a Lawn from Seed
The best time plant grass seed is from late
August to early September. Spring and fall provide favorable
growing conditions for cool season lawn grasses. Seeding in
late summer provides two peak growth seasons before the new
lawn must experience a period of hot, dry summer weather.
Early spring seedings are not as successful
as fall seeding. The grass plants do not have enough time to
get well established before hot summer weather.
Grass seed can be spread over the ground
with a fertilizer spreader. Use about 4 pounds of seed per 1000
square feet of area. Drag a broom rake over the seeded area
to mix the seed into the soil surface. Next, cover the new seeding
with straw, using 1 bale for each 500 square feet of area.
Watering is critical for new seedings. Sprinkle
lightly several times a day to keep the soil surface cool and
When the grass is about 2 inches tall remove
half the straw. The rest can be allowed to decompose naturally.
Mowing can begin when the grass is 2 1/2
to 3 inches tall. The mower blade must be sharp. Dull blades
will pull the young plants out of the ground rather than cut
Fertilize with a lawn fertilizer when the
plants are 2 inches tall. Be sure to water in the fertilizer
if the instructions on the bag say to do so.
Water so that an inch of water per week
is applied to the new seeding.
Lawn Site Preparation
Whether seeding or sodding, the site must
be properly prepared. Use a herbicide such as Round-Up or Kleen-Up
to kill existing vegetation. This is especially necessary if
problem weeds such as quackgrass, tall fescue or bentgrass are
present. Rototilling such weeds into the soil just spreads them
around and will not kill them. The same procedure is needed
to kill off an existing lawn prior to starting a new lawn.
Remove any debris that may be left from
construction. Debris buried just below the soil surface can
result in localized dry spots that will be a problem once the
lawn is established. Establish the final grade, making sure
there are no low areas where water can collect. Where the soil
is packed down, cultivate as deeply as possible.
Many times topsoil is spread over the existing
soil. To be a help, at least 6 inches of topsoil are needed.
A 1 or 2 inch layer will probably result in poor water movement
and a very shallow-rooted lawn. Either put on at least 6 inches
of topsoil or don't add any. If topsoil is added, mix some of
it into the top 3 inches of existing soil. This will promote
water movement from the added soil into the existing soil.
Prior to planting, fertilizer and lime should
be worked into the soil as recommended by a soil test. Do not
add lime unless soil test results indicate a need. If the soil
is not tested, use 15 to 20 pounds of 12-12-12 or 16-16-16 per
1000 square feet prior to seeding. When sodding, use 10 pounds
of 5-20-20 or similar fertilizer per 1000 square feet. Work
the fertilizer into the top 3 inches of the soil.
Rake the soil to level the seed bed and
establish the final grade. The soil should be 1 inch below driveways
It is now time to plant.
see also: Starting
A New Lawn From Sod
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