As we approach fall, it's a good time to consider lawn repair or even putting in a new lawn. Alleviating compaction and thatch problems, as the temperatures moderate and soil moisture is more adequate, will improve your lawn. Early fall is a good time to consider a post emergence control for broadleaf weeds, if necessary.
If you want to repair bald spots in your lawn or to start a new lawn, late August through the first week in October is the optimum time. You don't want to plant lawn seed too late because it doesn't give the grass roots enough time to develop before the cold weather arrives. If you just need to repair some bare spots, here are some tips to get you started.
• Start by using a leaf rake to comb out any dead material.
• Using a garden rake, bring some fresh soil to the surface.
• Follow the quantity instructions on the grass seed label and lightly sprinkle the seed over the rough areas. Cover the seed with a thin layer of topsoil or compost before tamping the area with the back of a rake so the seed makes good contact with the soil.
• Add straw and water well. Straw keeps grass seed in place, protecting it from washing out and also conserves moisture.
Kentucky blue, fescue and rye grass are all good choices; however, it depends on soil quality and other environmental factors present in your yard.
Maintaining your lawn requires management practices at the right time of year. Things like good aeration and the right timing for weed control will ensure success with your lawn. You can find useful information on Cornell University's turfgrass website.
Visit www.gardening.cornell.edu/lawn/almanac to view "The Homeowner's Lawn Care and Water Quality Almanac," a guide with useful information on how to keep your lawn looking great all season long or call our hotline at 315-736-3394.
Rosanne Loparco, Master Gardener Volunteer, with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Observer-Dispatch or online at www.cceoneida.com.