Renovation Instructions Assess your lawn situation for desirability and appropriateness of the grass, presence of weeds and bare spots. Kill the existing lawn with Round-up if any one of the Crabgrass preventer helps prevent crabgrass from growing but it can wipe out your newly sown grass seed. Learn how Green Giant gets the job done correctly. Picking the right time of year to sow grass seed is crucial to the development of your lawn. Find out the best time to sow grass seed at Love The Garden.
Assess your lawn situation for desirability and appropriateness of the grass, presence of weeds and bare spots. Kill the existing lawn with Round-up if any one of the following apply:
- Less than 50 percent of the area is in the desired turfgrass.
- You want to establish a turf-type tall fescue but currently have K-31 tall fescue.
- You have unwanted spreading turfgrass like bentgrass or bermudagrass.
Lawns that have more than 50 percent desirable grass, but appear thin and patchy, may be restored without overseeding.
Apply a selective herbicide to take out the weeds and apply Turf Maximizer fertilizer three times a year. Your lawn should regain density and beauty. If not, you can always renovate the following year.
Shaded areas of lawns with thin turf and exposed soil often need additional seeding. Renovate these areas but do not kill existing turf.
Prepare surface for seeding. One of the most important steps in renovation is placing the seed in contact with soil. This sounds simple, but most lawns have thatch – an intermingled layer of both dead and living plants – over the soil surface. if this brown, decomposing layer is more than 1/2 inch of thatch should be dethatched by core aeration or with a dethatcher.
Seed placed on or in the thatch layer may germinate, but it will eventually die due to a lack of water.
Use power equipment to prepare the surface for seeding. Vertical mowers, dethatchers, and core aerators are effective machines for properly preparing the surface for seeding. A Garden Weasel is a useful hand tool for small lawn renovation projects. A slit seeder saves time and effort because it prepares the ground and plants the seed at the same time.
Power overseeding equipment is often available from local rental stores or Home Depot. Local lawn care and landscape companies often provide dethatching and renovation service.
Heavy-duty, walk-behind vertical mowers cut groves into the soil 1/2 to 3/4 inch to help seedling establishment.
Dethatchers and vertical mowers can accumulate a large amount of grass debris on the surface that should be removed so that the newly applied seed can reach the soil. After raking, a final pass with the equipment will produce closely spaced groves that are excellent channels for catching broadcast seed.
A slit seeder is a vertical mower or dethatcher with a seed hopper in front of the spinning vertical blades.
Make at least two passes over the lawn; once parallel to the street and once diagonal to the first direction.
this creates a diamond pattern in the slits which delivers the maximum amount of seed.
Core aerifier. Coring machines have a series of hollow tines that cut several cylindrical holes in the ground 2 to 3 inches deep and 1/2 inch in diameter. Some machines will not penetrate hard and dry compacted soils.
Coring machines are primarily used to provide a channel through which air, fertilizer and water can enter the soil. This channel cut through the thatch and into the soil helps to reduce soil compaction, increase root growth and redistribute soil on the upper surface of the thatch. The soil should be sufficiently moist so that the coring machine can penetrate. If a screwdriver can be pushed by hand 3 inches into the ground, the soil is about right. Soils that are too wet will clog the hollow tines and prevent core removal.
The soil cores should be left on the surface to create a more favorable environment for breakdown of the thatch layer by naturally occurring soil microbes. When the soil cores have dried, they can be chopped and dispersed over the surface with a mower, verticutter or power rake. If coring is to be the primary means of preparing a seedbed, the area should be cored to produce at least one hole every 2 inches. Spread seed and fertilizer while the core holes are still open.
Core aerifiers are of many different sizes and shapes. As with all equipment, check to see that it will fit through the property gates before renting or contracting a service.
Garden Weasel. This is a manually operated long handled tool that creates a seed bed using three star-shaped inter-meshing rotary cutters. When used properly, the Garden Weasel breaks up the ground to a 1 1/2 inch depth without removing deep rooted turfgrass plants. For best results, use the Garden Weasel to work up the soil in the renovation area first, then spread the seed, and then work up the area again with the Garden Weasel, thus insuring proper seed to soil contact in the loose soil.
The Garden Weasel is ideal for use on small areas, where renting power equipment is not cost effective, or where surface tree roots preclude the use of power devices.
Can I Seed My Lawn and Use Crabgrass Preventer this Spring?
Many lawns take a beating over the winter and a nice aeration and over-seeding treatment can work wonders to give you a beautiful lawn all summer long. However, crabgrass is also a concern on lawns.
Crabgrass is the most common lawn weed in Pennsylvania and it is primarily controlled with a crabgrass preventer – which prevents the crabgrass seeds from sprouting.
| So, will crabgrass preventer keep my new
grass seed from sprouting?
The crabgrass preventer absolutely can wipe out your newly sown grass seed – for this reason, it is very important that the work is done correctly.
Options to Treat Crabgrass Without Harming new Grass Seed
Note: the information below only relates to the crabgrass preventer that we use on our customer’s lawns at Green Giant. Other materials may or may not give the same results.
The options are listed in the order we consider the most preferred to the least desirable.
- The fertilizer & crabgrass preventer get applied first
- Allow the materials time to settle into the soil for at least a few days (preferably with some rain)
- Then perform the aeration and over-seeding
This process has been studied extensively and the results consistently show that the crabgrass preventer has very little, if any, adverse affect on the good grass seed.
