This summer the Greater Boston area felt sweltering heat with hardly any rainfall. If the hot sun turned your lush, green lawn into withered patches of brown grass, you’re not alone. Which is why we highly recommend aerating and overseeding your lawn this fall to help it recuperate from a hot, dry summer. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see fresh, green grass popping next spring. Aeration and overseeding are the primary ways to rejuvenating a lawn back to health. As professionals who create and maintain beautiful lawns all across the Greater Boston area, we wanted to explain why these lawn care practices are so vital to maintaining healthy grass.
Q: What is aeration and overseeding?
A: Aeration is the process of creating thousands of tiny holes in your yard. This helps your lawn breathe and brings water and nutrients down to the roots of your lawn. When your soil gets compacted over time, water and nutrients have a harder time circulating down to the roots. Organic matter and thatch also builds up right below the surface of your lawn starving your lawn for nutrients. This can cause your lawn to begin to look lackluster and lose the fresh green of spring.
Overseeding involves thinly covering your lawn with seed to encourage the growth of new grass. Cool season grass germinates and grows after the heat of the summer and before the cold of the winter, so you should make plans to overseed your Boston lawn in the August - October months. It’s best to hire a professional lawn care company like Patriot Pest Management to overseed because it’s crucial to know where and how much seed to add to blend the different grass types together for a uniform looking lawn. If decide to do your own overseeding be sure to buy a seed spreader, which will help the grass grow naturally in the bare spots.
Q: When is the best time to aerate and seed?
A: Aeration is much easier when the soil is wet, but not fully saturated. Don’t aerate during drought or high heat; this will add stress to your grass and potentially kill it. Fall and early spring are the ideal times to aerate and seed because the temperature is right to germinate either cold weather or warm weather grass seed and there's consistent rainfall. You should overseed after you aerate for two reasons:
1) The soil will be looser and better able to support new growth.
2) The seed will be able to fall into the aeration holes, and with proper watering, will mature under very favorable conditions.
Q: How do I aerate and overseed my lawn?
A: To aerate your lawn you use either a spike aerator or plug aerator. Lawn and Garden Stores will often rent these machines for a reasonable price. We recommend a plug aerator to remove soil plugs 2-3 inches deep and ½ an inch wide. A spike aerator can often create holes that are too small causing the soil to become even more compacted. You can overseed by hand, or you can rent a grass seeder (similar to a fertilizer) to distribute the new seeds all over your lawn,
Q: Why should I aerate my lawn?
A: Hot and dry weather force the soil of your yard to get compact and tough. Compacted soil makes it hard for water, nutrients, oxygen, and fertilizer to have access to the roots of your grass. When these key elements can’t get to the roots your grass dies off, causing brown patches to spread out all over your landscape. The holes that you create across your yard by aerating the soil enables the vital elements easily reach the roots of your grass.
Q: Why should I overseed my lawn?
A: There are a lot of reasons why overseeding is beneficial to a lawn. Here are a few:
1) Thickens the grass of your lawn
2) Fills in bare spots with fresh growth
3) Enhances the lawn’s ability to protect itself against insects and diseases
4) Makes the lawn look more vibrant and beautiful
Q: What other tips would be useful for aeration and overseeding?
A: After you aerate and overseed, be sure to water the seed often. Usually there will be directions on the bag of seed that you bought. In addition, lay down starter fertilizer to help promote the growth of the new grass. This fertilizer will give your yard an extra boost after aeration because it will have easy access to the roots of the grass. This will help your lawn flourish in the fall so it can be thick and beautiful come spring.
Need A Breath of Fresh Air?
Lawn aeration gives the roots of your grass a breath of fresh air, but maybe you need one, too! After long, hot summers homeowners can get sick and tired of caring for their lawn. They want to aerate and seed, but they don’t have the time. If you want to help your lawn recover from the blistering summer we just had but don’t have the time, let us know. We can help rejuvenate your lawn so next spring you’ll have a carpet of green grass rather than a withered yard.