This summer has been nice, short, maybe a little dry more recently but over all nice. And then its state fair time; we all know it will be some variation of hot, sticky (yes please add the pun as well) and currently – dry and very hot. We know a whole lot has not gotten done this week, that’s ok.
The Sate Fair is one to be time marker of sorts for us in Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We know that the kids go back to school, people declare summer as being over, and a few more I am sure. It is also a marker for a great time to be starting grass seed: the cooler evening temps and warm day temps are ideal for starting seed. Sure it can be done other times of year but this time of year you can anticipate better results. I may not be a lawn care provider, but having a nice lawn sure make the whole landscape look better, so I want to make sure you are in the know now and can do something about it.
Here are some tips on seeding:
- if starting with open soil use a leaf rake to fine grade and then distribute seed and minimally rake in to soil.
- Water frequently to keep the soil moist and you’re off and growing green- water long enough to just see some puddles begin and then water again in a few hours. Soil and seed can dry out quickly killing your germination rate preventing the the grass from starting to grow. This may be 3 or more times a day depending on sun and soil types. ( more water can be needed for sunny and sandy soils)
- choose a seed for your sunlight conditions: a shady seed used in full sun may fry out faster and not be able to fill in a nice lawn
- use a mix variety of seed, mono cultures like pure Fescue can be used if over seeding as the surrounding lawn gives it protection, but if starting a new area it lacks that as it is germinating and can be more susceptible to damage.
- Do NOT “weed and feed” when you seed. (a nice rhyme don’t you think?) You can use a seed starter if you like to fertilize, but the weed and feed type fertilizer will stop the grass seed from growing just as it will the weed seeds. Plan on using a good winterizer fertilizer next month (late October usually) to help strengthen your lawn for next year.
What if my lawn looks dead?
If during this dry spell if you didn’t water your lawn it has most likely gone dormant- watering can perk it back up, but your lawn was also probably is weakened and weeds can more easily grow. Over seeding, adding seed to the existing lawn, is a good way to fill in some areas helping keep the weedy competition to a minimum. If weeds have already taken over be sure to mow and bag ( to remove the seeds of the weeds) before over seeding. You may want to bag the clippings for the next few times until the weeds are more suppressed. Remember that a higher setting on the mower prevent scalping the lawn: scalping can allow your lawn to be more susceptible to heat damage and weed invasion. 2.5-3″ is ideal.
Now that the weekend is approaching and the temps are cooler take the opportunity to get your lawn growing well…and if that doesn’t excite you maybe we can take it out and replace it with something else???