Are you tired of the dull and gray appearance of your yard? Do you want to add some life and freshness to it? Planning and patience go hand in hand in achieving a beautiful garden or a nice green, new lawn. Your landscape design can be aided by planting a good variety of grass seeds found in your local area. Using the ideal garden soil can help you plant grass that can grow fast and healthy.
If you have an existing garden with some soil, then grass planting would be a great idea. This can be an economical way to restore and enhance your bare spots as well as refresh the appearance of your existing landscape.
Important Things to Consider Before Planting Grass Seed
If you are a newbie in planting and gardening, there are several things you must consider before starting the journey of planting grasses on your new lawn.
Success in the Garden Starts with the Ideal Soil
No amount of good or new grass seed variety can help create a nice green lawn if you are not using the ideal soil. Good turf can provide the necessary nutrients needed. You need this together with moisture and sunlight. The end result will give you a lush lawn. Neutral turf can be used for most grasses. Testing the soil first can guarantee that the plants can grow well and will save you time and effort trying to amend or alter if it won’t work later.
No Fertilizer Needed
The process of growing your grass should be done naturally without the aid of any fertilizer. Do not use any weed preventer either liquid or granular as these may harm your seedlings. Control the weeds later when grasses have already thrived well.
Different types of grass in an existing lawn
The variations in the growth cycle of your chosen grass seedling dictate the ideal time to plant them. Working with their natural cycle will ensure that they will thrive well under your care and will result in the lawn that you always want to have.
Selecting the correct seeds can help you achieve the kind of lawn that you want to have. Take into consideration that there are seed varieties that can perform well in other parts of the region than the others. There are buying guides available to help you choose the ideal grass seedlings that can thrive on your lawn.
Warm Season Grass Variety
Warm-season grasses like Bermuda grasses, Zoysia, and centipede can grow well in the western area of the United States. They can grow the strongest during the late spring to early summer. This is also the optimal time to spread grass seed on new lawns. You can also reseed your existing lawn during this particular growing season to obtain nice and fresh batches of grasses.
So, how do you know your chosen grass seed belongs to the warm-season type? Simple. Read along to find out the characteristics of warm-season quality grass seed.
- These can be overseeded with annual grasses throughout the year.
- The seed of this type can thrive in hot summers and mild winters.
- These types are dormant in fall and winter.
- They need less water, which makes them drought tolerant.
- They will even thrive at an 80°F temperature.
- They have wide coarse blades
- They belong to the creeping variety of grass
- They should be mowed close to the ground
Cool Season Grass Variety
Planting cool-season grasses in the late summer or early fall will assure a rapid growth period for this variety. This is their ideal season as the level of moisture and warmth in the turf will help in the germination of this seed variety and the cool air temperatures will support their growth and suppress warm-season weeds from interfering.
Areas or regions where winter temperatures can reach below freezing can grow a grass seed of this type. Depending on your specific location and weather conditions, you can plant grasses from mid-August to mid-October. Seed them during spring or fall to have green grass in winter. This grass type can be characterized by the following:
- They are a bunch of varieties.
- They can be ideally seeded during spring or fall.
- They can thrive in regions with below-freezing temperatures.
- The ideal temperature for them is 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- They go dormant during the summer months.
- They have longer and finer blades.
- They should be maintained, not only by single mowing but at a higher mowing level.
How to seed your existing or new lawn
Go for the Right Time
Wait for the right time of the year to seed your grasses. If you will be using warm-season grasses like centipede, zoysia, and Bermuda grass, the best time to plant would be the early summer. Get the soil moist first before planting to assure germination.
Cool-season grasses varieties like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrasses, on the other hand, should be seeded during spring or early fall. Do not seed them in the wintertime as they will not germinate in the cold or in the summer where they can encounter extreme heat.
Choose the Correct Seed Variety
Your location can determine the new grass type that you can plant on your new lawn. You also have to consider your lifestyle and budget to match the type of grass seed you want to plant.
Before you plant grass seed, determine the type of lawn that you want to have including its planting location and whether or not it can get full or partial sunlight. The foot and paw traffic (if you have pets) should also be taken into consideration so you can determine the type of grass seed that can withstand these. There are lawn care services available to help you in your quest for the best grass seed.
Test Your Soil
Knowing the type of soil you have can promote a healthy lawn. You can do a basic soil test on your own using a soil test kit. Neutral turf that has a 6.0 pH level is the ideal soil for growing grasses. It is acidic if they have a pH below 6.0 and contains too much alkaline if they are over 7.0pH.
