I am planning to reseed my lawn in early September (that will
be early fall in my area -- Northern New Jersey Zone 6). Last
year my reseeding plan failed. This year, I want to do this
correctly. Please comment on my action-plan to see there is
anything that needs to improve.
My lawn actually is not that bad. There are only a few weeds
here and there, and the lawn grass look "OK" to me. The only
thing that I don't like is that fact that the lawn in my
front-yard and side-yard is kind of thin. The situation is
not getting better nor getting worse; this is just not as
good as I want. I believe this "thin lawn" problem is caused
by two things:
1. I only mow once a week in spring and in fall when the
grass is fast growing. I should be mowing at least twice a
week to encourage the lawn to grow thick.
2. The front yard and side yard has relatively thin top soil
(1" and 3" respectively).
3. The heavy snow that fell last winter compacted the grass
and the soil near the driveway and the walkway.
I intend to correct this problem by doing all of these:
1. I will mow more than once a week during grass growing
2. I will top-dress the lawn often with either top soil or
3. I will re-seed the lawn to help the lawn to have a good
head-start -- especially near the driveway and the
I will be concentrating on reseeding in this post.
My action plan for re-seeding is:
- Target date: Sept-6-2003
Let's call it the BIG DAY.
- Reserve the aerator from the tools rental place one week
before the day of reseeding. Also order finished compost
one week ahead for deliverying the compost to my driveway
in the morning of the BIG DAY. Also purchase all the grass
seeds (a blend of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial
ryegrass) and starter fertilizer (that is high in the
middle number, and should be quick release).
- Start mowing the lawn twice a week one week before the BIG
DAY. Gradually lower the mower in order to cut the grass
to the minimum height while not mowing more than 1/3 of
the grass height in each mow. The minimum height for the
Kentucky bluegrass that I have in my lawn is one and half
inch (according to the Ortho's book about lawn). I will
bag all the grass clippings in order to help seeds-and-
- Water deeply the lawn the morning before the BIG DAY to
help the grass to cope with the stress that I am about to
put on the grass during reseeding, and to ease the aerator
to work on the soil.
- Mow the lawn one last time in the evening right before the
BIG DAY (or any time during the day as long as the grass
is dry enough). Again I will bag all the grass clippings
in order to help seeds-and-soil contact.
- In the early morning of the BIG DAY, I will park all my
cars at the curb and away from my driveway.
- While I am waiting for the delivery of compost, I use
the aerator to aerate the whole lawn. And then, I rough up
the soil using a metal rake.
- I use a drop-spreader to put seeds into the lawn.
- Then, I use a rake to spread a 1/4" layer of compost onto
- Lightly water the lawn to get everything settled.
- For the next 20 days, I will lightly water the lawn
frequently (such as twice every day for 15 minutes each
time: once in the morning at 6:00am, another one in late
afternoon like 4:00pm). Water once a week when the grass
My questions are:
- I choose a blend of Kentucky bluegrass and perennial
ryegrass with the understanding that bluegrass takes a
long time to germinate and perennial ryegrass can
establish quickly. Basically, I am trying to increase my
chance of success. Just in case bluegrass doesn't
germinate, I will still have perennial ryegrass showing
up. And this is the only reason why I will use a blend of
seeds instead of using bluegrass seeds exclusively. But I
am not sure if this logic makes sense to me. If I were
doing landscaping for other people to make a living, I
might use this approach to make sure some grass will come
out and the home owner will not ask me for a refund. But I
am not doing this to earn a living. If I really want
Kentucky bluegrass, I am wondering if I will be better off
using Kentucky bluegrass exclusively?
- Do I really need to rough up the soil surface if I am
going to put compost on top of the soil anyway?
- Should I put compost first, or should I put seeds first?
I assume that putting compost on top of the seeds will
ensure good contact between seeds and soil (or compost).
But I am wondering if the grass seeds can germinate if
they are covered with 1/4" of compost? Do seeds need some
sun light to germinate?
- If I am going to put seeds on top of the 1/4" compost,
should I use a roller (with water inside to weight it
down) to roll over the seeds in order to enhance the
contact between seeds and compost?
- Am I missing anything? Any potential problem in my plan?
Thanks for any comment in advance.