‘Tis the Season for Planting a Lawn

The book of Ecclesiastes states, “To everything there is a season…a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” This is certainly true for anyone who wishes to have a lush green lawn. “But where do I begin?” you ask. “Do I need any special tools?” and “What type of seeds will be best for planting a lawn I can be proud of?”  Don’t fear. Planting a new lawn is not an insurmountable task nor does it require a degree in horticulture.

Where Do I Begin When Planting Grass Seed?

The first step in planting a new lawn is not with the grass seed, but rather it begins with the soil. Unless you have healthy soil, all the time and money spent on grass seed will come to naught. To ascertain your soil’s health and readiness for planting grass seed, it is recommended that you get your soil tested for its nutrients/acidity levels. Once you have the results, you can begin to make any adjustments for planting a lawn. Components of healthy soil are minerals (glacial material and decaying rock), water, air, and organic material (any carbon based material). These components, combined with texture and soil structure, all play a vital role in preparing for planting grass seed. Other factors are the depth of your topsoil (a minimum of 6 inches) and draining or flooding concerns.

What Tools Do I Need to Plant a Lawn?

Depending on how large your yard is, you have a few choices in the tools you use. However, some of the standard tools for preparing and planting a new lawn are a small tractor with bucket leader, a bull dozer or a grader blade (aka power rake) which can be rented. If you opt for a less expensive, though more physical route, you can use a landscape rake, a drum roller, a seed spreader, a shovel or spade, a hose with a spray nozzle and edging materials.

Planting Grass Seed—What Is The Best?

In selecting the type of grass to plant, be sure to select a variety that will work well with your demographics, amount of sunlight and the appearance and characteristics of the chosen grass. Grasses like Bluegrass, Perennial Rye, Fairway Wheat, and assorted Fescues do well in cold weather regions and in warm regions grasses like Bahia, Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine, Seashore Paspalum, Zoysia and Carpet Grass are recommended.  Some characteristics to keep in mind are the varieties’ tolerance levels for salt, drought, high heat, extreme cold, its growth rate, and fertilizer requirements. Planting a lawn can be achieved either by laying sod or by planting grass seed.

Step by Step-Planting a Lawn:

  1. Spread the seed – set the dial on the seed spreader on low, fill the hopper with 1/3 of the amount needed for the area then make 3 passes across the area from different directions.
  2. Roll the lawn with a drum roller.
  3. Cover the seed – Although many people use hay or straw, it is better to use a fine layer of compost.
  4. Heavily water the lawn – After planting grass seed, you should water your lawn as much as 3x a day to keep the surface soil moist.
  5. Reseed and Re-evaluate – 2-3 weeks later note and reseed any areas that grass is not growing well. If shaded areas are not thriving, you may want to select a different variety of grass for those areas.
Planting a new lawn takes time, but when you walk outside on a balmy summer night, and see a luxurious blanket of lush green, all your work will be worth it!
 
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