Is your lawn on its last leg?
Was it full of weeds this spring and summer? Do you want a gorgeous lawn next spring? Sometimes it's best to throw in the towel, admit defeat, and start fresh. But before you do, make sure you're following good mowing, watering, and fertilizing practices. Your new and renovated lawn may suffer the same fate if you don't start good habits now.
Fall is the best time to renovate your lawn, and since we live in Tennessee, the optimal time to do this extends through November or until it gets hat and gloves weather. Why renovate in the fall? A few reasons:
1-Temperatures are right. The heat of summer is gone, and the chill of winter is still a month ahead. Plus, you're not going to sweat to death once you're out there doing the work.
2-Rainfall. Have you seen all the rain in Middle Tennessee this fall?? Mother nature has primed the soil with all the rain!
3-Weeds are less prevalent. There are less fall and winter weeds to worry about and they do not grow as vigorously as spring and summer weeds.
Want to renovate, but don't know where to start?
We've come up with 10 steps to make your renovation a success!
1. Kill current weeds and grass. This can be done with a non-selective herbicide. These herbicides are meant to kill any pant on contact. Be sure to read the label to determine how much you need and to apply correctly. Once killed, either till the grass or run a slicer or dethatching tool over the killed turf.
2. Test soil. There are home soil tests to determine if your soil is more acidic or alkaline. Correct any soil issues before seeding to ensure the best growth environment. Consider adding a compost product to add in necessary microorganisms to aid in seed growth.
3. Address any grading issues. This is a great time to fill any low spots or correct any drainage problems that you've noticed over the years.
4. Choose the right grass. Trust us, don't buy the cheap stuff! It is generally accepted that you get what you pay for in most cases and grass seed is no different. When choosing the type of seed consider your lawn. Do you need drought resistant grass? Is your lawn more sunny or more shady? These questions will determine the best grass for your lawn.
5. Seed your lawn. Be sure to seed at the right rate. There is such a thing as over over-seeding. Too many seedlings, and the competition will be too great and the growth rate will decrease as compared to the optimal amount of seed. There are several ways to seed. You can use a drop spreader, spin seeder, or just your hands. Spread in two directions to get an even distribution.
6. Rake and firm soil. Once seeded, gently rake turf. The seeds should be just under the surface of the soil, about 1/16" to 1/8" deep. After raking, firm the soil. Light rolling ensures good soil to seed contact needed for water and nutrient uptake.
7. Mulch. Prevent erosion by laying weed-free straw over newly seeded area. Other good mulch substitutes can be newsprint or wood fiber materials. Protect those new seeds!
8. Water. Don't allow the new seeds to dry out. This will be a death sentence. Water often but lightly at first, keeping surface moist. Gradually change to longer deeper waterings once seedlings emerge.
9. Fertilize. After 2-3 weeks, apply fertilizer.
10. Mow! Once more than 60% of grass reaches the recommended mowing height of 2 to 3 inches, start mowing. This will encourage lateral shoot development, increase stand density, and help new grass out-compete weeds. Tip: Make sure mower blades are sharp. Dull blades can rip new seedlings from the soil.