It’s that time of year again, in Johnson County: fall planting time, when local lawn mavens seek to rehabilitate their gardens from the stresses of summer and prepare for a green growth next spring.
The Post, as it has done in the past, recently spoke with Dennis Patton, Master Extension Gardener at Johnson County K State Extension Officefor tips on how homeowners can landscape their lawns for success this fall.
Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or just looking for reminders on seasonal lawn care, here are Patton’s tips that might make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood.
Johnson County Fall Seeding Questions Answered
When is the best time to sow in the fall?
Typically, it’s September, Patton said.
- With warm, sunny days and cool nights, and (usually) more frequent rains, it’s a good environment for seeds to germinate quickly, he said.
- While you might not see much peak growth from September to early December, he said, warm soil temperatures are ideal for “the internal system,” like root development, that supports growth. long-term maximum, he said.
What kind of seeds should I buy?
There are two types of seed that are best suited to the Kansas City-area climate, Patton said: Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue.
- There are also several varieties of each type of grass, he said.
- Nurseries usually sell a mix of seeds, he said, because different varieties are more immune to different problems like disease or drought.
How many seeds do I need?
For owners this year, what you should actually do is supervised your lawn, says Patton.
- Putting in some extra grass seed will help recover dry, patchy spots on our lawn before winter.
- For overseeding, Patton said that would mean about four pounds of tall fescue per 1,000 square feet or lawn and about 2 pounds of Kentucky bluegrass per 1,000 square feet.
How much and how often should I water for seedlings?
Before overseeding or reseeding your lawn, you want to make sure the soil is moist, Patton said.
- After spreading the seed, he said, lightly water the lawn again to account for any evaporation.
- The goal is to ensure that the lawn remains moist – not necessarily soaked – at all times.
Should I aerate my lawn before sowing?
Aeration is good, but the best method is to use a verticutter, Patton said.
- A verticutter is a tool with a row of saw blades spaced about an inch apart, which slice through the soil and create a seedbed.
- This allows the seeds to come into direct contact with the soil, which is essential for germination, Patton said.
- Aeration also works, but it won’t give homeowners an even lawn like the vertical cut, he said.
Patton said people should fertilize at the same time they lay the seed, because “the whole point is to get the grass to grow as fast and as vigorously as possible.”
- This will help create an established lawn, which can then better withstand weather conditions.
- A follow-up fertilizer treatment can be done about a month after overseeding, Patton said.
- Most nurseries sell fertilizer to accompany grass seed.
How long before you see results?
It depends on the type of seed you buy, Patton said.
- An established lawn created from tall fescue could take about seven to 10 days to sprout and start growing.
- Kentucky bluegrass can take about two weeks to become established, he said.
- Anyone with additional questions can contact the extension office’s hotline for free, Patton said.
- The number is (913) 715-7050.