Editor’s Note: Due to a technical glitch, we are reposting Mike McGrath’s Garden Plot from Sept. 13, 2013.
This is a great time to plant a new lawn
Greg in Springfield writes: “My little 10-by-10 townhouse lawn gets full sun but dies every year by the beginning of June. How and when should I do the work of replacing it; and what type of grass should I use?”
This is the perfect time of year to seed a new cool-season lawn, Greg. Just remove any weeds, loosen up the soil, add an inch of compost, level the surface well, sow the new seed, cover it with a dusting of compost and mist it gently every morning. The new grass will be up and growing in five to seven days. (If you’ve been trying to seed in the spring, that’s why your lawns have been dying by summer.)
Bluegrass is the best cool-season grass for full sun areas, and it fills in its own bare spots. Just don’t cut it lower than three inches or feed it in the summer or you’ll lose another lawn.
However, with an area that small, sod is a very affordable alternative. You could lay cool-season sod now or in the spring. (Although you’ll probably find better quality sod in the spring.)
And if you’ve been caring for the lawn fairly correctly and suspect that the intense heat of summer concentrated on such a small area is the reason for your previous failures, you might want to consider zoysia or Bermuda — warm season grasses that thrive in D.C.-area summers but go tan and dormant in the colder months. Warm season grasses are always installed in the spring.