Everyone wants that lush green and full lawn. For northern cool season grasses, the closest thing to a get rich quick lawn solution is to fall dethatch and overseed. It will create the biggest impact difference to your lawn and is fairly easy.
To do the dethatching for most yards under 20,000 sq ft you can easily knock this out with a simple DIY electric dethatcher like the one SunJoe sells for typically between $130-180. We like it for its price (as cheap as renting a beast of one from Home Depot for a few hours), and for its effectiveness. Check out the thatch coming up in the quick video below. Removing all of that buildup will allow water and nutrients to better reach the soil to be more effective. This will also prep your soil for better seed to soil contact when overseeding.
Type of Grass :
When picking your grass type for the fall overseed you need to decide what is best for your lawn. We like the idea of introducing more Kentucky bluegrass (AKA – KBG) blends into the lawn for their ability to expand growth and fill in gaps in the lawn. You can READ MORE ABOUT GRASS TYPES HERE. One brand we enjoy using is from OutsidePride.com and comes at a fair price.
Lawn Renovation Steps & Video From This Old House: 1. Mow the lawn to a height of 1½ inch. Be sure to collect the grass clippings. 2. Run a de-thatcher across the entire lawn to remove dead plant matter. (WE LIKE THE SUNJOE!) 3. Use a leaf rake to collect and remove all the thatch pulled from the lawn. Some people use a leaf blower or run their lawn mower over after raking to pick up the extra piece in their bagger. 4. Run a gas-powered core aerator across the lawn. (WE ACTUALLY SKIP THIS STEP, UNLESS YOU HAVE REALLY COMPACT SOIL) 5. Rake up and remove the soil plugs extracted by the aerator. (IF YOU DID THIS) 6. Spread compost over the lawn and rake it down into the holes. Even if you did not core aerate compost or peat moss is a really nice introduction of organic matter to the soil. 7. Analyze the physical structure of the soil with a soil test kit; amend the soil as necessary. (LAWN SERV’S JOB!) 8. Use a broadcast spreader to over-seed the lawn with new grass seed. Adjust the spreader to dispense seven pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet area. 9. Use backside of leaf rake to lightly work the grass seed into the lawn. 10. Lightly water twice a day to keep the lawn damp, not soaking wet.
Typically homes are bought and sold with information such as the square footage of your house and a total lot size. However that doesn’t give us great lawn care information. We as homeowners and yard maintainers really need to know the grassy area eliminating the house, driveway, shed, and other non-grassy areas.
The great part about technology is we can now do that measurement from ANYWHERE! Lawn Serv built a tool leveraging aerial photography built off of the Google Maps database that you can use for free here — http://www.myyardsize.com/ . Below is a video on how it works.
It is very simple:
Put in your address
Plot points around the item you want to measure (cutting out your house, driveway, shed, etc).
Read the number in the top left
Measuring Tape – section off areas, do a length by width calculation, add them all together
At Lawn Serv we developed our DIY subscription box based on simple feedback from our customers and years of knowledge in lawn care. We identified a few things everyone should be thinking about and made the process simple by doing all the hard work leveraging science and data.
Here are some of those items:
Measure Your Lawn
Why? Over or under treating your lawn could be bad for your lawn or bad for the environment. The easiest way to do this is with the MY YARD SIZE website that we developed just for you! The alternative of course, is to use a tape measure and do some math.
Identify Your Turf
Why? Different types of grass require different mowing heights and lawn treatments. See the map below for understanding where you live and what type of grass you might have.
Cool-season grasses grow in the north and most of the transition zone. They grow best at 65-75 °F. Examples: Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, fescues, bentgrass.
Warm-season grass of the hotter southern states grows best at 80-95 °F. Some examples are St. Augustine, zoysia, bermuda, bahia, centipedegrass.
Learn When Your Lawn Grows and How to Feed It
Different grass types grow at different times of the year as you can see in the images above. It’s important to fertilize the lawn at the right time to fuel that growth and create a thick, green lawn.
Warm-season grass. Grows most vigorously during warm weather. Begin feeding in spring. Instead of seeding warm season grasses try grass plugs in the spring. They will grow and spread throughout the strong summer growth season.
Cool-season grass. Grows the best during the spring and fall, with a tendency to go dormant during the heat of summer. Battle the heat by applying at least 1 inch of water a week in deep less frequent waterings. You can also cut the grass higher to cool the roots. Root length is typically proportional to grass length, and deep roots help in summer heat.
We got a chance to sit down with Jacy from Fix It Home Improvement to talk about Lawn Serv recently. It was a great opportunity to discuss why homeowners should use the service and things they should be thinking about when taking care of their lawn!
Our portion of the interview starts at 14:40 minute mark.
The key to grass seed really taking to a new area is getting great soil seed contact. You want to take the time up front getting the area prepped so the seed has the highest likelihood of success to maintain moisture during germination. Some quick tips and a HowCast video below should get you there…
Think about taking this time to sharpen the blades for the new year
If you get sustained below freezing temperatures in your part of the country you need to think seriously about simple maintenance if you plan to extend the life of your machines. Grass clippings in bags can ruin them, so turn them inside out, rinse and let dry in the sun. You should clean your mower deck after each use, but especially before winter. Grass holds moisture and can rust parts of the mower quicker.
Gas only has a couple months shelf life. You should run that out if you don’t plan on mowing in the next 60 days and put new gas in.
Sharpe blades are going cut more efficiently and cleaner. This will improve the health of your lawn. Now that you have a few winter months off go take the blades to a local shop and get those sharpened. It’s short money for the saved headaches they can cause by creating lawn problems.
You need 1″ of water per week naturally or by you!
Use a sprinkler
Use a container to test how much water has fallen from the sprinkler
No matter how much you fertilizer your lawn or how perfect you mow it, if it doesn’t get enough water it will go dormant or die. It is important to get at least 1″ of water per week when you consider natural rain and watering yourself. It is also more important to water completely that frequently. If possible, water for ~20 minutes so the water can soak deep into the soil driving the roots down vs. a light watering teasing the roots towards the surface water. This is why using a sprinkler is the most effective way to water a lawn. It can be time consuming to stand there hand watering, so setup your smart phone alarm for 20 minutes and go do something else.