Lawn Repair: Overseeding might be the cure your lawn needs

My lawn was looking pretty bad by the end of last summer.  What can I do to repair it?

Overseeding might be the cure your lawn needs

A quality lawn is the goal of many homeowners.   The optimal time to restore or repair your lawn is in autumn, but if you did not get an opportunity to attend to this chore there are things you can do this spring to help recover your lawn.

Determine how much work you want to do.  If your lawn is thin and patchy in spots and your soil structure is still good, a little overseeding this spring might be the answer.  If large sections of the lawn are dead, you may need to remove all the dead debris before overseeding.   The key to overseeding is making sure there is good soil-to-seed contact.  There are numerous ways to overseed.

  1. Slit-seeding is one option, it is done with a machine that cuts slits into the ground and then drops the grass seed into the slits.
  2. Dethatchers can be used to remove excess debris prior to overseeding.  This is a good way to remove the dead grass in large areas of dead lawn.
  3. Core Aeration is also another way to address restoring your lawn.  Core aeration will also help with problems that may exist under the lawn.  Aeration will help with soil compaction and thatch.  It also allows nutrients and water to flow better into the soil and thus helps strengthen your roots system.  Aeration machines pull up numerous pencil size plugs throughout the lawn.  Allow the plugs to remain on top of the soil so they break down on their own and act as topdressing.  When aerifying make two trips over the lawn, the second perpendicular to the first.  Follow this with a light fertilization and overseed.

A common question we get is how much water does my grass need to keep it alive?  Applying ¼ to ½ inch of water to the lawn every 3-4 weeks should be enough to allow water to remain in the crown and roots so your grass can survive and then resume growing when conditions improve.  This is not enough water to “green” your lawn back up, but it is enough to keep it alive during the heat of the summer or through a drought.  Typically grass will start to die off after 6 weeks of no water.