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Spring Lawn Renovation
As warm weather returns this spring and you review the status of your turf, it may be tempting to renovate your lawn with over-seeding of new grass seed. It's only natural to think of spring as the perfect time for seeding your lawn with new growth everywhere we look. However, the truth is that the late summer- early fall season is a better time to seed.
SPRING SEEDING CHALLENGES
Several factors can interfere with spring seed establishment:
Soil is still cool in the spring, so germination is slower than during the late summer and fall.
Because pre-emergent materials actually stop seeds from sprouting, seeding should not be done during the same season as the pre-emergent crabgrass application.
New grass planted in the spring will have a new and shallow root system. When the hot & dry summer weather arrives extra watering will be necessary.
LATE SUMMER AND FALL ADVANTAGES
The ideal time to over-seed lawns is from mid-August through September. Spring success rates are less predictable due to weather variability & crabgrass control products.
Warmer soil encourage faster seed germinaton.
Cooler temperatures mean less stress for new grass seedlings.
Crabgrass and other weeds are not so much of a concern, and pre-emergent can safely be used next spring.
New grass plants will have both the fall and spring growing seasons to get established before summer weather returns.
Of course, it's not always possible to wait until late summer or fall for seeding. If that is the case with your lawn, proper care will be critical for seeding success.
Do not apply pre-emergent material to the area(s). Or, if pre-emergent material has been applied, use a rock rake to break up the top of the soil barrier and add a layer of new black dirt before adding seed.
Good seed-to-soil contact makes a big difference. Hand raking, slit seeding and core aerating are all good ways to open up the soil and make it more receptive to new grass seed. If a small area needs replacement, cut out damaged turf, add a fresh layer of black dirt, and install a roll of pre-cut sod. Most Home Improvement Stores carry small quantities of fresh cut sod during the weekends in spring.
Keep the seedbed moist until well germinated, and provide extra water through most of the summer.
Mow at normal height in seeded areas to help the new grass fill in, do not mow short and scalp the area.