Seeding, Fertilization, and Aeration
Early fall months are considered best for seeding; warm days and cool nights, along with light watering to start, are considered best to establish seed germination. In addition, since Northern Virginia soil is very acidic, a lime application to balance pH levels is also recommended.
For cool-season grasses, fertilization and aeration are also recommended for late summer to early fall. Fertilization helps a lawn recover from environmental stressors and encourages the natural thickening process of lawn grasses. A blend of dry and liquid fertilizers is considered best for feeding, but timing varies by grass variety. Aeration is the process of allowing air to move through the thatch layer and into the soil. Core aeration removes plugs of soil and grass and puts them on top of the lawn. Spike aeration puts holes into the ground so the air and water can move into the soil profile. If grass seed is applied first, it can be driven into the ground. Both methods loosen the soil, allowing water to flow in and fresh air to oxygenate the soil. In addition, loose soil increases the efficacy of applied treatments such as fertilizer and pesticides.