Posts Tagged With: essential yard tools

3 Options for How to Replant Grass in Your Yard

If looking out over your yard at the brown patches left by winter’s brutal temperatures isn’t enough to make you throw in the towel on growing a lush lawn in Indiana, then we may have some tips that can help.

At this time of year, DIY-gardeners have three options for replanting an existing lawn and giving it some love.

  • Over-seed
  • Plug it
  • Start over in the fall – the best time to replant grass in your yard

Although there’s no guarantee your lawn will improve if you engage one of the spring options instead of waiting until the fall, each one is worth a try. 

Climate Zones Determine Grass Growing

Climate Zone Map

In Indiana, climate zones 7 and 8 help determine what types of grass you should grow.

  • Cool weather grasses – the top third of the state falls into this category. These are grass types that grow better in areas that have cooler summers and winters. Some grass types in this category are Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye and both Tall and Fine Fescue. You primarily plant these type lawns in the early spring or the late summer/ early fall since they take time to germinate.
  • Warm weather grasses – the bottom third of the state falls into this category. These are grass types that grow better in areas with warmer summers and winters. Some of these are Bermuda grass and Zoysia. These grasses can be planted in the late spring as long as they have enough time to establish before the summer heat comes on.

1. Over-Seeding

If you want to over seed an existing lawn, be prepared to put in the time it will take to maintain it until the seed establishes. On an existing yard of Kentucky Bluegrass try seeding with a mixture of Bluegrass and Fine Fescue. The Fescue will establish faster and give the Bluegrass seed time to germinate. Here are a few basic steps to over-seed any type of lawn:

  1. Set your lawn mower at the lowest setting to remove most of the vegetation from the lawn. It will make it easier for the seeds to reach the ground.
  2. Rake the grass and top ¼-inch of soil underneath it and dispose of debris.
  3. Add fertilizer – apply per manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Broadcast seed over lawn in parallel lines – first in north/ south direction and then in an east/ west direction to avoid missing any areas.
  5. Use backside of rake to spread about ¼ inch of dirt over seed.
  6. Cover the ground with a thin layer of mulch made from wheat straw. You can rake straw away once grass starts to appear.
  7. Water lightly each day until grass is 2 inches tall.
  8. Best to wait to mow until grass has reached about 3 inches in height.

2. Lawn Plugging

If seeds are too slow for you then lawn plugging is the way to go. A “plug” is a 2 x 2 inch piece of sod that you can use to fill in bare spots on your lawn. You will need to till up the area you wish to plant, amend the soil with compost, and then create holes using a hand held grass plugger or an aerator/plugger. Place the plugs in a checkerboard pattern and fill the holes with lawn starter fertilizer. Insert the grass plugs and pack down the ground around them to eliminate air pockets. Give the entire area a thorough watering. Check out our blog, How to Plug Your Lawn in 3 Easy Steps, for additional details.

3. Great Grasses for Indiana

Whether you over-seed, plug or wait until the fall, here is some information on the different grasses that work well in our area. We have listed which are cool season grasses and which are warm season grasses. Depending on how you plan to proceed with improving your lawn one of these grass types may offer you a solution.

Kentucky Bluegrass – This is a cool season grass

  • Performs best in full sun
  • Slow to germinate
  • Winter hardy
  • New varieties are more disease resistant
  • Will need more fertilizer and water than other types

Fescue – This is a cool season grass

  • Drought, heat and shade tolerant
  • Requires less fertilizer
  • Grows deeper roots
  • Different varieties – Tall (broad leaf, clumping) and Fine (thin leaf,non-clumping)

Bermuda grass – This is a warm season grass

  • Best in full sun
  • Medium to fine texture
  • Drought resistant
  • Turns brown in winter when temperatures drop to point of frost
  • Can be aggressive and will take over flowerbeds
  • Need to keep in check with trimming or use of organic herbicides like vinegar

Zoysia – This is a warm season grass

  • Spreads and forms dense sod
  • Slow upward growth so needs less mowing
  • Low water consumption
  • Good for high traffic areas
  • Somewhat shade tolerant
  • Needs no pesticides or weed killers since it chokes out pests and weeds
  • Thrives in heat, goes dormant in cold weather

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your yard and garden projects. From seeders and tillers to aerator pluggers and more, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week. To learn more about your lawn, check out our helpful how-to guide, How Well Do You Know Your Lawn?

Categories: Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Part 1. Essential Yard Tools for Your Fall Maintenance Checklist

Fall is not surprisingly one of the biggest times of year to clean up your yard, which includes maintenance of trees and branches. With winter just around the corner, for those lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace, that means dead limbs make the perfect source of fuel, not to mention being ideal for fall mulching. That said, it seems to us that five fall maintenance tools tend to be most popular, and thus incredibly helpful. Read on to find out which and why.

5 Essential Fall Tools

1. Wood Chipper: Besides making mulch, wood chips can be used for several other purposes. A brilliant use of wood chips would be as fuel. It is a good source of biomass fuel, making it environment friendly, as well as energy efficient. If you are using it in your homes, you could use the chips in place of firewood. They can be lit up in much the same way and you can add bigger quantities of the chips to ensure your fire burns for a longer time.

Another interesting use of wood chips is for decoration. A large number of interior designers are now incorporating them into their designs to create wood chip paintings, murals and even furniture, which can be done by mixing other organic substances with it.

2. Stump Cutter: Now is also an ideal time to consider which rotten old trees to cut down, and with that, any old stumps from trees you’ve already cut. Stump cutters provide an easy and efficient method for shaving down old tree stumps – essentially grinding them down to dust. Getting rid of old tree stumps makes a huge difference on your lawn’s appearance and the overall health.

3. Log Splitter: Speaking of chopping down old, rotting, unwanted trees, once you yell timber, you’re left with some large tree trunks to clean up. And what better way of eliminating that mess, but to split them into firewood? Then you can start your winter stockpile. Log splitters may seem fairly hefty, but they are strong and reliable, so if you rented one you could finish all your log splitting in a day.

4. Post Hole Digger: In addition to chopping down trees, fall is also the perfect time to consider planting new trees, such as oaks and evergreens. However, you’ll want to get started on this sooner rather than later, meaning you’ll need a post hole digger to make room for your tree’s roots to grow down deep. Read this post to learn how to plant new trees.

A post hole digger is also the ideal tool for replacing old, rotten fence posts or deck/porch posts that need reinforced. You can rent a heavy-duty auger for either of these tasks, a post hole digger that attaches to a dingo or a simple handheld post hole digger.

5. Tree Pruner: Lastly, tree pruning is a popular to-do for this time of year. With all this arbor talk, it goes without saying that trees still alive and kicking probably need a good trim to prepare their healthy branches for the harsh winter weather fast approaching. For a few pruning tips, check out this post: How to Hedge and Trim Your Garden Greens.

Categories: Featured Products, Gardening and Lawn Care, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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