- First, aerate and over-seed the lawn early in the spring, as early as possible (which is usually when the soil is dry enough)
- Wait until the majority of the grass sprouts are at least 1-2 inches tall
- Apply the crabgrass preventer
This process should eliminate any risk of the crabgrass preventer harming the grass seed (since the grass has completely emerged from the seed). The down side can be that the process starts later in the season if the aeration & seeding is delayed. This is ok but it might mean more watering as we get into the summer.
- Skip the crabgrass preventer
- Aerate & Over-Seed the lawn
- Treat crabgrass preventer with a post-emergent spray (after the plant is visible in the lawn)
Although crabgrass can be controlled with a “post emergent” material after the plant is growing, it is less effective (especially in hot, dry weather), more expensive and can damage surrounding good grass. Crabgrass preventer is considered to be the most critical component for effective crabgrass control. If possible, we recommend going with option 1 or 2.
What NOT to do
- Do not spread seed on the ground, then apply crabgrass preventer. This will be a disappointment because most of the seed will not survive.
- DO NOT aerate and over-seed then apply crabgrass preventer before the new seed has grown completely out of the seed. This will also lead to a failed seeding effort.
We are always here to help, contact the experts at Green Giant Home & Commercial today for your free quote!
Green Giant Home & Commercial’s Lawn Care services control weeds, build the thickness and density of your lawn and protect it from being damaged by insects and disease, providing you with a great-looking, healthy lawn. We offer fertilization, weed control, liming, insect control, and aeration and overseeding. Visit our Lawn Care page for more information.
Green Giant performs: Proper Diagnosis and Treatment of Tree & Shrub Problems, Insect & Disease Control (including Spotted Lanternfly), and Nutrient Management via Deep Root Fertilization to keep your plants healthy and thriving. Visit our Tree Care page for more information.
Green Giant’s Non-Lawn Weed Control services eliminate unwanted vegetation in a wide variety of locations for both residential and large commercial/municipal properties. Areas include fence lines, around obstacles to reduce weed eating, stone/gravel driveways & parking lots, swales, roadside/curbside vegetation management and more. Find more information, visit our Vegetation Management page.
Our full service pest control division provides both Year-Round Service Programs that cover the vast majority of pests that you will encounter and also One-Time Corrective Services for pests such as bees, ants, termites or mice. For more information, visit our Pest Control page.
Best time to sow grass seed
A fantastic lawn isn’t as difficult as you think and doesn’t need to be costly either. Armed with the right information, you can figure out when the best time to sow grass seed is, how to choose it, sow it, and look after it. Get to grips with the basics with our tips and tricks.
When to sow grass seed
If you are wanting a new lawn, you’re likely impatient to start, but the key to success is knowing the best time to sow grass seed. The best time to do it is between late summer and mid-autumn. There’s a few reasons for this: firstly, the soil is warm and damp from rain, which provides the ideal environment for your seed to germinate. Another advantage is there’s less competition from weeds around this time of year.
If the ground is drier than usual for this time of year water the lawn after sowing seed and keep moist until the lawn is established.
If you missed the chance to sow your grass seed in autumn, you can also try in mid-spring, but you should be prepared to tend to your lawn and give the grass plenty of water.
The worst time of year to sow grass seed is summer. It’s too hot and dry – the seeds are more likely to shrivel up and die.
One of the advantages of seed over turf is it’s easy to cover difficult areas like slopes and corners, and you can choose from a range of different seed mixes depending on what your needs are.
You can also choose from a range of more specialist mixes, like Miracle-Gro EverGreen Luxury Lawn Seed, which uses a sports-grade seed, or Miracle-Gro EverGreen Shady Lawn Seed, that’s designed to thrive in more shady locations.
You can also choose from low-maintenance seed that comes not just with seed but also controlled time-released fertiliser and soil enricher to help your lawn grow thick and healthy.
Preparing your lawn
To give your seed the best chance to grow evenly, first you need to prep your lawn. We recommend killing off the old lawn before any cultivation. Just skimming off the old grass can leave behind weed roots which will grow again to re-infest the new lawn. Clear all debris off the lawn such as stones or roots and rake the soil flat to give you an even surface to work with. You can do this by forking over the surface with a rake or level.
Next, firm the soil by walking over it, then repeat the process. If you are working with sandy soil, you’ll want to add lawn soil to help hold moisture better as well.
A couple of days before you sow your grass seed it’s also a good idea to rake in a small amount of general lawn fertiliser such as Miracle-Gro Growmore Garden Plant Food at 35gm/sqm a few days before sowing seed. This will help prepare the soil and give your grass the best chance of growing.
Sowing the seeds
Take some time to read the instructions of your seed packets, as different mixtures have different requirements. Be sure to follow them as closely as possible.
Divide the area into small plots so you can easily keep track of where you’re working and evenly distribute the seed. Using a lawn spreader will help with distribution. Sow half the seeds over the surface in rows going lengthways, then repeat with the other half of the seed mix, working in rows going widthways.
Alternatively, if you have a spreader with a half seed rate employ this setting on your spreader.
Once that’s finished, rake the whole area to make sure your seed is distributed evenly across the soil.
After sowing the lawn seed water in and keep moist until established – do not rely on rainfall alone.
Caring for your lawn
Watching your lawn grow is one of the most satisfying parts of the process.
The warmer the ground is, the faster the germination process will happen, but expect it to take 2-3 weeks. Try to make sure the ground is disrupted as little as possible during this time.
When the new grass is about 7.5cm high cut off the top ⅓ with a sharp mower blade. Cutting the grass will encourage it to send out more shoots to thicken up the sward.
In the first six months, tend to any weeds by hand and avoid using grass feed or weed product. Weed seeds from the soil will germinate with the grass seed, most will be annual weeds which will die out with cutting, and in the winter. Perennial weeds can be treated when the lawn is established.