For acidic soil, add ground limestone to balance it. For alkaline soil, adding sulfur, composted manure, or compost can help. Soil test results will help you determine your lawn turf type. This will guide you in knowing the nutrients it contains and amending your turf if needed. This can also help you alter your spreader settings for your grass seeds.
If you need assistance to test your soil, you can go to your local extension service. Your county’s cooperative extension service can have it analyzed. They can determine exactly what’s going on in your soil and can advise you on what to add to improve the quality of your turf. Following the preparations needed before planting and the maintenance after planting can ensure a greener and thriving grass for your lawn.
Prepare your Area for Planting Weed Seeds
When you have identified where to plant grass seed, the next step is to prepare the area. Remove any existing grass or dead grass using a sharp shovel. If you happen to have a large area, better rent a sod cutter to get the job done faster.
Inspect the area well, remove rocks and debris like wood or large roots, and fill in the low spots. Refill any holes with well-mixed rotten manure or compost and pat the area evenly with a rake. Use your spade and garden rake to scratch the turf up to six inches deep to remove old grass-roots and rocks.
Add the grass seed-soil on top of your existing turf. If you will not use the starter soil, add the starter fertilizer instead. A starter fertilizer can be applied using a spreader. Work with a tiller if soil compaction is present. This can be your goal by breaking the soil into pea or marble-sized particles. This breakdown will act as a mat to welcome the new grass seedlings for growth.
Lime can also be added to your soil if needed. There are pelletized and pulverized varieties available. Pulverized limes are fast-acting since they have a powdery texture easily absorbed by the soil. Meanwhile, pelletized limes can be spread easily. Make sure to use safety gear like eye protection, mask, and gloves before handling this product.
Even Out The Surface of your Area
A new lawn is better without peaks and valleys on it. Make sure to even it out by using a bow rake or a garden rake. Remove the rocks and debris you will come across while raking. Adding new topsoil may be a good idea to even out the area but they might contain weed seeds that can be tough to control later. You can use some other alternative like a supermarket purchased bag of lawn soil or lawn builder that can condition your lawn area and create an excellent seed growing environment.
Plant Grass Seed and Feed on the Same Day
Give your new grass seedling a good head start by preparing your soil with granular lawn food. This will serve as food that can feed your soil on the day you plant them. These are specially formulated for new grass allowing you to feed your lawn on the same day you seed it.
Be sure to buy the right product for this purpose as there are lawn feeds that are not meant to be applied during seeding time. You can also use additional products that can serve as a weed killer from overwhelming your new seeds. Weed killers can also help jumpstart the newly planted seeds to grow fast and thick.
Apply a thin layer of soil to the newly planted seeds to prevent them from drying out and washing away. You can layer them down ¼ of an inch of lawn soil level and drag the back of a rake over it.
Watering Your Lawn
The key to healthy grass growth on a newly seeded lawn is the consistent moisture on the top inch of the soil. Do not water deeply as this can make the area soggy. Mist the seeded area once a day, or more if it is really hot and dry.
Once the seeds start to sprout, aim to moisten up to 2 inches of the turf until the grass reaches a mowing height of 3 inches. Reduce the watering time to two times per week. Don’t forget to soak the area well from 6 to 8 inches per watering session. This is to encourage the grassroots to dig deep into the soil thus making them stable and healthy.
New Lawn Maintenance
Lawn grass can be cut and maintained when they reach the height of three inches. You only need to remove the top 1/3 length of the growing grass blades. To keep the new lawn nice and thick, adjust your lawnmower to a high setting. Do not cut too short as it can weaken the still growing grass and can invite weeds to sneak in.
Avoiding foot traffic to developing grasses to ensure their healthy growth. This will also allow the new grass to attain a foothold deep down in the ground. Help your grasses grow by following a regular fertilizer program that can maintain their thick and lush form resulting in you achieving a beautiful lawn.
Achieving a greener lawn can do more than simply beautify your surroundings. Grass can help in trapping carbon dioxide, clean the air, improve soil quality and reduce soil erosion created by stormwater. Unlike hard surfaces like concrete, wood, or asphalt, having grasses surround you can help in the reduction of noise pollution and reduce temperatures.
During your first growing season, you have to take it easy. Don’t hesitate to enjoy the sustainability that you now have in your entire area. Once you finished mowing your new lawn a couple of times, it is now ready to receive foot traffic. Enjoy reconnecting with nature!