newly reseeded lawn. This will not only help protect the new seedlings but also helps keep them moist during the early stages of their development. Bumper Crop Soil Conditioner or Scotts Lawn Soil are perfect for this application. The easiest way to do this is by spreading it with your hands then running a rake over the entire area to settle it below the established turf blades.
After you have completed the work it is important to water your lawn properly to keep the seedlings moist. Water frequently but do not let puddles form. Puddles will cause seed runoff and an unevenly seeded lawn. Keep children, pets and heavy traffic off the lawn until it matures into an established turf.