This year has been a record-setting year for temperatures and lack of rain in the Puget Sound area. Many of our lawns are hurting or have completely gone dormant. I get asked all the time when the best time to repair, fix, seed, or completely replace lawns is. Fall is the best time to do any turf renovation. We start getting help from mother nature (rain) and the temperatures are very conducive to grass seed germination. To germinate grass seed needs to have soil temps above 50 degrees or warmer and the seed cannot dry out at any time during the germination process or it will not grow. When the days start to shorten and become cooler grass thrives.
At Elite Horticulture we like to make sure that the grass can get water, air, and nutrients to its roots. We accomplish this by aerating using an aerator to pull plugs to a depth of about 2″. Then we rake up all the plugs. We then top dress the entire surface of the lawn with a soil/compost mix making sure that we rake the mixture into the holes left behind from aeration. Generally, the soil/compost mix is applied to a 1/2″ -1″ in depth. Now it is time to make sure that the pH is right. Grass seed needs a pH close to neutral to germinate to its full potential so we put down 10-15lbs of dolomitic lime per 1000 sq. ft. We use a broadcast spreader to accomplish this. Then we seed. We use a premium perennial rye/fescue blend and put the grass seed down at 5-8lbs / 1000 sq ft. Make sure that the surface of the soil/compost mix is covered. Be careful not to get any seed into the planter beds or you will have grass growing where you don’t want it to. Now we put down our secret to success… Organic fertilizer, not only makes sure the grass seed has what it needs to grow strong but it also feeds the soil. When the soil dries out completely like it has this year the beneficial soil microbes and microorganisms go dormant as well. It is just as important for them to get some food to help the lawn thrive. Finally, we top-dress the entire surface with peat moss. We accomplish this using a peat roller and apply a thin layer of peat throughout the renovation area. Peat moss helps keep the seed moist and further aids in the]germination process. Make sure you water in the area very well and then at least 1-2 times per day until you start seeing the seed emerge as little green sprouts. Keep watering daily throughout the germination process