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.
We often have customers reach out to ask whether they should tackle any of these complex-sounding lawn procedures. Does my lawn need to be aerated? When should I dethatch my lawn? How do I overseed…if I need to?
The good news is that these are actually much more straightforward than they seem. And, we’re here to help along the entire way!
Read on for an overview of the benefits of aeration, dethatching and overseeding, as well as one of our favorite videos highlighting some of the key steps.
And, as always, feel free to get in touch anytime with questions!
FIRST: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LAWN AERATION, DE-THATCHING, AND OVERSEEDING?
Aeration loosens compacted soil. Loose soil allows grass roots to plunge deeper into the soil, providing better access to vital water resources, particularly during times of stress (hot sun!).
Aeration (and de-thatching!) reduces thatch. Thatch is basically grass stems and roots that accumulate faster than they breakdown. Excessive thatch creates an environment that pests and diseases love!
Aeration opens access to the root zone. This allows much better circulation of air, moisture and food to the root zone, where nutrients are absorbed.
Aeration yields greater seed germination. Aeration holes (from “core aeration”) provide a great little spot for seeds to settle and germinate.
Overseeding introduces new grass variety and thickens existing turf. By diversifying your grass plants over time, you’re protecting against disease, drought, and pests. And, overseeding increases grass density, filling in bare spots, and crowding out weeds and pests!
Overseeding builds resistance to disease. By incorporating different blends of grass seed, you reduce your risk to diseases that can wipe out the entire lawn.
Aeration and overseeding will help to reduce weeds. Opportunistic weeds germinate in areas where they can be successful. Crabgrass grows in thin areas, nutsedge pops up in thin/low spots, and broadleaf weeds spread where there is little desirable grass. The best defense is to have a thick lawn.
Aeration and overseeding will give your lawn an immediate, beautiful boost! If your lawn was attacked by fungus, insects, or animals this year a core aeration and overseeding will help. You’ll be able to see seed germination in 7-10 days.
AERATION, DETHATCHING, AND OVERSEEDING EXAMPLE: IN THIS VIDEO, THIS OLD HOUSE LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR ROGER COOK BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO AN OLD LAWN.
Lawn Renovation Steps: 1. Put on hearing protection and 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. 3. Use a leaf rake to collect and remove all the thatch pulled from the lawn. 4. Run a gas-powered core aerator across the lawn. 5. Rake up and remove the soil plugs extracted by the aerator. 6. Spread compost over the lawn and rake it down into the holes. 7. Analyze the physical structure of the soil with a soil test kit; amend the soil as necessary. 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.