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FutureStarrSeed or Sod in the Fall
In both the installation of seed and sod, there is some preparation required for the lawn. In either case, there may need to be the removal of old, dead grass, rocks, tree stumps, or fallen leaves. Also in both cases, the soil may need to be prepared to handle the addition of the new grass. Herbicides may be necessary to control weeds, while nutrients may need to be added to help the grass grow. The cost of this soil preparation is normally included in the cost of the seed installation, but if the ground is in poor condition, it may cost an additional $2 per square foot. The cost of soil preparation with sod is generally less, around $0.40 to $0.60 per square foot.
Seed – It takes a lot longer to grow a dense, lush lawn so if time is a factor, seed may be the losing option. If you’ve got time to tend the lawn, and can wait until the optimal growing season, seed is worthy of consideration. The time of year you plant is critical and limited. Early fall is best because more likelihood of weeds in spring. Growing your own turf requires a lot of attention and time, as well as watering.I’ve received many questions from homeowners recently regarding fall seeding options if they’ve missed the optimal seeding window from mid-August to mid-September. If you’ve missed that window, but you still want to conduct seeding practices this fall, my recommendation is to wait until November to seed. This practice is called “dormant seeding” and is certainly an effective way to introduce new species and/or varieties of turf into your existing lawn.
One last shot at lawn improvement can be done even yet this fall. By early November, most lawn care chores and activities are completed; lawn mowers are put away, watering has ended, hoses are drained and stored for the winter, irrigation systems have been blown out and winterized and, the last, late season nitrogen fertilizer has been put down. Yet, there remains one activity that can still be done to help repair or thicken the lawn for next year. In fact, prior to the early part of November (at least in the Twin Cities area, earlier in the northern half of Minnesota), it would be have been too early to do this task. That task is known as dormant seeding. It is best employed when wanting to reseed bare soil areas or help thicken up thin lawns. It is not as effective, where lawns are thick and dense with little opportunity to achieve the good seed to soil contact necessary for the grass seeds to germinate and grow next spring.I have re-posted an article (below) written by retired Extension Turfgrass Educator Bob Mugaas, which was previously published in the University of Minnesota Extension Yard and Garden Newspublication:http://blog.lib.umn.edu/efans/ygnews/2009/11/dormant-seed-now-to-promote-th.html This is a great article that applies well to this fall and should be considered. In it, Bob mentions that seed to soil contact is a very important aspect that will ensure a higher success rate from the dormant seeding process. My only caution is that if you have existing grass you want to preserve, consider being less aggressive with the your practices…….choose the hand rake versus a power rake if this is a concern to you. (Source: turf.umn.edu)