When to spread lime and when to overseed my lawn

Asked May 24, 2018, 2:31 PM EDT

I have been told by Lawn Doctor my lawn needs lime, and should do so in the fall. I'm going to aerate and overseed my lawn. Lawn Doctor said to aerate in September when rain is in the forecast, and right after that spread the lime. After the rain ends, shortly after that i should overseed. Do you agree with their suggestions? Also, do you have a suggestion as to the best grass seed i should buy? Our lawn is approximately 10,000 sq. ft., and mostly shaded with Maple Trees. Thank you for your help! Also, should all the maple leaves be collected in late Fall? I was told that the Maple leaf isn't good for the soil. Please advise.

Carroll County Maryland

1 Response

Liming, aerating, and overseeding all can be done in early fall. Our turfgrass maintenance calendar is a good reference for lawn care management throughout the year.
You mentioned that your lawn is "mostly shaded" by trees. The most common cool-season grass, turf-type tall fescue, needs a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight to grow well. Fine fescues, such as hard fescue, creeping red fescue, and sheep fescue are best suited for shady areas. Hard fescue is the best performer of the group.
Where there are mature tree roots, there is competition for nutrients and moisture, in addition to the shade, and turf begins to thin out over time. If you have too much shade and root competition, you might want to consider planting groundcovers instead. Read our page on growing lawn in shade. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/shade-lawns
A thin layer of fallen maple leaves can be mulched by running them over with a lawnmower and left on the lawn to decompose. You will have to rake the leaves or spread them out if they are thicker than about ½”. Excess mulched leaves can be added to a compost pile or used as mulch in an ornamental garden bed. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/faqs-lawns-management-practices-fall

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