WHAT, WHY, HOW
WHAT, WHY, HOW
‘Dogs, children’s play, ball games, narrow walkways, etc – these can all lead to thin or bare patches in lawns. Often the best and easiest solution is lawn reseeding.
Is lawn reseeding better than laying new turf?
You might be tempted to replace the patch with new turf as the quickest remedy, but this has drawbacks: it requires a lot of work; it is expensive, especially as you must buy good turf (and may need to repair patches every year); and it can be hard to match the grasses in the surrounding area of lawn, leading to an uneven outcome. By comparison reseeding is cheaper and also easier, involving your routine lawn care jobs.
When is the best time for lawn reseeding?
Traditionally most lawn reseeding was done in the autumn when there was good natural moisture and moderate temperatures. With today’s weather, you can consider reseeding in spring as well (especially for shady areas), with some useful advantages: trees will not be dropping leaves onto the newly seeded areas; sunlight can permeate the less-thickly leaved trees; you might get sufficient (but light) rainfall to avoid additional watering; and the slowly rising temperatures will help encourage this earlier germination.
How do I prepare for lawn reseeding?
There are many ways to create a seed bed. However, a tip for successful reseeding is to create a seed bed from the soil you already have – by aerating. To do this, begin by hollow-tine aerating, and leave the soil cores on the surface to dry for an hour or two. Now pass over the problem area with a scarifier (preferably flail-bladed), with the blades set just above the ground – this turns the cores into seed bed material. Now apply the seed, by hand or using a drop-seeder. After this, use a leaf rake or a scarifier set higher to break up the soil some more and cover the seeds. Water gently to moisten but not drench the soil (you want to keep the aerated holes intact as good space for the seedlings to grow their roots) – and wait for nature to do its magic.
How should I water seed?
Watering new seed is very different to if you were watering a lawn. Seed germinates by absorbing moisture into the seed pod, swelling up and ‘popping’ or germinating. So, watering for short bursts (a few minutes each time) will stop the seed from drying out. Water soaked through the lawn is of no use to seed at all.
There is no rule of thumb when it comes to how quickly seed can germinate. Soil temperatures, moisture availability, depth of seed and light availability all play their part. Also, some grass species are larger and can germinate much quicker than others. Ultimately, however, the correct moisture in the surface and moderate soil temperatures are key to quickening up this process.
How do I look after the new seedlings?
To grow into strong plants, seedlings need foods, and they need it early. Generally, seedlings like phosphates, although some nitrogen is also useful. So, look for a quick-release fertiliser (conventional or organic) with a fairly high middle number, such as 5-10-5. Apply either when sowing the seed or when you first see germination, at 35-70 grams per square metre. The new plants will soon use it.