Five steps to great new fall grass

Summer can be hard on grass. Heat, drought and general activity (think: kids and dogs) can give your lawn a beating.

Fortunately, fall is the perfect opportunity to make it up.

The combination of warm days and cool nights is magic for growing grass. If you have bare patches or dead spots, fall is prime time to fill them with new seedlings.

Don’t fool yourself - there’s work involved. Getting grass started is a process of preparation, implementation and diligence. No shortcuts exist. Those “lawn patch” kits you find in stores might seem easy; unfortunately, they’re long on cost and short on results.

Fall grass growing in Brookfield, WI

Ready to get your grass growing? Just follow these five steps:

1)      Purchase: Buy grass seed (ideally a rye, fescue and bluegrass mix), starter fertilizer and some topsoil. Match seed to growing conditions, i.e. “sunny” blend for areas with lots of sun. Don’t go light on the seed – more is better!

2)      Prepare: Rake out dead grass. Loosen soil a couple inches deep so that roots can penetrate. Add topsoil to even out low or uneven spots. Topsoil is a good idea anyhow in areas with clay soil, such as Brookfield, Elm Grove and New Berlin, WI.

3)      Seed: Spread seed across the target areas. Be generous! Add the starter fertilizer using the package instructions.

4)      Cover: A seed covering is wise; however, think twice about using hay or straw, which can add all sorts of weed seeds to your grass seed. Try a covering material from a garden store.

5)      Water, water, water: Here’s where many would-be grass growers slip up. Watering is the “diligence” part. Plan to water newly-seeded areas daily for three to four weeks. Thirty minutes per day is ideal. Morning is best. Don’t forget to move the sprinkler as needed, to reach every spot!

Follow these steps, and nature will take care of the rest. Your reward? You can cut the new grass with a hand mower (not riding) after five weeks. By then, leaves will have fallen, and you can chop them into fresh mulch.

We’re in an amazing stretch of weather. It won’t last forever, though. Don’t wait to take advantage of the best time of year for growing grass … and patting yourself on the back afterward for a job well-done.

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