It’s prime time to grow new grass – here’s how!

The time is here - no questions asked. If you have bare or dead spots in your Waueksha or Brookfield, WI, lawn, this is the absolute best time of the year to fill them with new grass.

The first two weeks of September are prime time for grass seeding. Conditions align perfectly: warm days, cooler nights, and no leaves falling just yet.

By “grass seeding,” though, we don’t mean tossing out a few handfuls of seed and walking away. You want the grass to grow, right?

Growing grass successfully doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a multi-step process. Diligence is required.

Start with the right ingredients. Get yourself enough grass seed to cover the targeted areas. Buy a few bags of topsoil and some starter fertilizer.

Does your sprinkler still work? If not, replace it – you’ll need one for the all-important watering ahead.

Here’s where the important work starts. Soil preparation is vital. Grass roots can’t penetrate hard, compacted soil. Use a rake to loosen soil at least a couple inches deep wherever new grass is planned.

If dead grass lingers, rake it out. Add topsoil to areas that are low or uneven. More topsoil is usually a good idea anyhow in areas with lots of clay in the ground, such as Elm Grove and New Berlin.

Is your soil good and loose? Start spreading seed, following the recommended distribution rate on its packaging. Try as best possible to match the seed type to growing conditions, i.e. “shady” blend for largely shaded areas. Add some starter fertilizer – again, carefully follow the package instructions for how much.

Covering seeded areas is wise, but here’s where we explode conventional wisdom. If you use hay or straw, you risk mixing in weed seeds contained in their thatch. Try a covering material from a garden store or, better yet, from a landscape supply store.

It probably doesn’t look like much so far; in fact, your lawn might look kind of messy. That’s OK. Get the water running, and plan to water for 20 to 30 minutes daily.

For how long? Next week, we’ll provide the dry facts on watering new grass.

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