To seed or not to seed.
As spring arrives once again homeowners are faced with lawns in need of help. Not knowing what to do with bare spots in the lawn they inevitably buy some seed and lawn products and much like the Red Sox, hope for a better season.
Healthy green lawns provide a great benefit to the environment that include erosion and dust control, oxygen, co2 absorption, and summer cooling effects for homes and businesses as well as a safe cushion for sports and outdoor activities.
Most lawn problems noticed in the spring however are in large portion due to what happened last summer or in seasons prior. Insects, disease and lack of watering coupled with poor mowing practices will take lawns out in a very short time.
Homeowners will look at their dreadful lawns at the end of summer and will procrastinate through late summer and early fall and through the best time to seed your problem areas.
Unlike your vegetable garden, lawn seeding does best in the fall without the competition from annual spring weeds and summer drought and heat. Here in the Northeast we have "cool season grasses". They like it cool, not hot. Cool season grass plants germinate in cool air temperatures while soils are still warm and will overwinter just fine along with important fall fertilization to provide a healthy lawn right off the bat in spring.
If you need to seed in the spring, plan on watering as air temperatures increase and keep soil moist. Spring germinating weeds including crabgrass will also do well but do not get discouraged. As things grow, mow high to give grass plants a chance beneath the weeds. When fall temperatures and frost arrives, seed areas again as the annual weeds die back.
Another important factor for lawns is light. Grass plants need a minimum of 4-5 hours of direct sunlight or they will over time thin out and be overcome by moss or simply barren altogether. If light cannot be improved turn these shady areas into naturalized planting environments and focus efforts on the areas that will grow grass.
Care throughout the growing period is important and includes fertilizing every 8 weeks, keeping soil pH above 6.2 with calcium lime typically every year or two, mow high and above 2.5 inches, avoid mowing when it's hot and lawns are stressed and water appropriately to avoid stress. One inch of rainfall or manual watering is needed per week.
It's not easy being green. If in doubt... find out .... and get help before mistakes are made.
Matt Siano
MJS Lawn Care & Lawnscape
Serving and leading the area since 1982 with professional lawn care.