The Fall time is one of the best times of the year for seeding your lawn.
If you are fortunate enough to select a site for a home and then oversee the construction, then you will also have the option of determining how your lawn begins. Of course, options include laying turf sod or seeding. Moreover, seeding can be performed on lawns that already exist.
There are a number of benefits to seeding your lawn.
· Seeding is less expensive than sodding.
· Seeding creates a stronger root system for the long term resulting in healthy looking grass.
· Too little watering, mowing grass too short, weeds and insects can weaken the root system of grass. Seeding helps keep the root system stronger resulting in a healthier lawn.
· Older lawns often include turf grass that requires higher maintenance, more fertilizing and more water. Seeding your lawn will combine new turf grass with the old helping the lawn resist bad weather and insects.
· Seeding can be done to eliminate patches caused by high traffic and assists in making your lawn appear more uniformed.
Preliminary Considerations Necessary Before Seeding
There are few things you need to consider before starting the seeding.
· Most turf grasses prefer neutral soil. So it is imperative that you test the soil and make any amendments to it that is recommended due to the results of the test.
· Do not apply a weed preventer or use weed and feed fertilizer prior to seeding. Weeds can be controlled only after the grass stemming from the seeds has been mowed at least four times.
Selecting the Correct Grass Type
Next, you need to determine the type of seeds to use. If you intend to use the seed to fortify an existing lawn, then identify the type of turf is growing in your lawn. If you are starting from scratch, select seed of a turf type that is best suited to grow in your region.
Instructions that appear on the grass seed package describe the characteristics of the seed. For example, the text will offer information on the amount of daylight, hardiness and moisture required that would cause the seeds to thrive.
There are only two types of turf grass seedling –- cool-season grasses or warm-season grasses.
Warm-season grasses thrive in areas where the summers are quite hot when temperatures are above 80°. These types of grass are tough and generally need less water, are drought-tolerant and form a dense lawn cover that thickens with age. The grass leaves turn brown in late fall and do not turn green again until the warm weather returns. These types of grass flourish in the lower southern region of the United States that include the southern portion of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, southern New Mexico and Arizona, and the southeast region of California. The best time to seed is from March through September.
Examples of warm-season grasses include Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, Saint Augustine grass, Kikuyu grass, and Zoysia grass.
Cool-season grasses thrive in temperatures from 60° in regions where winter temperatures reach below freezing. They grow during spring and fall and go dormant in the summer. Cool season grasses thrive in Canada and the northern region of the United States.
Examples of cold-season grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and fine fescue.
There is a transition zone between the cool-grass and warm-grass zones that cut through the center of the U.S. Some warm-season grasses do well there because of the hot, dry summers. Some cool-season grasses also do well due to the cold winters. Tall fescue is an example of a cool-season grass that does well in this zone because it is more heat-and drought-tolerant than other cool-season grasses. Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, and Zoysia grass are examples of warm-season grasses that do well in this zone because they are drought-tolerant and can withstand the cooler temperatures better than other warm-season grasses.
Seeding a New Lawn
Follow these steps when seeding a new lawn.
1. Dig or till to a depth of 3-inches
2. Remove clumps and clods with a rake.
3. Smooth and level the surface and include contours for drainage.
4. Add and work compost, topsoil and starter fertilizer into the soil.
5. Roll with a weighted lawn roller.
6. Spread the seed sowing half in one direction and the other half at a right angle.
7. Rake and roll again.
8. Mulch with wheat straw or use a seed starter mat or seed blanket to prevent the seed and loose soil from washing or blowing away.
9. Water frequently. Do not saturate. Just water enough to keep the seeds moist. Cut watering down to once a day when the grass has reached a height of about 1-inch.
10. Mow when the grass grows to about 2-1/2-inches to 3-inches.
11. After the grass has been mowed three times, follow a regular schedule of watering 1-inch per week.
12. Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control to prevent germination of unwanted grass.
Over Seeding an Existing Lawn
Seeding will fill out a healthy lawn and add extra green for the winter. Follow these steps to over seed an existing lawn.
1. Mow the existing grass lower than usual.
2. Dethatch if needed or rake to thin the turf.
3. Aerate to decrease soil compaction.
4. Amend the soil with compost.
5. Add starter fertilizer
7. Gently rake the seed into the soil.
8. Cover with mulch, compost, or peat moss.