Barbara J. Bromley, Mercer Co. Horticulturist


  • late summer to early fall (best) – earlier if herbicide will be used.
  • early spring (less desirable)


    1. DETERMINE CAUSE of turf decline or reason it is unacceptable, Correct problem. Have SOIL TEST run to determine lime and nutrient needs.
    2. Use a selective Herbicide (kills only broadleaved weeds) or non-selective herbicide (kills broadleaved plants and grasses), if needed. Retreat if noxious or persistent weeds are not killed by the first application. (optional).

[Wait the recommended time interval (usually 1 to 3 weeks) before seeding. Read the label!]

  1. MOW at about 1″. A short lawn is easier to verti-groove, seed and rake. Add topsoil to any isolated depressions. [If an excessive thatch layer (over 1 inch) is present, strip off dead grass and thatch using a sod cutter or spade. Proceed as for establishing a new lawn.]
  2. LIME according to soil test results, or 50 lbs./l000 sq. ft. of ground or pulverized limestone if no lime has been applied in 3 years.
  3. FERTILIZE according to soil test recommendation at full rate, or 15-20 lbs./l000 sq. ft. of 10-6-4 (50% slow release nitrogen) or similar 2-l- 1 ratio fertilizer. When using other ratio fertilizers, follow the label recommendation for new seedings.
  4. VERTI-GROOVE to remove thatch and create grooves in the soil.
  5. SEED at the rate recommended for the selected type of high quality grass seed.
  6. DRAG, using a steel doormat to clump loose thatch. (optional)
  7. RAKE to remove thatch, settle seed into the soil grooves, and cover the seed lightly.
  8. WATER, if needed. Keep uniformly moist, not wet, until germination occurs.