Fall Lawn Preparation – The Time is NOW!
Late summer or early autumn is a great time for fall overseeding to heal cool-season lawns that have been damaged by summer drought, diseases, lawn damaging insects or foot traffic. That’s because cool-season grasses, as their name implies, grow best when air temperatures are between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Common cool-season grasses found in our lawns include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrasses and fescues.
When to do fall overseeding
Of course, cooler fall weather arrives earlier the further north you go, so the timing of fall overseeding depends more upon daily temperatures than it does on the calendar. A good rule of thumb is to overseed early enough in either late summer or early fall to give the turfgrass seed time to germinate and the resulting seedlings time to mature to the point where they can survive the winter and begin growing again when spring arrives.
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How to do fall overseeding
This involves selecting the best grass seed to use for fall overseeding and then applying it to the lawn correctly, and in the proper amount, with either a rotary or drop spreader. This also requires some knowledge of the types of turfgrass so the new grass matches (as much as possible) the appearance of the lawn where it’s being seeded. It also requires some mathematical calculations so that you apply the correct amount of seed to the lawn.
Fall aeration and overseeding
Since germination depends upon seed-to-soil contact, fall overseeding is often combined with lawn aeration, which pulls cores of soil from the lawn so that water, air and nutrients have easier access to turfgrass roots. The resulting holes in the soil also give the new turfgrass seedlings favorable conditions to grow and mature, assuming they receive frequent light watering and are fertilized properly.
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Benefits of overseeding in the fall:
- Fills in areas of turf damaged by summer stress, diseases or lawn damaging insects.
- Thickens and increases the density of thin lawns.
- Improves the lawn’s appearance.
- Enhances the lawn’s ability to fight lawn damaging insects and diseases.
credit: TruGreen Lawn