(1) What is the best time of the year, and in what order, to dethatch, aerate, reseed, and top dress my lawns? Eg., if you aerate after reseeding, does that kill or scatter the seeds?
(2) How often throughout the year do you recommend repeating these activities?
It takes some time, patience and a fair bit of work to get a truly magnificent looking lawn but worth it if this is an important part of your landscaped garden.
The best order for rejuvenating your lawn is, dethatch, aerate, top dress and reseed. At this time of year, it would be best if this can be done in the spring – wait until the ground has fully thawed after the winter and all excess moisture has drained away. If your footprints stay on the ground after you have gently walked, then it is too soon to work the soil, so stay off it as you will only cause soil compaction.
Purchasing the freshest seed, for your garden soil & light conditions, and good quality weed free top soil is important.
Caring for your new lawn on an ongoing basis is crucial for a healthy weed free ground cover.
In the spring, feeding with something like a 20.5.10 (N.P.K) fertilizer will ensure the plants have the nutrients they need. N is for lush green growth, P is for root development, and K is for overall plant health and vigor. In late October or early November, feed with something like a 13.25.12 (N.P.K) fertilizer as this will increase root development for overwintering the plants.
Watering your new lawn on a regular basis is crucial throughout the season – for new plant establishment right through to warding off drought in the hot summer months.
Grass should also be cut to a height of 2.5 inches so raise the blades on your lawn mower and have those blades sharpened. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn will let them decompose naturally returning nutrients back to the soil.
Once you have a healthy full lawn, weeds will have less of an opportunity to become established and dethatching, aeration, top dressing and reseeding should only need to be done every few years.