Fall Lawn Care

When lawn renovation is needed, Core/Slice seed renovation can often solve the problem quickly, easily, and with little mess or bother. Our system combines two services in one.

Core/Slice Renovation

First, we power core aerate the lawn. Core aeration is one of the most important, most beneficial services you can do for your lawn. Aeration improves soil structure, helps control thatch, helps with soil compaction, and opens the soil for better water and nutrient penetration to the roots of grass plants. Core aeration removes small cores of soil about 1-3” in length from your lawn. These are deposited back on the soil surface and will help create a soil topdressing to cover the seed during the slicing process.

After aeration, the lawn is heavily over-seeded with an establishment rate of our exclusive blend of Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. A slice seeder is then used to incorporate the seed into the top ¼” of soil. The “slicing knives” of this machine effectively cuts the seed through the thatch into furrows created in the soil.

Slice-seeding provides proper seed-to-soil contact and results in much better germination and growth rate than seed that is just broadcast or spread by hand.

This service also presents a great opportunity to topdress with organic matter. Be sure to ask about our compost topdressing application if you are if your soil is hard compact clay.

Power Core Aeration

Core aeration is one of the most important cultural practices available for your lawn. Aeration helps control thatch, improves soil structure, helps create growth pockets for new roots, and opens the way for better food, air and water penetration to the roots where it is needed the most. Annual, or sometimes, bi-annual aeration is advised for very heavy clay soils, those with a buildup of thatch or soil compaction.

How does aeration work?

Aeration removes thousands of small cores of soil 1-3” in length. These cores of soil melt back into the lawn after a few rainfalls, mixing with whatever thatch exists on your lawn. The holes created by aeration catch fertilizer and water. Turf roots naturally grow toward these growth pockets and thicken in the process. Aeration also relieves pressure from compacted soils letting oxygen and water move more freely into the root zone. Regular aeration is recommended to keep soil properly aerated and break down thatch.

After aeration, the lawn is over-seeded with our exclusive blend of Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. It is important to point out that, because aeration does not create a seedbed, it is not guaranteed to fill the lawn in completely. If the lawn is bare and thin or filled in with weeds and crabgrass, a Core/Slice Seed Renovation is recommended to initiate a completely new stand of turfgrass.

This service also presents a great opportunity to topdress with organic matter. Be sure to ask about our compost topdressing application if you are if your soil is hard compact clay.

Watering for Core/Slice Renovation: Instructions for the First 2-3 Weeks

You should begin watering your lawn as soon as possible after your renovation is complete. The new seed will require daily watering for the next 2-3 weeks. The top ¼”- ½” of soil should remain moist to ensure proper seed germination and seedling development. Daily watering, twice to three times a day, for approximately 5-15 minutes per area is generally what your lawn will need. However, since every lawn is different, you will have to determine whether or not you are watering adequately. Here are some general guidelines to follow.

Once you start watering, DO NOT STOP! It is very important for the development of your new seed that the seedbed remain moist. If you allow the soil to dry out, you risk permanent damage to the new seedlings.

Do not overwater. Applying too much water can lead to runoff and puddling. Apply only enough water so that the soil stays moist.

Make absolutely certain that water is getting to all areas of your lawn, regardless of the type of watering system you use. Many sprinklers easily miss corners and edges and these areas are particularly vulnerable to drying out faster than the center portion of your lawn. Also, areas near buildings dry out faster because of reflected heat. For these reasons, these areas will require special attention from you when watering. Water them by hand if necessary.

Runoff may occur on some soils and sloped areas before the soil has been adequately moistened. To conserve water, prevent erosion, and ensure adequate soak-in, turn off the water when runoff begins to occur. Wait 30 minutes to an hour, and then restart the watering on that area. Repeat this process, as necessary, until the soil is adequately moistened.

After your initial 2-3 week watering

If you followed the above instructions, your new seed should be germinating well, and the new seedlings should be establishing their initial roots within 2-3 weeks. Keep in mind that not all areas of the lawn will fill in at the same rate. Some areas will fill in faster than others.

Factors such as temperature, rainfall, sun, shade, soil composition, and contour will affect the rate at which your lawn thickens. If some areas seem to be sluggish, concentrate some additional watering in these areas.

Your new lawn will require special care throughout the rest of the growing season to completely fill in. Most lawns will do well with 1 inch of water per week. This can be applied by watering 2 to 3 times a week, depending on natural precipitation. Now, deep watering is needed so that the underlying soil stays wet 3-4 inches down. Infrequent and deep watering will encourage the grass plants to establish their roots deeper in the soil.

Deeply rooted grasses are better able to survive heat and drought stress because it has the ability to tap into subsurface moisture. During the rest of the growing season, deep and infrequent watering will replenish the “soil-water bank” your new turf will need to survive. Refer to our information sheet, “The Key to a Beautiful Lawn is a Customer Who Cares”, for more information on maintenance after establishment. This information sheet is available online at www.mrwlawns.com

When to Start Mowing

You will need to begin a regular mowing regimen once the lawn has grown up to 4”. This will usually occur after 3-4 weeks. Keep in mind that not all of the grass plants will grow at the same speed. Some areas may take 4-5 weeks while others will only take 2-3 weeks. You only need to mow the areas that have grown to 4”. Be sure not to use heavy garden equipment for at least the first four or five cuts, or as long as the new grass is young. You will cause irreparable damage to the new seedlings, especially on slopes where tractor tires can actually rip the grass out of the ground and cause major problems with soil compaction. For best results, use a light push mower until you are sure a garden tractor will not cause damage.

Cool-season grasses (the type we planted in your lawn today) should be mowed at 3-3½ inches. Use a ruler to measure the height, as mower settings vary greatly and do not always reflect the actual height of the grass in inches. Mowing new turf too close can cause stress, especially during warm fall days.

The Thumb Rule

The most important rule of thumb to remember when mowing is to mow often enough so as never to remove more than one-third (1/3) of the leaf area of the grass. For example, if you are mowing your tall fescue lawn at 3 inches, then you should mow before the lawn grows any taller than 4 ½ inches. Maintain a sharp mower blade. A dull blade can cause drought stress symptoms and disease problems. If you mow regularly, it is beneficial to leave the clippings down. Clippings will decompose and supply free fertilizer in the process. A mulching mower that cuts the clippings up finely is best. Only remove clippings if your lawn has grown excessively high or if your specialist has recommended doing so in your note.

Leaf Removal

When removing leaves, it is best to use a leaf blower rather than a rake. If a rake is all you have, use a flexible metal grass rake as opposed to a plastic grass rake. The metal rake is more flexible and will do less damage to the turf. Wet leaves can be especially tough, so remove leaves on a regular basis before they settle to the soil surface, and start to damage your turf. Be careful when using blowers, as these can cause damage if not used properly. When removing limbs and twigs, it is best to pick these up by hand.

The bottom line is, be aware of what you are doing to your new turf.

Compost Applications

From time to time, it is possible that you will find a small amount of inorganic debris in our compost, such as plastic or glass. The parent material used to produce our compost, “Leaf-Gro”, comes from recycled yard waste from homeowner lawns. Unfortunately, we have no control over what the homeowner puts in the recycle bags so glass bottles, cans, and plastic will ultimately reach the composting facility. If you find this type of debris in your compost application, it should not pose a hazard, or harm the lawn in any way. It will work its way into the soil over a very short period of time. As a homeowner, recycling is everyone’s responsibility. However, we need to remember why yard waste and plastic, glass, and metal are recycled separately. Please do your part to keep these items in their proper place.

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