Rototilling after seeding?

Asked October 4, 2019, 12:10 PM EDT

I wish I had put together a better "attack plan", but what's done is done.

My wife and I are first-time homeowners (in Windsor) as of January and didn't really take care of our lawn over the summer. We also had a lot of demo projects and as a result, the lawn is all but barren. To avoid a muddy backyard over the winter, we're trying to establish ryegrass. 2 days ago we raked the top of the soil, put down ryegrass seed, and then fertilized it with starter fertilizer. We've been watering it plenty, but I got to thinking that the soil is quite tough. I'm worried that it lacks enough oxygen and/or will not allow the fertilizer to mix in and stay around to sustain the grass. As I mentioned we did rake the soil but it was rather superficial penetration.

Is it too late to rent a rototiller over the weekend and loosen the soil? I read that it takes 5-10 days for ryegrass to germinate, so if it hasn't germinated is that OK to do? Clearly I'm a novice and unexperienced, so any advice on how to proceed (including another route I haven't considered altogether) would be highly appreciated - other miscellaneous tips are welcomed too!. Thanks in advance.

Weld County Colorado

1 Response

Hi, this is Steve and thank you for your question. I think breaking up the soil surface is a good idea, even at this point. We are a bit late to seed a lawn, so we will hope for good weather this fall. You can rent a rototiller and work the yard or get someone to core aerate, which because of the weight of the machine is easier to hire done. After doing either, I might spread more seed as it is fairly inexpensive to be sure you have plenty. Rake and irrigate after. It's important to get good soil to seed contact. I'm attaching information for you and even though it is for renovating existing yards, skip the parts about killing existing lawn and go from there. CSU Extension publications (google) has many tips on lawn care going forward. Good luck.
https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/renovating-the-home-lawn-7-241/