This was a rough year to keep turfgrass healthy and attractive just about everywhere east of the Mississsippi River. A cold, wet spring followed by a blistering hot, humid summer created perfect conditions for many turf diseases and lawn weeds.

Fall is an excellent time to repair lawn damage, reports Robert Schucker, president of R&S Landscaping, on northjersey.com.

 Schucker outlines a step-by-step process – core aeration, slit seeding and the application of fall fertilizer or compost – to bring lawns back to their vibrant green health.

Aeration:

* relieves compaction and allows oxygen and water to enter into the root system.
* allows better access by plants’ roots systems to organic fertilizers and nutrients.
* helps control the development of thatch, which can lead to problems with lawn disease, insect infestation and drought.
* loosens up tight, compacted soil, allowing the root system to grow.

Slit seeding is the most effective ways to apply seed because it puts the seed directly into the soil, increasing germination and protecting the seed from birds. Of course, you can resod lawns, but the cost is significantly greater.

The final step is to fertilize the lawn. Base your application on a soil test, advises Schucker.