Early fall is the perfect time to bring a dormant lawn back to life.
Step 1: Rake up any loose debris and excess thatch. If time permits, rent a gas-powered de-thatcher and run it over the entire yard. This will remove any excess layers of grass remnants and allow water, nutrients and seed to reach the soil.
Step 2: Water the lawn thoroughly for a couple of weeks to soften the soil and stimulate root growth. Once a screw driver can be plunged easily into the soil, the ground is moist enough to proceed.
Step 3: Spread a thin layer of finished compost over the entire lawn surface. Compost should be sprinkled across the lawn like Parmesan cheese on a pizza. Cotton burr compost is an excellent choice for reseeding applications.
Step 4: Aerate the soil to loosen the dirt and allow moisture to reach the roots of the lawn. A gas-powered core aerator will pull plugs of soil from the yard and deposit them back on top of the lawn Once the plugs have been watered back into the lawn, they will leave a nice layer of soil for the new seed to germinate in.
Step 5: Overseed your lawn following the recommended application rates provided by the seed manufacturer. Most fescue blends recommend spreading 6 to 8 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet of lawn. The Defiance brand fescue, which is highly disease- and drought-resistant, should be spread at a rate of 4 to 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Using a gas-powered verticutter or overseeder to spread the seed will provide a 75 percent greater germination rate then hand sowing the seed. Fescue seed requires dirt on three sides for proper germination. If a verticutter is not used to sow the seed, the lawn will need to be thoroughly hand-raked after over seeding to facilitate seed germination.
Step 6: After seed has been sown, water the lawn thoroughly. Continue watering the lawn daily, keeping the top half-inch of soil moist until the grass begins to germinate. Typical germination will occur within 10 days to two weeks.
Step 7: Once the seed has germinated, continue a regular watering schedule into the fall, watering the lawn with about an inch of water each week.