5 Tips for Reseeding and Fertilizing Your Lawn

Over the course of the summer, you may notice that your lawn becomes patchy and dry, even with regular watering. No matter how much moisture your grass is getting, it could still dry out and burn up during the long, hot days of summer. And whether you’re dealing with just a few problem areas or the whole lawn has started to brown, the obvious solution is to pull out the dead grass and reseed your yard. However, it’s not as simple as dumping a bag of grass seed on your turf. You first need to figure out what type of grass you have (if you’re filling in patches) or consider switching to a native and/or drought-resistant alternative that requires less water all around (to avoid future problems). And here are a few guidelines you’ll follow from there.

  1. Aerate the soil. Over time, soil can settle, becoming dense and making it difficult for roots to spread and for water to permeate. So before you reseed your lawn it’s a good idea to aerate the soil. This can be easily accomplished by hammering holes in the turf with a piece of rebar and a mallet. Holes should be about 2-3 inches deep at even intervals, say every few inches. You can also spring for an aeration tool such as a plug or spike aerator. Or if your entire lawn is dead, just till the top couple inches of soil all around.
  2. Plant in spring or fall. The two best times to seed a lawn are during the seasons when temperatures and daylight are moderate. This means the spring or the fall, when the summer sun and the winter freeze won’t damage your seeds before they can take root. Deciding on the correct season to seed your lawn could depend on the region you live in and the type of grass you want to grow, so talk to a professional at your local nursery before you plant. But plan for either Memorial Day or Labor Day as a basic benchmark for seeding.
  3. Avoid overseeding. This is a major problem that the average amateur is likely to perpetrate. The inclination is to sprinkle a lot of grass seed in the hopes that some of it will take root. What you might not consider is what will happen when it all takes root. Overcrowding could cause all of the grass you reseed to choke and die. So seed with restraint – you can always add more later if need be.
  4. Water frequently. New seeds require a decent amount of water to flourish. You’re going to have to start watering twice a day until the grass comes in, so set your sprinklers to run at dusk and dawn. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to drown a new root system. The idea is to keep the soil consistently moist. So water more often, but also more lightly.
  5. Add fertilizer. When you hire a reputable and experienced landscaper likeĀ Michael Hatcher and Associates, Inc. you won’t have to worry about the ins and outs of maintaining your lawn. But if you want to give it a go on your own, you’re going to have to fertilize regularly. Adding fertilizer when you first reseed is unnecessary, but you’ll have to get on a schedule once it starts to grow. Generally speaking, you should fertilize every 6-8 weeks to keep your grass healthy, strong, and lush.

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