Core aerate and slice seed your lawn right now! Right now is the best time to rejuvenate your tired looking lawn. Two procedures that can really improve the condition of a yard are core aeration and slice seeding. Both performed within the next two weeks will almost certainly guarantee a healthier and thicker lawn by November.
Core aeration is best accomplished with the use of a core aerating machine. The machine is usually gas powered, self propelled, and actually punches holes in the ground bringing up earthen plugs. The plugs are generally about three inches long and as big around as a finger. Don’t rake them up, leave them on top of the ground so they will decompose. As they decompose they provide organic matter and micro-organisms that actually help dead thatch break down. This is a healthy, organic practice that is quite beneficial. Not only does it aid in decomposing the thatch layer, it provides holes in the ground that allow air, water, and fertilizer penetrate to the root zone of grass plants.
Slice seeding with a machine is the best way to over-seed an existing lawn. The machine actually cuts slices into the grass and soil with metal discs. Grass seed is delivered directly into the slices by means of feeder tubes mounted adjacent to the slicing discs. This ensures soil to seed contact which is essential for adequate germination.
The best results occur when core aeration is performed first. The soil must be moist for good penetration of the coring tines. Follow this procedure with the slice seeding machine. Two passes of the machine should be made, the second pass should be made at a right angle to the first. To ensure good germination, regular watering or rainfall is needed. Also, avoid seeding late in September or October. There usually is not enough time for the newly sprouted grasses to harden off before cold weather arrives.
These machines are quite pricey and somewhat delicate. They can be rented from tool rental shops for the do-it-your-selfer. Or, coring and slice seeding services can be hired out. Whichever route one takes, follow it up with a late fall fertilizer application. If the timing is right and the weather cooperates you will have a dynamic new lawn in the spring.