From Green Right Now Reports
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.
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