Fall Best Time to Repair Summer-Ravaged Grass in Northeast

Cooler Temperatures and Warmer Soil Ideal Growing Conditions

Sep 14, 2010, 12:48 ET from The Scotts Company

MARYSVILLE, Ohio, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences recently recommended repairing grassy areas and lawns before winter to help prevent soil erosion and runoff. Dead grass or thinning areas in grassy spaces and lawns can lead to eroding soil which contains sediment and nutrients that can heighten pollution risks to water sources. Healthy grass naturally helps prevent rains from washing bare soil into streets, storm drains, streams, lakes, rivers and bays in the coming raining season. Simple actions like overseeding grassy areas and patching bare spots in the autumn can help keep soil in place and out of water resources.

Scotts turf scientist Phil Dwyer agrees, "Fall is the best time to repair dead spots or thin grass damaged by weeks of heat and low precipitation. Fall recovery starts by selecting the correct grass type for your region – resulting in easier maintenance come spring, using Mother Nature for watering, and developing a stronger root system to hold soil in place during the rainy season."

According to James Murphy, extension specialist in turf management at Rutgers, the cooler fall air, warm soils and more frequent rains are ideal growing conditions for grass when over-seeding a thin lawn or filling in bare spots. Murphy recommends amending soil during a lawn renovation. "Testing your soil will show what, if any, nutrients are needed for successful root establishment. A light layer of organic compost over the grass after aerating and seeding will add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, both of which are beneficial to the survival of plants."

Homeowners can take a few simple steps in the autumn and encourage vigorous growth in the spring. Grassy areas with thin or bare spots are easy to repair, and thick grass crowds out spring weeds. In the early fall, aerate thin areas and overseed with a grass seed or blend appropriate for the Northeast such as a fescue, perennial rye grass or Kentucky bluegrass. Bare spots can benefit from a seeding soil or compost mix before covering with an all-in-one seeding mix. More frequent precipitation, warmer soils and cooler temperatures in the fall assist with germination.

Another way to add organic matter is by mowing fallen leaves onto the grass instead of raking. This simple step reduces lawn waste and keeps leaves out of storm sewers while supplying nutrients to the soil. The increased organic matter from leaves helps protect lawns against winter stress. Combining an organic compost or fall lawn fertilizer with the mulched leaves will speed up the decomposition process.

Visit Rutgers.edu for more information on how to improve lawns organically. For fall lawns tips in the Northeast visit scotts.com.

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With approximately $3 billion in worldwide sales and more than 8,000 associates, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Scotts Company LLC, is the world's largest marketer of branded consumer products for lawn and garden care, with products for professional horticulture as well. The Company's brands are the most recognized in the industry In the U.S., the Company's Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho® brands are market-leading in their categories, as is the consumer Roundup® brand, which is marketed in North America and most of Europe exclusively by Scotts and owned by Monsanto. In the U.S., the Company operates Scotts LawnService®, the second largest residential lawn care service business.  In Europe, the Company's brands include Weedol®, Pathclear®, Evergreen®, Levington®, Miracle-Gro®, KB®, Fertiligene® and Substral®. For additional information, visit us at www.scotts.com.

SOURCE The Scotts Company