Summer -> Fall Yard Work Schedule

Hello everyone.
This summer, just like last summer, I had/have a problem with crabgrass. There is about 10-20% coverage in the front, and 70-80% coverage in the back. I used Lawn Doctor, but not in time to put 2 coats of pre-emergent, so I am not shocked about the crabgrass.
My real question is...
I definately want to powerseed, and with the amount of thatch I anticipate, I assume I should thatch. I don't know if I should aerate too, but I suppose it can't hurt.
What should my schedule be? If I were to thatch, aerate, and powerseed, should I do it in that order? I live in South Jersey, so when would be a good time to schedule these activities?
Thanks.
AJ
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I you have a real thatch problem, which isn't seen that often, I'd de-thatch first. Having a layer of some dead, brown decaying material is normal and not a thatch problem. Then I'd aerate and use a slice seeder at the same time. One problem you will have is if you have 80% crabgrass coverage, there is still going to be a lot of crabgrass there trying to compete with the new grass. So, instead of seeding in early sept, I'd probably wait till last week in sept. With falling temps, the crabgrass will be on the decline by then.
The other choice is you could kill the crabgrass now with Aclaim. The other question is, with that much crabgrass, what's the rest of the grass like? If the lawn is a complete mess, with lots of weeds and undesirable grass, the best solution may be to kill the whole thing with Roundup and reseed in early sept. You can reseed a week after roundup, but I'd give it more like two weeks so all the existing stuff is dead.
Just out of curiosity, what did Lawn Doctor do? Did you get them too late? Only one application of pre-emergent done at the right time, which for your area would be late april, when forsythias bloom, should keep this kind of thing from happening. You might have a little bit, but shouldn't have an 80% crabgrass problem.
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Thanks for your in-depth reply. You are probably right in me not needing to thatch.
The front yard and back yard grass looked absolutely stellar until crabgrass struck in late june, early july. In the section where there is not crabgrass coverage, the grass looks fine.
I had Scotts come out and do my front and back yard once in may, when they claimed to have put down pre-emergent. I then switched to Lawn Doctor, who applied crabgrass preventer to the front only (early to mid june). I was concerned at the time about my dog's reaction to the chemicals, which is why I did not do the back the second time.
Even so, I was disappointed with the results. I probably cut my yard too short, which is a lesson I learned this year. I will be vigilant next year about how much water, how many times to cut (2x / week), and how long to keep it (as long as possible!). I was just curious to see when a good time to powerseed would be. The concensus seems to be late September, so I think that is what I will do. I will be scalping the back yard (and maybe the front) in the mean time to make sure the crabgrass doesn't have time to grow those seed things.
Thanks again for your words.
AJ
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I do one application of pre-emergent plus fertilizer in late april here in central nj and that works fine. Might have a couple crabgrass plants that still show up, but that's about it. In the back, I don't even use a pre-emegent, it's mostly shade, which crabgrass doesn't like. I think a key here is getting a thick lawn to begin with, which helps block out any weeds. I apply fertilizer again in sept, then late oct with a winterizer type. That's it until the late April application.
You should also get your soil tested and adjust the PH now, before overseeding. The local county extension agent will test samples for about $10 or you can buy a test kit at garden centers.
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I was going to recommend that too. Get the soil tested.
http://www.rce.rutgers.edu/
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