|How to Winterize your Lawn|
Overseeding your lawn in the fall will yield a beautiful, lush, green lawn throughout the winter, and it's easy to do! In order to be successful, it's most important to begin preparation for overseeding in mid-September to mid-October. During that time, gradually lower the mowing heights over successive mowing cycles until reaching 3/4" with a rotary mower or 1/2" with a reel mower.
It is safe to plant your winter grass seed when the night time temperature is consistently 70 degrees or lower. Then, when your summer grass is dry, use a thatch rake, power rake, or verticutter to remove thatch and all dead grass and debris thus allowing your seed to reach the soil. Next, choose your seed between rye or fescue, rye being the most commonly used to overseed. Now you're ready to seed!
Apply your seed at a rate of 10 lbs per 1000 SF. (You can use this helpful grass seed calculator if you'd like.) Use a drop spreader for the lawn perimeters and around trees. Use a hand or rotary spreader for wide open areas or the middle of the lawn. Then, apply a starter fertilizer to the soil after the seed has been put down.
Cover your seed and fertilizer with a topping such as seed cover, compost or a compost/manure mixture. This will help to retain the moisture the seeds need and protect your newly laid seeds from becoming bird food.
Apply a balanced lawn fertilizer after the first mowing and monthly after that. Switch to a foliar feeding furing the cooler months for better results.
Seeds must be kept moist to germinate. Set your sprinklers to water 3 to 4 times a day for six to eight minutes per session. While watering is important, make sure to not overwater! Two pitfalls of overwatering are having your newly laid seed float away with the water runoff, or it can tend to clump together and make your new grass grow in patches. After the seed has sprouted, decrease the watering to twice per day. When fully established, about 28 days, decrease watering to every 3 to 5 days for 25 minutes. This will vary depending on temperatures and natural precipitation.
There you go and there you have it - you're done! Now, throw something on the BBQ, grab an ice cold drink and watch your grass grow!
Click here for printable instructions and get seeding!
Along with overseeding, fall is the best time to fertilize your lawn because the weather conditions create an ideal situation for root development. There is warm soil, cooler air, and, in our area, hopefully more precipitation. Fertilizing your lawn is the best defense against weeds and other recurring problems. Further, fertilizing strengthens your root system which will give your lawn more resources to survive stresses.