Aerating, Overseeding, and Fertilizing

Lush green grass

Keeping your yard beautiful is a year-round task, with lawn care chores changing as often as the seasons. Fall is finally here, so don't miss your chance to optimize your lawn's potential with aerating, fertilizing, and overseeding.

Overseeding is the process of planting new grass seeds over an existing lawn. It will fill in thin spots and thicken your lawn, and make it stronger against insects and disease. In the south, fall is your only chance to overseed. If you do it in the spring, it will get hot too quickly, and roots won't have a chance to develop in the ground.

Before you begin, you need to prepare your lawn. Start by mowing, if necessary. The grass should be two inches tall or lower. Collect the grass clippings and rake up any moss, leaves, or other material that could prevent the grass seeds from reaching the soil. Next, aerate your lawn.

Aerating

Aerating means creating small holes in the soil to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass. This process encourages root development and loosens soils, creating a better environment for grass to grow.

There are a few ways to aerate. Core aeration involves using a machine with hollow tubes that remove soil plugs out of the Earth. Some are motorized and can be rented at most equipment rental stores, and some are non-motorized, and can be found at most home and garden centers.

Spike aerators are similar, but instead of pulling plugs of soil out of the ground, they poke holes into the ground. This may cause the soil to compact tighter in the areas around the spikes, though, and core aeration is the preferred method.

Overseeding

Begin this process by choosing your seeds. Select a type of grass that will match your lawn's current color and texture as closely as possible. Once you've selected what type of seeds you are going to use, it's time to spread the seeds across your lawn. There are several ways to do this. One way is by hand. Divide your seeds in half, and walk in one direction, spreading the seeds as you go. Then spread the remaining seeds walking in a different direction, making a right angle in relation to the direction you first walked. This ensures complete coverage of your lawn.

Another way to spread your seeds is by using a spreader. These can vary in sizes and are a more efficient way to spread seeds.

Fertilizing

You may choose to use a fertilizer when overseeding your lawn. Fertilizer delivers nutrients essential to young growing grass and optimizes seed germination and quick establishment. The best time to fertilize your yard is right after your aerate it and spread your seeds. Remember that newly seeded areas need constant moisture. Water your lawn consistently to keep your new grass from wilting.

Follow these tips to keep your lawn pristine through the fall and winter seasons.



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