Silly question, right?

Every school-aged child knows long sunny days plus moisture makes plants grow, but a little more education may keep your lawn looking beautiful all summer long. In Spring every lawn looks wonderfully lush and healthy. By late summer and early fall, the weak points appear as weeds and bare patches speckle lawns.

The majority of lawns are a composition of fescues, perennial ryegrass and the most popular Kentucky bluegrass. These cool season grasses grow best between 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Nearly 60% of all grass growth occurs in these first 6 weeks of spring. Thus, mid-April through May brings regrowth and it offers the ideal temperatures for seeding. In the fall, cooler temperatures allow an opportunity to aerate and spread another round of seed.

When seeding, especially to repair bare patches, consider the strengths and shortcomings of each species of grass.

Kentucky bluegrass is the bedrock of a healthy lawn. Kentucky bluegrass spreads via underground stems called rhizomes. Rhizomes creep throughout the soil forming a durable sod. This healthy root system defends against invasive weeds and insects. So, Kentucky bluegrass is exceptionally hardy and quickly recovers from harsh winters. However, Kentucky bluegrass prefers full sun and can be very slow to seed.

To compensate for these shortcomings, consider perennial ryegrass. This species germinates quickly to fill in bare patches. Once planted, this short grass helps to cool the ground and hold in moisture as the Kentucky bluegrass takes root. Ryegrass is also vital along hills to protect against erosion. Ryegrass is more complementary than permanent because it does not grow well in shade, harsh sunlight or areas prone to drought.

Finally, fescue is a great application for shady areas. Unlike Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass, fescue tolerates low light and even drought conditions. Blending fescue throughout large sunlit lawns will protect the other species during the hot summer months.

Feeding vs. Fertilizing

Applying seed when our lawns look their best may seem counter intuitive, but it may reduce the need for excessive fertilizer treatments and irrigation as the temperatures warm. Likewise, simply applying chemicals to boslter weakened grass in the fall may not restore the health of your lawn. Spreading fresh lawn soil, seed, aerating and watering in the fall trully strengthens the root system through the winter and into the following spring.

For tips on mowing, click here.

 

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