I’m hoping to re-“grass” soon!

Time to re-seed and rejuvenate the back lawn.

I can’t believe fall is already in the air. Last fall I was planning my “lasagne garden” so I could plant my veggies in the spring. This year I’m trying to figure out when and how to best re-seed part of my back grass. It does not appear to have done so well with all the hot weather we had this summer. I had hoped I watered it enough and there are patches of green grass popping through the brown. However yesterday my daughter bent down and started messing with the brown area. Golden Retrievers don’t shed that much hair. Time to re-seed and rejuvenate that lawn.

Since I’ve never re-seeded an existing lawn before, I thought I’d ask my friends at Flowerland how best to proceed. I found out re-seeding is basically five step process: Core aerate or hard rake, Starter Fertilizer, Seed, Straw/Mulch, Water. And the type of seed you use does matter.

The ultimate goal is to have good soil-to-seed contact so the seed can germinate properly and establish strong roots.  Ideally, you want to core aerate your

I inherited this landscape rake from my mom. Hopefully it comes with her amazing ability to grow beautiful, healthy grass!

lawn periodically anyway but especially if you are seeding or if you have compacted soil. If you don’t want to core aerate, you can also use a hard rake like a landscape rake (not the same rake you use on leaves). When you have existing turf and a large area to re-seed like I do, you want to rake way the debris (aka dead grass and weeds) so you can see the soil. Once you’ve done that, put down a Starter Fertilizer. I know it may seem silly but a starter fertilizer provides essential nutrients that help with germination and growth. It is high in phosphorus and potash, which encourages root growth and all-around development.

Now comes the seed. I know grass seed comes in formulations for sun, shade or sun/shade but I didn’t know what the actual parameters were for those designations.  “Sun” grasses need 8 to 10 hours of bright light per day. “Sun/Shade” mix grasses need 6 to 8 hours of bright light per day. “Shade” grasses need 4 to 6 hours of bright light per day. (If you have any area that gets less than 4 hours of bright light per day, I’m told you may want to try Jonathon Greene Shady Nook grass seed.) My backyard is largely shade-free so I assumed I would use a Sun grass seed. But based on the parameters, I’m going to re-evaluate to make sure that’s the correct formulation for the area.

After you’ve selected your seed and spread it over the area you are re-seeding, you want to cover the seed with 1/4″ to not more than 1/2″ of soil. If you have a large area you are re-seeding and/or if you are raking the seed into the soil (like me on both counts), you will want to cover the area with a thin layer of mulch or straw. That gives the seed some protection while it germinates. Then water lightly every day. (“Water lightly” = keep the soil moist, not soggy.)  Four to six weeks after seeding, feed your seedlings with either more starter fertilizer or a regular lawn food. That will help with root establishment.

Well, I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. Hope you have a good one and get outside to soil those plants!

Until next time…

Mary Gold