Plan Your Home Lawn Renovation NOW!
Every year the fall brings you good things. Along with the fall baseball classic it lets you revive your home lawn time before winter. In an effort to keep it simple stupid (the KISS principle) you should plan your renovation according to your geographical area. Different grasses + different climates = different turf programs. Northern grasses are fescues and bluegrasses while southern grasses are bermudas, St Augstine, bahia and then you have transition grasses. This is the tough one because you can have overseeded bermudas and zoysias.
Bottom line, a little work this fall can improve your lawn for the spring. Here is a list of projects you may consider for your lawn.
1. Get a soil sample and have it tested by your local extension office. This sounds tough but its as simple as it sounds. Every county has an extension agent that can send you in the right direction. You will get your turf’s PH tested and also see what your lawn is missing as it relates to nutrients. Go to a couple spots in your yard to collect soil Put the sample of soil and root mass goes into a quart sized zip lock bag. . This test takes about 10 days…
2. The report will give you the specifics of materials to purchase and at what rate to apply the materials. Some even give you the exact brand.
3. Dethatch your lawn. Bluegrass and fescue lawns build thatch. Thatch is the layer of dead grass between the ground and where before the blade turns green. Average thatch is around 1/2 inch thick. If its thicker than 1/2inch rent a de-thatcher and rake up the thatch layer debris.
4. Lawns hardly ever receive aerification. If you noticed during the dry summer months that your lawn turned brown faster than others? Probably means you have a lawn that needs aerification so the roots can grow deeper. This is a process of plugging holes in your yard with a machine…. (they used to use shoes for plugging lawns years ago… they had long nails on them) The process of renting a machine could get expensive depending on how big your yard is but nevertheless it will improve the root growth and relieve compaction of the soil.
5. Seed your lawn at a half rate in the fall. Some people ask why you would seed before the winter because the seed will not germinate. That is not entirely true because bluegrass, fescues and rye enjoy cool temperatures and you will be surprised at what comes up in the spring. In the northeast you should be planning to seed next month. Broadcast your seed after the aerfication and de-thatching.
6. Time to fertilize. The soil test will give you a some direction of types of fertlizer but more importantly don’t apply a pre emergence herbicide to your lawn if you overseeded. Nothing will germinate. If your lawn is healthy and you are not overseeding…. then put out a granular pre-emergence in the fall with your fertilizer application. This will help control broadleaf and grassy weeds in the spring. If you didn’t obtain a soil test, play it safe and Fertilize with a well rounded N-P-K product with micro nutrients per manufacturers suggested rates.
7. Irrigate or water your lawn for a couple days after the renovation is completed to wash the seed and fertilize next to the soil for good contact.
8. Patch any areas that require sod or new grass in the fall as well and once the seed starts to grow try and keep off the grass as much as possible.
That should get you started for a healthy turf in 2011! Good Luck