When seeding a lawn, you want to start with the best soil possible. If it is a new area of lawn, you want to use a minimum of 4 to 6 inches of topsoil. You should have all of your soil delivered and then spread it on top of your existing soil. It is also good idea to use a rototiller and till it into the existing soil. Seeding a lawn requires careful preparation of the soil. If you decide to use new soil, use a soil roller to roll over on your lawn until you no longer see any footprints. Then, you want to over seed your lawn either by using a drop spreader or a Rotary spreader.
How to Seed a Lawn
When seeding a lawn, make sure to follow the directions as indicated on the package to get the best results. You need 3-4 times more seed with a new lawn then you need if you are just over seeding. Different types of grass seed come in different sizes, so the rate of application will vary, based on the size of the seed and the amount of ground you want to cover. You’ll want to apply about 7-10 pounds of grass seed per thousand square feet for new lawn installation and about 2-3 pounds per square foot when you are over seeding. (Kentucky Bluegrass requires less seed.)
Lawn experts recommend you get a soil test before applying lawn seed to decide whether your soil is too acidic. If you are adding topsoil from a nursery , you’re probably okay without doing a soil test. Most nurseries that deliver soil will usually have pretty good quality.
If you are just doing lawn seeding to fix spots or parts of your lawn that are sparse, rather than seeding a new lawn, you want to make sure to use a layer of light topsoil as a dressing, or else use peat moss to cover-up the seed and help it to germinate more quickly. This help to keep the lawn seed moist, but it will also help keep birds from devouring it. I always recommend that you put down starter fertilizer at the same time you are seeding lawn. The advantage of using starter fertilizers that helps the grass to establish itself faster, this often leads to better results, because you don’t have to continue watering your lawn three times a day to have good results. Once the lawn seed has grown in, you can water your lawn at the same amount you normally would.
When to Seed Lawn – Lawn Seeding
It is important to know when to seed lawn to get the best results. Essentially, there are two different types of grasses. Warm weather grasses tend to do really well when you plant them in the spring time or the early summer. This is probably the best time of year for you to plant a new lawn. Cool weather grasses can do just fine in the spring, (if you are careful about the weeds) but they also do really well during the fall. If you are planting this type of grass seed, you want to either planted in the beginning of the spring, or in the beginning of the fall. (* I just completed reading two books that said to over seed your grass in the fall if it is cool weather grass. However, after having eight years of landscaping experience in Portland, Seattle, and Idaho, I think that the spring time works just as great for cool weather grasses!)
When You Learn How to Seed Lawn, You Want to Wait out the Weeds
When you are seeding a lawn, you want to be very careful about weeds. As a general rule, you can wait out or you can use a mild weed killer to get rid of them. Once you have your soil ready, a lot of people will wait 7 to 10 days for weeds to germinate. Then, they will go out and either spray the weeds, or just hoe them out. If you do this a couple of times, you will get rid of all of your weeds. (Don’t use a pre-emergent (like Preen) on your weeds, or else your grass won’t grow!)
Advantages of Seeding a Lawn Vs Using Sod
The biggest advantage of using lawn seed instead of sod is that it is a lot less expensive. Your typical sod will cost anywhere from .20 per square foot to .50 just for the material. If you want a contractor to prepare your lawn and install the sod, you could easily be looking at paying $2-$3 per square foot. This means that 1000 ft.² long will probably end up costing you around $2500. Including the soil preparation, you can probably install 1000 ft.² of lawn seed for around $200 if you do the work yourself. Lawn seeding can save you a lot of money. Not only that, removing and installing sod is a lot of work. Did you know that sod weighs about three pounds per square foot. And a role of Sod that is 2 feet wide and 8 feet long, can weigh between 40 and 50 pounds.
How to Take Care of a New Lawn
Some books recommend that you cover your grass seed straw. This might work well with warm weather grasses, but with cool weather grasses, straw doesn’t do a lot. I recommend that you use a light covering of peat moss. Generally you can cover 1000 ft.² of lawn with about 8 ft.³ of peat moss. After your lawn seeded, cover it with a shallow top-dressing, make sure to water it regularly. You want to water at least twice a day, but if the weather gets over 70°, consider watering your lawn three or four times per day. The grass doesn’t come up right away. Generally it takes about a week for the seeds to germinate and then they start to grow into seedlings. It takes about 4 to 8 weeks for your new lawn to come in, depending on the type of grass you install and the temperature.
You want to wait it to mow your new lawn. Generally you want the height of the grass to reach about 4 inches, and then you want to cut off and inch to an inch and a quarter. Mowing the lawn will help it to grow denser and give you a better covering. After a couple of millions, you can bring your lawn height down to the desired level that you want to have it at.
Interesting Facts about New Lawn Seed
If you’re going to go through the trouble of installing a new lawn, you should definitely go with higher quality seed. Higher quality seed is often more drought resistant, and has a higher germination rate. Plus, grass quality will be much nicer. The difference in cost between a high quality seed at a low quality seed is often less than $30. It is definitely worth it, if your lawn is going to look nicer, and be more resistant to lawn disease, pests, and drought. Also, try to find a type of seed matches your lawn. For instance if you have a shady lawn, use shade seed. If you’re lawn gets a lot of traffic, use a variety of seed that is resistant to high traffic. This way you will have the best looking lawn possible.
Initially, you want to plant at least 10 to 20 seeds per square inch when you install a new lawn. Just follow the directions on the package to get these results. Once a lawn grows and starts becoming established, the lawn should have about six grass seeds growing in every square inch of the lawn. Too much lawn seed on your lawn is almost as damaging as not having enough.
No matter how good your lawn seed is, it will not grow or germinate if you do not water it enough. Watering your lawn once a day is not enough in most cases. When the weather is hot, you will need to water 2 to 4 times per day. New seedlings do not have a very deep root system. If they dry out, they will die. If your lawn gets wet often on, it will also destroy your germination rate. I have planted the lot of lawns for people, and the only ones I haven’t turned out are the ones where people have not watered diligently. Try to water enough to keep your grass moist but do not over water or water for very long.