Lawn renovation can be a large undertaking, but the benefits derived from resurrecting your home landscape are well worth it.
Autumn the Prime Time to Renovate
Timing is everything when it comes to lawn renovation, and Long Island’s temperate climate dictates that the ideal window for such improvements ranges from late August through early October. The region’s cool season grasses—perennial rye, Kentucky bluegrass, and fescue, a few of the most common—thrive during the warm days and cool nights of autumn.
While spring weather may also be favorable, challenges such as crabgrass, insect and disease infestation—coupled with the looming prospect of summer drought, excessive heat and humidity—present steep obstacles to the process. By taking the initiative to renovate in the fall, lawns have the added opportunity to establish and grow well before the first snowfall, a welcome head start come spring.
How do you determine if your lawn is in need of such a thorough overhaul? A good rule of thumb is if more than 50% of the property is made up of weeds and bare spots, renovation is the best solution, as spot seeding simply will not do the trick. Summer’s relentless sun often takes a toll on lawns, necessitating some serious TLC in autumn.
The Process, Explained
The renovation process involves scalping the lawn with mowers, power raking existing materials such as dead grass and debris and pulling cores using an aerator. This extremely labor- and machine-intensive process opens up the soil to encourage oxygen and moisture penetration, necessary for seed germination to begin, which is better for long-term growth.
If needed, screened topsoil can be added using shovels and rakes to achieve a level grade before the slice seeding process begins. This is accomplished by cutting grooves into the lawn, carefully placing the seed one-eighth of an inch into the ground. Slice seeding aids seed-to-soil contact, helping to both minimize washout and maximize moisture retention. It’s also important to use the proper mixture of seed (sunny versus shady) to achieve optimal results.
Two other factors essential to the successful growth of grass are a level pH and adequate water. Ideal pH range is between 6.2 and 6.8. Once a baseline is determined, you can assess if the addition of lime is needed. With generous watering, critical to seed germination and growth, your renovated lawn should begin to emerge within a week or two.
Though lawn renovation can, in theory, be a DIY project, it’s recommended that you enlist the assistance of a professional landscape company. This will ensure the highest quality grass seed and proper equipment are utilized, with expertly trained crews supervising the entire process, from start to finish.
Dodds & Eder provides lawn renovation as part of its full suite of property management services. Contact our veteran staff of professional landscape maintenance and design professionals to plan your project today.