Reseeding the Receding Lawn #GardenSense

Empty wooden bench on a green lawn

When someone mentions receding, we often think of hairlines. But this term can also apply to those growing bare spots in our lawns. Constant foot traffic, pets, kids and their bikes and even encroaching shade contribute to these patchy areas.

Now is the time to start searching out those areas and setting a strategy for reseeding.  

Fall is the best time to consider refurbishing lawn landscapes. Grass produces more root mass and a deeper root system during cooler weather.

There is less weed competition and heat stress in autumn. Also, soil in the area may be too wet for good seedbed preparation in spring. Do a soil test at least two weeks before spot reseeding your lawn.

Before you can plant you need to know your turf’s fertilizer and water requirements. Fertilizing a dormant grass is wasting time and money. Applying too much fertilizer or fertilizing before a storm will guarantee its entry into the local watershed. Most lawns can benefit from fall fertilizing at nitrogen levels of 30 percent.

When fall or late fall fertilization is practiced, disease and weed problems usually become less severe. Heat and drought tolerance are usually better, thus enhancing summer lawn quality. Clipping production is also usually less in the spring and summer following late fall fertilizer application.

Practicing lawn mulching or leaving the clippings on your lawn during the growing season produces the same results organically and at no cost.

First, till or dig and break apart compacted soil. Apply recommended lime or fertilizer and organic matter if needed. Till this material into the top four to six inches of soil. Level.

Starter fertilizer is high in phosphoric acid helps promote a healthy root system. For an added boost, mix starter fertilizer into the top inch of soil. Use either synthetic fertilizer or organic substitute in the form of rock phosphate, bone meal or dried blood.Most grass seed mixes contain both annual and perennial seeds. The annual seed fills in the spot; this process crowds out weeds to give perennial seeds less competition.

Broadcast seed and rake in to cover. Water well and cover with a light mulch of straw to retain moisture.

If shade is causing your bare spots, try pruning trees or tree roots.

Shade or shadows cast from buildings cause a light problem for most grasses. Replace newly shaded area with groundcover.

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