Rejuvenate Your Lawn with Core Aeration and Reseeding

core aeration and reseeding

For cool-season turfgrass, fall is a time of renewal and recovery from the stresses of summer heat. As the temperatures start to moderate and rainfall increases, the turf plants will start growing new roots and new plants to replace those that were damaged or even killed during the summer. Spring may be the time when other landscape plants start to grow, but fall is the time of regrowth for cool-season turfgrasses with core aeration.

Cool season turfgrasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and tall fescue have varying degrees of tolerance to heat and drought:

 

Heat ToleranceDrought Tolerance
Fine FescueGoodVery Good
Kentucky BluegrassGood to PoorGood
Perennial RyegrassGoodGood
Tall FescueVery GoodVery Good

 

These ratings are based on an average summer.  If conditions are extreme, the turf will suffer.  For example, roots of Kentucky bluegrass will start to die when soil temperature in the top inch of soil will start to die. All these grasses can survive about 28 days without water, but they all will thin out if a drought lasts much longer than 28 days.

Fall Core Aeration

One constant in lawn care is that all lawns will benefit from an annual core aeration. Core aeration is performed by a machine that travels across the lawn and has a series of tines built in that puncture the soil and remove 2 to 3-inch-long plugs or cores of soil and thatch and deposits the them back on the lawn’s surface. This process will open the lawn to provide more air, water and nutrients into the turf root zone. Strengthening the roots is key to having a healthy lawn.

The best time to do core aeration on a a cool-season lawn is in the fall, from mid-August through mid-December. A lawn can also go through aeration in the spring, but the optimum time is in the fall. The roots of cool season turf grow best when soil temperatures are in the range of 60 to 80 degrees. Even if the lawn is aerated before the soil temperatures drop to these favorable levels, the aerification process will be completed to help promote better root growth when the temperatures drop.

Fall Lawn Reseeding

A great time for lawn reseeding is shortly after it has been core has gone through aeration. Grass seed needs to come in contact with soil and receive adequate moisture to remain viable once the germination process begins. A good portion of the seed will end up in the core holes, which ends up being a great place for the seed to germinate. The soil in the core holes will be cooler and remain moist and the seed will have a much better chance of germinating. Soil temperatures for seed germination for the different cool season grasses are:

 

Kentucky Bluegrass59 to 86°
Fine Fescue59 to 77°
Perennial Ryegrass68 to 86°
Tall Fescue68 to 86°

 

Even if your area did not have to endure any extreme heat or drought this past summer, having the lawn aerated and reseeded will help ensure an even better lawn next year. One other important part of a fall lawn overseeding program, it needs to be completed early enough for the seed to germinate and sufficiently grow before inclement weather sets in for the winter. In the colder parts of the cool-season areas, try to have the seeding completed by the end of September. If you are in the more southern part of the cool season areas, you have more time, but you should try to have it completed by end of October.

If you are interested in having your lawn core aerated and overseeded this fall, contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green and make arrangements to rejuvenate your lawn this fall.

Fall Lawn Care

End Of Season

Fall lawn care is an important part of ensuring your lawn is healthy and beautiful season after season. Below find tips on the best ways to care for a lawn in the fall, specific to northern and southern regions.

Northern Areas

Aerate your lawn
Fall is the time when a lawn naturally repairs itself from the ravages of summer stresses. You can help this along by aerating to open up your lawn to allow more air, water and nutrients to reach the root zone. Lawn aeration will also help reduce thatch problems.

Seed
Most cool season grasses take a beating during the summer and will die due to heat and dry conditions. Fall is the best time to reseed cool-season grasses. If you aerate your lawn first, the seed will have a better chance of survival.

Fertilize
Lawns are beginning to store food and transferring energy downwards to build a stronger root system. Applying a fall fertilizer will promote a stronger root system and healthier turf.

To rake or not to rake?
The answer to this is one of personal preference. I choose to grind up the leaves that fall on my lawn instead of raking them up and  putting them in paper bags that I have to purchase. Research has shown that grinding up leaves and leaving them on your lawn does not contribute to the thatch layer and can actually add to the organic content on your soil.

Control Weeds
There are numerous weeds that start to germinate in the fall, such as dandelions, some thistles and Shepherd’s Purse. Applying a weed control in the fall will lead to fewer weeds in the spring.

Southern Areas

Fertilize
Avoid using high nitrogen fertilizers in the fall. You have to allow time for warm season grasses to harden-off before they go into dormancy.  Apply a fertilizer that is higher in potassium (the last number on a fertilizer bag analysis) in the fall.

Control Weeds
As with northern areas, there are numerous winter annual weeds that germinate in the fall. Get these under control before they have a chance to get established in your lawn.

To rake or not to rake?
Even though you may be in an area that does not receive much snow fall, there are still trees that will lose their leaves. Grind them up with your mower instead of raking them up. You will be adding beneficial organic material to the soil.

Get Your Lawn Ready For Winter (Part 1)

What You Need To Do To Get Your Lawn Ready For Winter

Northern Areas

Aerate your lawn – Fall is the time when a lawn naturally repairs itself from the ravages of summer stresses.  You can help this along by aerating your lawn to open up your lawn to allow more air, water and nutrients to reach the root zone.  Aeration will also help reduce thatch problems. 

Fertilize – Lawns are beginning to store food and transferring energy downwards to build a stronger root system.  Applying a fall fertilizer will promote a stronger root system and healthier turf.

To rake or not to rake? – The answer to this is one of personal preference.  I choose to grind up the leaves that fall on my lawn instead of raking them up, putting them in paper bags that I have to purchase and placing a $2.00 sticker on each bag.  Research has shown that grinding up leaves and leaving them on your lawn does not contribute to the thatch layer and can actually add to the organic content on your soil.

Control Weeds – There are numerous weeds that start to germinate in the fall, such as dandelions, some thistles and Shepherd’s Purse.  Applying a weed control in the fall lead to less weeds in the spring.

Southern Areas

Fertilize – Avoid using high nitrogen fertilizers in the fall.  You have to allow time for warm season grasses to harden-off before they go into dormancy.  Apply a fertilizer that is higher in potassium (the last number on a fertilizer bag analysis) in the fall.

Control Weeds – As with northern areas, there are numerous winter annual weeds that germinate in the fall.  Get these under control before they have a chance to get established in your lawn.