Whether you are starting with an existing lawn or have some grass established, seeding is always a process that takes time and patience. The mix of weed control and seed is a very fine balance which usually involves picking one or the other. This process can go a couple different ways depending on the time of year that this process is set to start, it can also take several years to get the results expected.
Starting the process off in spring can be tricky. Spring is the time of year that weeds are most prevalent and the best time to control them or prevent them. Pre-emergent needs to be down in the spring before the soil temperatures reach a consistent 55 degrees to help prevent crab grass from germinating. In the spring months, we highly recommend using weed control over doing the seeding. A full season of the lawn care program will get the weeds under control before planning a fall seeding. The more weeds that are under control, the easier the seed will germinate and grow.
Spring Start – Fall Seeding
After the fall seeding has been completed, it is crucial to follow the recommendations given on caring for the newly seeded lawn. The quicker the seed germinates and begins to grow; the better off the lawn will be the next year. In the following year, TurfGator recommends continuing the lawn care program beginning with the pre-emergent barrier during the early spring application. Without mature enough grass, this barrier cannot go down until the second lawn application which could allow more crabgrass to germinate than if this barrier had gone down during the first lawn application.
Spring Start – Spring Seeding
While spring is a good time to seed, be aware that there will be a struggle with weeds throughout the year. With a spring seeding, weeds cannot be controlled at all until early summer. Our commercial grade weed control products will interfere with the new grass seedlings, as well as prevent seed from germinating. Once the grass is mature enough, our post-emergent weed control sprays can be used to help get the weeds under control.
First of all, we recommend doing the fall aeration and overseeding in the current year. We are not concerned as much with the weeds lingering from the summer such as crabgrass, spurge, and nutsedge because they are about to stress out and die from cool fall temperatures. These weeds are annual weeds meaning that just because they grew there this year, does not mean they will automatically grow there next year.
Also, if your home is a new build, the compacted bare dirt is a breeding ground for these summer weeds. The fall weeds that are present or popping up will only last a little while before the winter temperatures stress them out too. Also, by putting an aerator on the lawn our technicians will be puncturing and tearing up the weeds, which will also stress them out and kill them. Any “skeletons” left from dead weeds should be left where they lay, as they will act as a natural straw blanket and help protect your seed and new seedlings.
Our technicians will leave you a care sheet on how to take care of your newly seeded lawn, we recommend following this sheet as closely as possible to get the best germination this year, rather than the seed germinating next year.
Fall Start – The Following Year
In the following year, the full 7-application lawn care program of fertilizer and weed control in will get the weeds more controlled throughout the year. For the first lawn application (March through early April) we will apply a pre-emergent barrier which helps prevent crabgrass and other grassy weeds from germinating. The sooner we can get this down the better; this is why it is so important to follow our seeding care sheet to get the grass to germinate this year, rather than next. If the grass is not mature enough at the 1st application, we will need to wait until the second application (April through early June) to apply the pre-emergent or spray for any weeds. If the pre-emergent barrier is not down before crabgrass starts germinating, some may pop and grow within the lawn which is more difficult to treat rather than prevent.
Seed, Treat, Repeat
Regardless of when the first seeding was done, we recommend aerating and overseeding again the following fall to help thicken the lawn even more and introduce new life into it. This will also help fill any bare or thin areas in the lawn where weeds have died off. The thicker the lawn, the fewer weeds are present.
We would recommend following the lawncare program in the future years to continue to control weeds and fertilize the lawn, we then recommend assessing the lawn during the summer months to determine if the lawn will need the aeration & overseeding yet again that fall. At this point, it may not be completely necessary if all the thin & bare spots are pretty well filled in, but it would still be highly beneficial to the lawn to introduce the new life and continue the thickening process. Once the lawn is well established, we recommend aerating every year to keep the soil loose and highly recommend seeding every year, or at least every other year to build or maintain the thickness.
The processes set out above should get you the results you are looking for over time, with care and patience. The owner of TurfGator has actually gone through this same process for their own personal lawn, as well as the lawns of their neighbors, and several other customers. Each of those processes averaged out to be about 3 years to get a full turn around.
Unfortunately, there is no seeding method that will give the lawn a sod-like appearance just from doing it once, seeding is a process rather than a one-time result so unless you are willing to pay the money for sod, growing a new lawn from scratch is a process, no matter which method is taken.
To Sum It Up
Seeding of the lawn can be done at any time, although it is highly recommend to be done in the fall. Timing is everything in the pick or choose balancing game of weed control and seeding. These recommendations are valid for new lawns, as well as for the reseeding established lawns.
It is always a good idea to consult with a lawn care professional and ask any questions you may have. Look around, ask friends or family, and research companies on the Better Business Bureau to find a company that you can trust.