Starting a Lawn from Seed

Dec 4, 2023 | Gardening Advice

Select the correct type of grass seed for the amount of sun in the area you are seeding. Most commercial grade seed will have this information on the package. For instance, mixes containing a lot of Kentucky Blue Grass will not thrive in heavy shade; it needs at least a half day of good sun abundant water and fertilizer.

Start by stripping off the old turf or vegetation and then break up the soil by tilling. The soil, you seed onto, should be easily worked and have a fine pebbly consistency. If you must bring in topsoil you will need at least 6-8″ of good clay based loam. Do not use loam that is very sandy or heavy clay.

By alternately raking and rolling with a roller you can achieve the degree of smoothness you desire. Check the pH of the soil. You may need to broadcast lime. The best pH range is 6.0 to 8.0. .

You are now ready to seed either by hand, using a broadcast spreader, or using a seeder. Which ever you use you need to get the seed into the soil from ¼ to ½ inch deep for best germination. This can be done by raking, after you have seeded, to create small furrows into which the seed will drop. If seeds lay on the surface of the soil, they will be more likely to dry out and die.

Once you have seeded, raked, and rolled the area you will need to spread fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 10-6-4, to help in getting the new grass off to a fast start. Do this at a rate of 1½-2 pounds per 100 square feet. Keep the area constantly damp but not soggy. Damp loam has a dark color; this is a good indication that it is moist. Once the seed begins germination you must keep it damp for about 10-14 days, until well established. After that, you may water 2 or 3 times per week. Keep your lawn moist or it will brown out in summer. Feed the lawn 2 or 3 times per year. May, July, and October for a nice looking lawn. Cut it at least once a week, leave it 2-3″ tall depending on the look you want.

The most common pests, in our area, are chinch bugs. These may be controlled with Diazinon liquid. Follow the label instructions carefully, or check with the extension service for rates.

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