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Fall Seeding

Category: Garden Resource, Gardening Tips | Posted by: Jeremy Newell

Reseeding or overseeding your lawn may not be on your mind this fall. Our area received lots of moisture early in the spring and because of this, the usual summer stress on lawns isn’t as noticeable this fall. Rather than large renovation projects, most of us will probably be lawn seeding small areas of high traffic or weed problem areas.

A few useful tips:

  1. In sunny spots tall fescue is the turf of choice for our area.
  2. Make sure the area is bare of dead grass and weeds so the grass seed is in contact with soil.
  3. Breaking up the soil with a heavy rake will encourage the new roots to dig deep.

To straw or not to straw?

Depends on how well you are able to keep moisture on the new seed. Straw is applied to conserve moisture, shade the seed, and keep birds off. If you have a good size area, it may be beneficial to add straw. However, don’t put the straw down like you are mulching around your shrubs. You should be able to see the soil through the straw. The idea is that the straw should break down into the soil without having to rake it up. Raking up the straw because too much was put down is obviously going to harm your new turf. Maintain even moisture with a sprinkler and don’t let the new grass shoots go dry-there are still plenty of warm/hot days ahead! Apply a starter fertilizer and avoid the newly-seeded areas with your regular lawn fertilizer.

September is the best month for seeding.

Granted, many days in September still feel like the middle of summer! But by seeding now you are allowing enough time for the turf to establish a strong root system before truly cold weather. The ground is warm now so the seed will germinate quickly. Cooler nights allow for longer moisture retention and lower stress on the newly sprouted plants.

So whether you need to thicken up a weed-infested lawn, renovate the leftovers of a Duke Energy project, or just cover a few spots here and there-now is the time to get out in the lawn with that bag of seed. You might be tempted to let it ride until next spring. Remember-if you have a bare spot of open soil and don’t fill it in with turf, Mother Nature will fill it in with weeds!

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