We build a house. We paint it or put on siding, install windows, a roof with a 20 year guarantee, a heating system, pave the driveway, put in shrubs and plant the lawn. As the years go by, we seal the driveway, fertilize the lawn, and repaint or pressure wash the siding. Finally, we replace the roof, repave the driveway, replace the clapboards or the siding, put in a new furnace and rip out the old shrubs and replant; but what about the lawn?
Yes we aerate, fertilize, etc. But did we ever think that this living, breathing ecosystem that is getting more physical use and abuse than any other part of our home, might need to be upgraded?
General maintenance of the lawn will help to keep the lawn growing, but the lawn that was installed years ago does not have the benefit of the many improved grass varieties that we work with today. When we seed lawns we now use endophytic grasses that are resistant to insects. We also select grass varieties for resistance to lawn diseases. And of course, we choose the best grass variety when your trees mature or are removed and the growing conditions change between full sun and shade. The key is to plant or replant with grasses that will adapt to the conditions in your lawn as they change.
Often times we inspect a lawn problem and find a problem such as "necrotic ring spot" or a patch of bent-grass in the lawn that is turning brown. These problems have absolutely nothing to do with the care you provide to your lawn when you are mowing or watering. Nor do they have anything to do with the fertilizer or the applications we make. These are problems that are related to the physiology of the plants in your lawn, or to the conditions in the soil. A few years ago the best seed varieties contained bent-grass. Now we consider bent-grass to be a weed because it turns brown in August. Sodded lawns are prone to soil fungal problems such as Necrotic Ring Spot. Sometimes we just struggle to get a lawn the way we want it simply because the lawn does not have a good foundation of the best grass varieties.
Slice Seeding and Over-seeding helps! No, seeding does not mean that there will never be a weed, insect, or brown spot in the lawn! After all, a lawn is a living breathing organism. We do not guaranteed that every single seed and every single spot will sprout and fill in. But, we do guarantee you that when we seed a lawn with new improved turf varieties, that the lawn will have the greatest opportunity to resist problems, and will have the strength to grow and recover when there are problems. (Please note that we put extensive labor and materials into all of our seeding and we need to ask for prompt payment.)
Over-seeding is a process when we core aerate the lawn to open the soil and bring those cores to the surface. We then literally "over-seed" the lawn by spreading grass seed OVER the lawn. The seed will fall into the core holes and mix into the cores on the lawn as they break down. The seed will germinate in the holes and will also sprout in the areas between those holes. Over-Seeding is a relatively inexpensive way to introduce new grass into an existing lawn and to help a lawn recover from summer stress. It is not the best solution for large bare areas.
Slice seeding starts with an assessment of whether the conditions on your lawn warrant slice seeding. If the lawn has too much "thatch", it may not be effective in getting new seed to establish. At that point we may recommend multiple aerations to reduce thatch before we seed. Once we know we can do the seeding, we determine with you whether we are seeding the front, back, or entire lawn.
When our lawn specialist arrives he will need to have all the sprinklers marked for him and the job must be paid for at that time (or in advance of his arrival). He will then slice seed the lawn with a machine that cuts vertically through the thatch and into the soil. At the same time, the machine is dropping seed which is brushed into those "slices" in the soil. This seed-to-soil contact increases germination of the seed. After raking up excessive debris and applying starter fertilizer, the specialist will give you watering instructions, and review his work. Finally, we put down starter fertilizer to give the new seed an extra "boost".
Then it's up to you! The lawn must be watered daily for at least 21 days to achieve maximum germination of the seed. If possible, you should water lightly in the morning and afternoon. (The best bluegrass seeds can take up to 21 days to sprout). Also, you will need to continue regular mowing of the grass. If the grass gets too tall, it will shade out the newly sprouted seedlings, so regular mowing at normal fall mowing height of 2 to 2.5 inches will allow those new improved grasses to get established. We will follow up with your regular late fall fertilizer and also lime if you ordered it, at the appropriate time. Our Continuing care during the following season will be focused on helping your "new lawn" to establish itself and ward off crabgrass and other weeds until it thickens!
Slice seeding is a better option to make faster more dramatic improvement on the lawn.
If you have any questions about slice seeding or over-seeding, please give us a call today!