How’s your lawn looking? Dead grass? Brown patches? Did your cool season grass suffer like the rest of us Northerners from this season’s Arizona-like conditions?

Are you waiting to see if your lawn will green up after the recent rains? Those brown spots need extra attention now. September is a critical time to reseed your lawn. By mid-October it will be too late. If you wait until spring, the weeds are going to germinate and compete with your grass seed. Guess who will win?

Fall is the best time for planting grass, trees, shrubs and perennial gardens, when the days are shorter, the nights are cooler and the weed seeds are not competing.

Follow these steps for the best fall seeding success:

  1. Mow the lawn as short as possible.
  2. Aerate the lawn to poke a lot of holes into the thatch of the turf-grass and compacted soil.
  3. Spread a thin layer of composted screen topsoil*.
  4. Rake it so the grass that is alive can be seen poking through. This will help break up the soil plugs from the aeration and knock soil into holes.
  5. Spread Perennial rye and blue grass seed* for sunny lawns.
  6. Apply a seed starting fertilizer*.
  7. Rake again to insure the seed has good contact with the soil. (or use a slice seeding machine)
  8. Add “Penn mulch*” to accelerate seed growth and conserve moisture to improve seed establishment
  9. Water all areas lightly to moisten the seed and soil without washing it away.

*All of these products are available in the Broccolo Garden Center, 2755 Penfield Road, Fairport, NY 14450.

Water daily in the morning if possible for approximately 20 min in each area. Here’s a trick for temporary irrigation. Get a 2-way hose valve to connect 2 hoses and set up sprinklers in 2 different spots. Inexpensive timers can be attached to the main hose and are easily programmed for daily irrigation with a specific time set to start and stop. Then watch the grass grow.

Mow as soon as the grass is high enough to be mowed. Reduce watering to every other day. Fertilize the lawn within 6 weeks and continue watering twice weekly for 6 weeks.

Enjoy the holidays and begin the next spring without the stress of trying to fix the lawn before the summer heat strikes again. When it does, watering every 3 weeks will keep the roots alive.