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Renovate, Repair and Rejuvenate with Aeration and Reseeding

As the summer season begins to wind down, you may notice that hot, dry weather has had some bad effects on your lawn. If your turf has a blueish-green hue, or if footprints remain in your lawn after you've walked on it, these are likely signs of stress from drought or insufficient irrigation. In addition, brown patches or chewed grass blades may be visible if insects or diseases are present. Other signs that your lawn is in need of help include thinning turf or bare areas throughout your yard.

Getting Your Lawn Back on Track

The best repair option depends on the specific needs and condition of your lawn. Some tried-and-true renovation methods include:

Aeration: All lawns need to be aerated from time to time. Plugs of soil are pulled up from your lawn to create more room for air, water and fertilizer to reach the roots. This results in expansion of the root system for thicker, healthier grass. Aeration can also help to break up harmful thatch layers.

Aeration with Overseeding: Following up aeration with overseeding is a great way to thicken up a thin lawn or add a hardier, more drought-resistant grass variety to your property. The new grass plants will have an easier time growing in the holes left by aeration.

Slice Seeding: This process cuts through thatch and plants grass seed into the soil in one pass, resulting in an entirely new lawn. Any unwanted weeds or grasses should first be removed with post-emergent herbicides.

Fall is the best time for any lawn seeding project. New grass that has had a chance to get established this season will be able to withstand the stress of the heat of next summer. By taking care of lawn repairs now, you can look forward to a thicker, greener, healthier lawn next spring!

Remember that all lawns, regardless of their condition, can benefit from renovation practices once per year. Here are some guidelines to follow when deciding on your lawn's specific repair needs:

Summer Watering:
Make Every Drop Count

Rising summer temperatures lead to an increase in your lawn and landscape plants' moisture needs. If rainfall is scarce this summer, your turf, trees and shrubs will really be counting on you to step in with some supplemental watering. It's a common misconception that light, frequent watering is beneficial. Actually, this does more harm than good by encouraging shallow root systems that dry out too quickly. What you want to do is cultivate deeper, more extensive roots. The way to do that is to water less often, but more deeply.

How Much is Enough?

Your lawn needs from 1" to 1.5" of water per week from rainfall or sprinkling. If there's no rain in the forecast, a long, deep soaking once per week will do (letting moisture penetrate 6" to 8" into the soil). Your trees and shrubs will also benefit from a deep weekly soaking in hot, dry weather. To keep them sufficiently hydrated, you should water them three times as long as you water your turf. Watering early in the morning helps to avoid evaporation from wind and the sun's heat. You can further improve watering efficiency by keeping sprinklers from hitting sidewalks and driveways.

Taking Away the Guesswork

To ensure that your lawn, trees and shrubs always get the right amounts of water at the right times, you may want to consider an automatic irrigation system. These systems take the work and worry out of watering with beneficial features such as:

• Timers that limit watering to the cooler parts of the day.

• Independent station programming to provide certain parts of your landscape with more water than others (depending on plants' individual moisture needs).

• Rain shut-off devices to prevent wasteful watering when it's raining.

• Soil moisture sensors to override irrigation when enough water is present in the soil.

Whether you choose the hands-on approach or let an automatic system do the watering for you, you'll be making a big difference in the health and beauty of your lawn, trees and shrubs!

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