Early Fall Seeding
If you are having difficulty with your lawn growing or are frustrated with a thin and thatchy lawn, you should strongly consider late-season lawn seeding. Late summer is the ideal time to decide if your lawn needs new grass turf or lawn seeding work for the upcoming year. Careful advanced planning and follow-up of lawn seeding can make the difference in your lawn growing and determine the success or failure of your lawn seeds. We have a limited time window to do proper seeding. Current customers, contact Pro-Lawn Plus NOW to ensure we can schedule you this year. If you’re not yet a customer, now is a great time to start service and prepare your lawn for next year.
Lawn Conditions That Require Lawn Seeding
• Thin Lawns: Can you see the soil or thatch layer when you look down at your grass? Lawn thinness permits weeds to easily grow in the lawn and causes the grass to dry out much faster. Thin lawns need lawn seeding to grow and be healthy.
• Heavy Thatch: The thatch layer can become so heavy that the primary root system is growing more in the thatch than in the soil below. Shallow, thatch-rooted lawns are much more susceptible to drought damage.
• Poor Turf Variety: Do you want to develop a more disease-,insect-, or drought-tolerant lawn? Pro Lawn Plus’s lawn seeding experts can help. There are grass varieties that bugs, diseases, and hot weather don’t bother as much as others.
Other conditions that require new grass turf or lawn seeding work include repairing lawn drainage problems and fixing worn or rutted areas.
When Lawn Seeding Works Best
Many of our customers don’t understand why late summer and fall are usually the best times for lawn seeding. The following are explanations why the lawn growing process works best at this time of year:
• Grass seed planted late in the season has two good growing periods (fall and spring) to “harden off” before going through the drought and heat stress often associated with summer weather.
• In the fall, most fast-growing weeds like crabgrass weeds won’t be sprouting and choking out the new grass turf’s slower-growing permanent grass.
• Soil temperatures are higher in the late summer, making it ideal for lawn growing. The increased soil warmth results in faster germination of the lawn seeds.
• Late-summer lawn seeding need not disturb the proper timing of weed control as spring seeding almost always does.
Note: New grass shouldn’t be treated for broadleaf weeds until after the fourth or fifth mowing.
Planting Successful Grass Seed
There are many lawn seeding methods and specific lawn conditions that call for each. Below is an overview of how to properly plant seed for optimum lawn growing:
• Overseeding: the lawn seed is broadcast evenly over the lawn and is washed into the soil where it lodges and sprouts. This lawn growing technique is simple and economical.
• Aeration plus Overseeding: The big advantage of this lawn seeding method is that aeration opens the soil and provides a better germinating area for the new turf by improving seed-to-soil contact.
• Slice-Seeding (also known as Verti-Cut Seeding): For badly damaged or very thin and thatchy lawns, this lawn growing technique is an excellent way to get your lawn back on the road to health and beauty. This lawn seeding method actually plants the grass seed into the soil while helping to destroy thatch. This is accomplished with slicing blades that cut through thatch and create furrows in the soil. Small tubes drop the lawn seed into these soil furrows, and rollers close the soil back over the seed.
After Lawn Seed is Planted
Within the first year of lawn growing, the care given to your grass turf is crucial. The following lawn seeding pointers will ensure that your grass grows healthy and remains durable:
• Water, water, water! Frequent and light watering is ideal until the lawn seed sprouts. After this occurs, you may give your grass longer soakings.
• It is okay to mow when the grass reaches a reasonable height.
• Avoid weed controls and be sure that the new grass turf has a steady supply of lawn fertilizer to speed up establishment
Points to Remember About Late-Season Lawn Seeding
• Use high-quality, certified lawn seed to avoid planting weeds.
• Plant lawn seeds early enough to take advantage of the higher soil temperatures that encourage germination.
• Water and fertilize grass seeds to promote rapid grass establishment. Ideally, the new grass turf should be mowed three to five times during the fall in which it’s seeded.
• Avoid weed controls of any kind until the new turf has been mowed about five times. Some weeds will appear, but they can easily be controlled later.
• It takes a few years to fully establish a healthy lawn. Give your new lawn seeding extra care throughout the whole first season.
Mark Schlossberg is the President of ProLawnPlus in Baltimore, MD. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1977 with a B.S. in agronomy. He is the President of the Maryland Association of Green Industries, and past president of the Maryland Turfgrass Council.