By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s been a hard summer on our yards and experts say now is when you need to act if you want to improve your turf next year.

The Post-Gazette’s Organic Gardener Doug Oster says now is the time to rent an aerating machine.

Oster says follow with a slow release organic fertilizer and watch the grass take off. For bare or thin spots, overseed.

“Because the grass gets old and it gets tired and the new grass – man it goes crazy,” Oster said.

“All that seed needs to have is to have contact with the soil and to never dry out once it gets wet.”

Straw or a light compost fertilizer cover feeds it and keeps it moist. This is also the time to fire up a thatching machine and go after the thatch.

“It’s just this buildup of organic material in there that becomes kind of a tight carpet and your grass can’t get through it,” Oster said. “It chokes it out.”

Got weeds?

“You’re really better off waiting until early in the season for weed control,” he said.

Moss on the other hand needs to be raked out and the soil tested.

“[We] probably have a ph problem and we probably have a fertility problem,” Oster said.

The test will tell you what to add to your yard to grow grass. But if your yard is a mess, you may need to start over.

“If you want this to be a perfect lawn next year, the only way you’re going to do it is to tear up what you have and start again.”

That’s expensive, but Oster says the better idea is to aerate, fertilize, overseed and be patient.

“Work on that for at least two seasons and see if you can bring the grass back,” Oster said.

Whether you do decide to do, now is the time to take the action, but whatever you do, you are not going to see the benefits or reap the rewards if you will until next spring.

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