Fall and Winter Gardening: Overseeding and Aeration

Fall and Winter Gardening: Overseeding and Aeration

Fall and the early winter months can sometimes be the most critical times of the year for lawn care, particularly in the area of preventative measures and ensuring proper nourishment for your lawn. There are two relatively easy practices you can participate in to ensure your lawn wakes up in the spring in peak condition: aeration and overseeding.

Aeration is achieved by simply purchasing or renting an aeration device that consists of cylinder-like spikes or spoons that dig into the earth and break up the soil. The process is a bit like tilling, but occurs in a far more compact and precise manner. The results are a series of half-inch plugs of thatch, pulled out of the ground, allowing increased water penetration, increased respiration, and healthier roots. Aeration combats compacted soil and heavy thatching, two problems that suffocate otherwise beautiful lawns. The best time of year to aerate your lawn is the fall, ensuring excellent stimulation and nourishment of your lawn before winter dormancy settles in.

Another common hurdle in quality lawn care is the deterioration of a lawn due to damage caused by excessive foot traffic, insect infestations, disease, and water deprivation. You can see this damage manifest itself in bald and brown patches, which can be alleviated by overseeding your lawn. The process of overseeding involves spreading a desirable, well-adapted, durable seed strain over the problems areas in your turf. Shade blends should be chosen for shady areas and have a very nice texture. For other areas of your lawn Fescues, Dwarf Fescues, and Bluegrass do well in Idaho environs. If you need a strain resistant to draught conditions, use Dwarf Turf-type Tall Fescue. If you aren’t sure which seeds are best for your lawn, contact Jason or Neal here at the nursery.

Begin the process by eliminating any undesirable crab grasses and die-hard weeds that might have overtaken the trouble areas using “KILLZALL” or a comparable herbicide. After the weeds have died out completely, remove the exterminated weeds and thatch by raking out the soil surface for seeding. Spread the seed using a spreader, or if the area is small, you can spread the seed by hand. Apply soil activator to ensure the soil receives the essential nutrients required for a healthy lawn. Lightly rake the seeds into the soil with a garden rake. To ensure good soil contact with the seed for optimal germination, apply a ¼” mulch or compost composite cover over the seeds, using regular grind bark. Be certain to keep these seeded areas moist, never allowing the top inch or so of the soil to dry out, until the grass grows to a length of at least 2” in height. You may reduce the watering as your new grass becomes established with the rest of your lawn.

Control any new weed growths by applying a broadleaf weed killer after you have mowed the new grass at least four times. Follow up with Iron Plus in the late fall, and your new lawn will wake up in the spring resilient, full, and ready to show off.

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