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Rejuvenating Your Lawn

Whether you've inherited someone else's less than perfect lawn or yours has just gotten away from you, early fall is the time to get to work on giving your turf grass a new lease on life. The soil is still warm from summer, but the air is cooler - perfect conditions for germination. Plus when grass seed is planted in the fall, the seedlings have the entire fall and spring to become established before hot, dry summer weather sets in.

Take a minute to evaluate the condition of your lawn to determine if you need to scrap the whole area and start over, revitalize the existing grass or just patch a few spots.

Patching Bare Spots in a Lawn

Sometimes a bare spots can develop due to foot traffic, pets, or weeds. Reseeding these areas is simple.

Revitalizing an Exisiting Lawn

In cool climates you can do this anytime in late August or very early September. In regions where summers are hot, wait until right after the heat breaks.

Allen Examining Lawn

Planting a New Lawn

You can do the soil prep on this project in August and then sow the grass seeds in early fall.

Things to Consider When Sowing Grass Seeds

Sow grass seeds about 45 days before the first hard freeze in your area.

For even coverage of the grass seed use a drop spreader. If you don't want to purchase a spreader, most garden centers will rent you one for the day.

Germination time for grass seed varies from 7-21 days, depending on soil temperatures and seed species. During this time be sure to keep the area moist. If the weather is dry you may need to water lightly several times a day until the seedlings are about 1 inch tall.

Grass should be cut for the first time when it has reached 3-4". Mower blade should be sharp. After the third cutting, water 1-2 times per week, applying a total of 1" of water.

Most turf grass prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Test the soil with a simple pH soil kit to check if your soil is acid or alkaline. If acid (a pH of 6 or less), apply a fast-acting dolomite lime at the rate of 50 pounds per 1000 square feet. If alkaline (a pH of 7 or higher), apply a granular gypsum at the rate of 50 lbs per 1,000 square feet.