Dethatch, aerate, seed: Nebraska Extension says the time for lawn care is now
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — With little change in southeastern Nebraska’s drought despite some rain, lawns are hurting.
The time to invest in your lawn is now, according to the Nebraska Extension office in Lancaster County.
Temperatures largely influence how the grasses here grow, controlling when you should seed and fertilize.
Now through Sept. 15, both Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue grow better as air and soil temperatures cool down. There is better root growth and new seedlings get off to a better start.
“We have cooler temperatures and hopefully more rain which allow for better root development on those new grass plants,” said Sarah Browning, an educator at Nebraska Extension. “Fall is also a time when we have less weed pressure, so we don’t have to fight the weeds quite as bad as you do with the spring seeding.”
When it comes to overseed and patch areas, there are steps to ready the soil before putting down any product.
“Before you overseed, always dethatch the lawn,” said Christian Burbach, owner of Black Label Property Services. “Dethatching is a process where you’ll scrape up the dead grass that’s been accumulating over the summers, years, however long. Especially if you are not bagging your grass, you’re going to want to dethatch almost on a yearly basis. This makes sure that you’re not going to have a bunch of dead spots on your yard from all that dead grass accumulating.”
After dethatching, professionals then encourage aerating your yard for the nutrients and oxygen it will provide the soil.
When you are ready to then overseed, buy the high-quality blue tag seed for your yard.
Once the seed is set, the area needs to be watered two to four times a day during the first two weeks, depending on temperatures.
As the grass approaches mowing height, you can slow down the number of times you water.
And mowing should start as soon as possible.
“People don’t want to wait and allow the grass seedlings to get tall before they start to mow,” Browning said. “They want to stick with their normal mowing schedule and start mowing those seedlings as quickly as possible to help them develop maturity.”
Experts say getting your seeding done as early as possible is important because each week of delay means two to four additional weeks the grass will need to mature in the fall.