Now is the best time to renovate or reseed your lawn. First, water your lawn, wait a day then aerate your lawn, wait a day, then apply a starter fertilizer, then your grass seed, and start watering.  The worst thing that can happen to your grass seed is to have it dry out.  You will have to water at least once a day to keep it moist. Overseeding or renovating your lawn is best if done before the middle of September. 

          Make sure you use a blend of the best seed you can find that is specifically for our Nebraska clay soils, and is disease resistant. Cheap seed will cost you more in maintenance costs over the next 5 years than buying quality seed now. Look at the label on the bag or box of seed.  It will tell you what king of seed is in the mix and quality seed will list the cultivars and what per cent of each.  It will also list the percent of “weed seeds” and the per cent of “other crops” that will be weeds in your lawn. Buy a blend of grasses so if a disease attacks one of the cultivars it does not wipe out your total yard. Don’t buy cheap seed.

           Also now is the best time to apply your fall fertilizer.  Following my “Lawn Care by Holidays”, the fall application goes on around Labor Day.  The Labor Day and the Halloween (winterizer) applications are the two most important applications of the year. Fertilizer applied now helps the grass develop good roots systems whereas the spring applications only make the blades grow faster and taller.  Use a good brand of fertilizer that is slow release and has iron.  Iron is what makes your lawn green and is needed in our clay soil.

          If you haven’t aerated, now is a good time to do that also.  Core aeration (removes plugs from your lawn) needs to be done at least once per year in order to provide good drainage and help thatch to decompose naturally. If you are renting an aerator or hiring a lawn service to do it for you, be sure and check the length of the tines on the machine.  New tines are 6 inches long.  If the tines are 4 inches or less, have them put on a new set.  They don’t take long to replace so wait until it is done. If you have hard clay soil, which is most of us:

·     Water your lawn thoroughly the day before so tines can go in easily

·     Aerate  your lawn

·     Rake in a soil amendment such as Structure or fine compost (not gypsum)

·     Fertilize 

·     Water in your fertilizer. 

          Next week I will talk about Fall Weed Control

Copyright Sept. 11, 2004