I'm planning to do an annual core aeration and overseed on my 1/3 acre property in September and I have a few questions about the right way to do this.
I have two distinct lawn conditions: Front Yard gets >6 hours of summer sun a day. North yard and back yard get much less sun due to a large tree and being a north yard. Front/road-facing yard looks great most of the year; north-side is sparse and gets a lot of plantain, and this year had some significant insect damage as well. The back yard also gets plantain and looks great only until about July, at which time the tips are green but the blades near the soil are yellow/brown.
The back and north side yards get a fairly heavy foot traffic from family use; the front yard only gets foot traffic when I'm mowing or picking up fallen branches, etc. I mow to 3" from May to September then 2.5" until the end of the growing season. I irrigate to at least 1" a week (two 45 minute watering sessions a week per zone). I prefer to buy my supplies at Lesco/JDL whenever possible.
So, with all that out of the way, my questions.
- What should I overseed with this fall? My thoughts are Lesco shade mix for back/north-side and Park & Athletic mix for the front.
- Before aeration/overseeding, how low should I cut?
- After aeration/overseeding, how long should I wait (or how physically long should I let the existing grass grow) before my next mow?
- What should I fertilize with when overseeding? I have very high Phosphorous levels as of this past spring's soil test (200+ #/Acre) and low-adequate levels of Potassium. My pH is 6.8. The analysis also recommended Nitrogen at the rate of 3.5-4.5 lb/1000 sq.ft.
- If I do this in mid-September, should I do a 30-0-10 straight-fert in late October or should the next one be more a winterization fertilization (something like Lesco's 13-0-6 with lime)? Last year I used Scotts starter in August, 30-0-10 in mid-Sept and 13-0-6 in mid November.
Finally, this year I'm planning to rent a core aerator and do the work myself as opposed to trying to find a company who can schedule in a non-regular customer for a one-off in their peak busy schedule--this hasn't worked well in years past. Presuming I can find an aerator to rent when I need to do the job (my local HD has two but they're always in high demand), are there any pitfalls I need to avoid in their use? I'd planned on doing a double-pass (left/right then top/bottom), leaving the plugs on and immediately overseeding and fertilizing.
Thanks to one and all.