Can you see the soil when you look down at your lawn? (See picture above) When a lawn is thin it allows for weeds to get started. It also causes the lawn to dry out much faster. A thin lawn, or one with several bare spots, needs to be over seeded.
The thatch layer can become so heavy that the primary root system of your lawn is growing more in the thatch than in the soil below. Shallow, thatch-rooted lawns are susceptible to drought damage. Thatch layers cause the following problems:
- Storage for disease
- Prevents air, water, and nutrients from reaching roots
- Ideal home for insects
If the thatch layer is over a 1/2" think, de-thatch your lawn. After de-thatching your may want to consider aeration. If thatch is an issue, more than likely compaction is too. Aerating will loosen up the soil and relieve any compaction. Following aeration either slit seed or over seed your lawn.
Rejuvenate An Old Lawn
Many older lawns were planted with common type turf grasses not suited for the needs of today's homeowners. Over-seeding with newer turf grass varieties can help it withstand insects, disease, drought, shady locations, and even heavy traffic.
- Seed planted in the fall has two growing periods (fall and spring) to germinate and grow before going through the drought and heat stress that is often associated with summer weather
- In the fall, most fast-growing weeds like crabgrass will not be sprouting and choking out the grass that is trying to grow
- Soil temperatures are higher in late summer, which means faster germination and establishment of grass
- Late season seeding will not disrupt the proper timing of weed control as spring seeding almost always interferes. Newly planted grass should not be treated for weeds until it is established
With over-seeding, the seed is broadcast evenly over the lawn and is washed into the soil where it lodges and sprouts. Another method is aeration plus over-seeding. The main advantage of this method is that aeration opens the soil and provides a better germinating area by improving seed to soil contact. For badly damaged or very thin and patchy lawns, slit seeding is an excellent way to get your lawn back on the road to health and beauty. Slit-seeding actually plants the seed into the soil while destroying thatch. When properly over seeded, a thin lawn can be turned into a thick, lush lawn in just a few weeks!
- Water, water, water. Deep but infrequent watering is the best method. At least 1" of water per week is recommended
- Approximately 4-6 weeks after germination, fertilize the lawn normally
- Protect your lawn from foot traffic until established
- Wait to mow the lawn until the new seedlings reach a height of 2 1/2 - 3"