You may not think of fall as being the best time for outdoor care since fall is the season when most plants die. Fall can be a perfect time to prepare your lawn for the next season. Aeration and overseeding in the fall can make a big improvement in your yard come spring.
Aeration is the practice of punching small cores into the soil. The holes allow air and water deeper down to the grassroots. Aeration benefits yards with heavy traffic, or yards with clay soil. Yards made out of sandy soil do not need aeration. There are machines created for aeration, but for a small yard, it might be better to just spend a day punching holes with a hand tool.
Aeration helps solve certain yard problems like the build-up of thatch. Thatch is an organic matter that has not decomposed on the top side of the soil. Thatch can cause such problems as shallow grass roots, and less effective grub control. Thatch can occur when there are excessive grass growth and over fertilization.
Aeration needs to happen before a period of growth, or stress. Early fall is a perfect time because it gives the soil a chance to recover before winter hits. In fall the weeds are not as prevalent. The holes created for aeration make the perfect place for weeds to seed. In fall the grass has also stopped actively growing.
The best time to over-seed is after aeration. A lawn not over seeded can become old and stressed. The lawn will have to compete with weeds and other stresses. The grass can begin to fade and be taken over by weeds or left as a spot of soil. New varieties of seeds may have better immunities to disease, insects, and drought. Introducing these seeds to your lawn may make you have stronger fuller grass.
When choosing a seed make sure that it is appropriate for the climate where you live. The use of your yard also needs to be taken into consideration. A highly trafficked yard requires more maintenance than one that you just look at. The quality of seed is also an important consideration, a cheap seed is often loaded with weeds to use as a filler.
A small yard can be seeded by hand. First, divide the seed you want to use in half. Then pick a direction that you will go and walk straight in that direction. After you have spread the seed, spread the other half by walking in a right angle. For a larger yard, it might be better to use a fertilizer spreader. After you seed water the lawn and spread any desired fertilizer.
There are many benefits to over-seeding in the fall. Over-seeding in the fall reduces competition from weeds like foxtails, and crabgrass. The rain in the fall offers ideal moisture amounts for the soil. The soil is still warm which helps seed germination. It also gives the seed a head start. The grass will take root before the hardships of winter.