This is the time of year when multiple things can be done to improve the health of your lawn. Depending on what your grass needs, now is the time to pick one of two important tasks: either overseeding or controlling weeds and fertilizing.
First, Determine What Your Biggest Problem Is:
- Are broadleaf weeds, like dandelions, your biggest problem? Answer: weed control.
- Or, do you have patchy, thin and damaged grass which allows weeds to poke through? Answer: overseed.
If you answered No. 1 and weeds are your biggest issue, now is the time to use a fertilizer that does double duty by controlling weeds and feeding the lawn. If you answered No. 2, skip ahead to section two.
But remember, you can’t do both at the same time. If you spread grass seed and a weed-control together, you will kill the new grass along with the weeds.
No. 1 – Control Weeds and Feed the Lawn at the Same Time:
- Choose a weed and feed fertilizer designated for your grass type.
- Make sure it has been 4-5 days since you cut your lawn. This gives the weed blades a chance to grow, making them more susceptible to the weed-killing powder.
- Water your lawn well the day before or the morning of the application.
- Apply the weed and feed with a drop spreader to a lawn that is damp to the touch. This allows more of the powder to stick to the weed blades.
- After 48 hours, water your lawn. This allows enough time for the weed killer to be absorbed by the weed blades. Watering right away fertilizes both active weeds and grass.
- You may be able to reseed in 3-4 weeks, but check your weed and feed fertilizer packaging for detailed reseeding instructions.
If you answered No. 2, and your grass needs more attention than the weeds, it’s time to overseed for a thick, healthy, and weed-free lawn.
No. 2 – How to Overseed Your Existing Lawn:
- Select seed to match current grass or pick a new one suited to your local climate. If you aren’t sure, ask your Garden Center associate for help selecting the right grass seed for your lawn.
- Read the label to determine the recommended coverage rate to know how much to buy. If you are unsure, ask your Garden Center associate.
- Mow your lawn short and do not water for 24 hours or wait until the dew dries.
- Set the rate of application on your spreader per the grass package label and fill the hopper. Test to make sure it’s delivering properly.
- Apply seed in precise stripes to the lawn surface.
- Hand rake lawn to force seed down onto the soil surface.
- Option: Topdress lawn with compost over newly applied seed to help keep it moist and covered for germination. (See more on topdressing.)
- Water twice a day until grass sprouts and new growth appears, and then adjust watering times for the long term.
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