When Replanting Makes Sense
If you’ve spent the summer lamenting your tattered yard or wishing that your patch of dirt were a blanket of soft blades, you can stop. It won’t get any better, at least not this year. But next spring could be a whole other story if you seed this fall - the perfect time to start a new lawn. In cold-weather climates, fall’s cooler temperatures prevent the seeds from drying out, but there’s still enough sun and rain to help them germinate before going into hibernation for the winter, without the competition of crabgrass and other weeds that die off this time of year.
Preparation is Critical
Preparation is the most critical part of seeding a lawn and the experienced professionals at GREENSKEEPER are the experts. The condition of the soil has to be ideal to coax the tiny grass seeds into germinating. That means using well-turned earth with proper drainage and the right chemistry.
To get these conditions, you first need to remove any vestiges of the old lawn. A safe, non-residual, spray will kill off all the weeds and non-desirable grasses right down to the roots. Then it's time to open the soil with a dethatcher or soil preparatory
Using a dethatching machine, we strip the top until there is a clean, open seed bed. If the area to be seeded is an exceptionally difficult mix of hard clay and rocks we use a soil conditioner to turn the top few inches, burying the rocks and leaving a soft seed bed on the surface. At this point, we may want to add or move topsoil to level the area to a fine grade.
But even with these additions, no soil is ready for seeds if it doesn't have the right pH. Grass grows best in soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Adding lime, peat moss, or sulfur balances the soil's pH level and boosts nutrients. All soil could use a little fertilizer boost to nourish the seeds.
Then once the soil is ready, we simply over-seed and add a “new seed” fertilizer for faster germination and healthier plants. Immediately after seeding, lightly water the area with a fan-or oscillating-type sprinkler. Set up one or more sprinklers, or move the sprinkler to ensure that the entire area gets dampened. Keep the new seed wet for 3 to 4 weeks or until the new grass has been mowed a couple of times.
Now's The Time To Get It Done
Lawns on life support and in need of a do-over are lawns that show significant damage. Regular feeding and watering deeply are excellent for maintaining relatively healthy lawns. Unfortunately, lawns past the point of no return simply won't benefit from extra food and water. Sometimes it's just easier to start over from scratch.