Seeding a New or Existing Lawn in the Fall

Fall is a prime time to seed a new or renovate an existing lawn. Here are some thoughts on the subject.

Preparing the soil

If you are going to reseed an existing lawn here are the two beginning steps:
a. Set your lawn mower as low as possible and mow the lawn.
b. Remove all the debris possible including loose grass, sticks, stones, leaves and thatch.

If you are going to seed a new lawn or simply patch bare spots in an existing lawn, follow these two beginning steps:
a. Remove all the debris possible including sticks, stones, leaves and thatch.
b. Rake with a garden rake to loosen the top layer of the soil.

Using a soil test kit, measure the levels of primary and secondary nutrients, along with the pH of the soil. Using a seed spreader, apply a starter fertilizer and a soil amendment if needed, to bring nutrient and pH levels up to par. Be sure to follow package directions.

Sowing the seeds

Read and follow the label directions for the seed spreader to ensure proper spreader setting. Make sure you spread the seed evenly by working back and forth in one direction and then again at a 90 degree angle to the first direction. Follow up by raking gently to work in the seed and fertilizer into the soil. Grass seed needs sunlight to germinate so be careful not to bury the seed too deep. Make sure that you follow the direction on the fertilizer bag referring to proper fertilizer amount to apply. You run the chance of burning the lawn if you use too much.

Watering the soil

Unless it rains, be sure to water your lawn evenly every day until the grass is 3 inches tall. If needed, water twice daily. The germination rate will vary by the type of seed that you choose. Do not let the soil and seed dry out completely or apply too much so that the seed is floating in the water. Once the new seeding is well established, you can cut the watering back to once or twice weekly for a total of 1 inch of water each week.

Type and amount of seed

For fall seeding, you can choose either a tall fescue or a perennial rye grass and get good results. Remember that different types of seeds have different coverage rates. Read the label to determine the proper seeding rate. There are 43,560 square feed in an acre. If your lawn is the size of a basketball court it is about 1/8th of an acre(5,445 square feet). If your lawn is the size of 2 basketball courts, it is about 1/4 acre in size (10,890 square feet). If the area of your lawn in about one half the size of a football field, it is 1/2 an acre (21,780 square feet). If you have a full football field sized lawn, you have one acre to cover (43,560 square feet).

Keep your fork


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