A lawn is an area of soil-covered land planted with grasses or (rarely) other durable plants such as clover which are maintained at a short height with a lawn mower and used for aesthetic and recreational purposes. Adding some shape to your lawn or garden is a simple process that can make a big difference in the appearance of the groundcover.
A beautiful lawn doesn’t require a flood of chemicals. Careful watering, mowing, and fertilization can keep your lawn healthy, along with annual de-thatching and aerating. With the right approach, your lawn can be healthy enough to resist disease, weeds, and drought on its own. If you still encounter these problems, adjusting your soil or gardening habits can often bring about a recovery.
How to choose Lawn Seeds?
Choosing lawn seeds or Grass seeds seems a very tough process but it does not that hard as it seems as it only needs to learn how to choose the lawn seeds and then you will get used to it. Before spending any money on grass seed, test your soil. You can select the ideal grass seed and still grow a lackluster lawn if your soil pH is incorrect. Most turf grasses thrive in well-aerated soil with a slightly acidic pH (between 6 and 7.5). Obtain a soil test kit from your local extension office.
Growing a lawn from seed offers an affordable option, especially for smaller lawns. Success hinges on selecting the best grass seed for your situation. Turfgrass breeders make advances every year, so it’s worthwhile to do some research to discover available options. Local grass seed vendors typically carry tried-and-true seed types. You can find newer seed types at a nursery or landscaping business that specializes in lawn installation. Always buy top-quality seed. It’s worth the investment. Most home market grass seed options tend to lean toward bargain varieties because seed-shoppers generally don’t realize there’s a performance difference.
Buyers beware: as bargain varieties are often the poorest performers in university turf grass studies and are more prone to bugs, diseases, weather stresses and short life span. Discerning homeowners can buy many of the same superior varieties used by golf courses, public parks and athletic fields and reap the same advantages with some guidance. It’s important to view your lawn as a long-term investment when choosing the right seed, versus feeling you are getting a deal. Whether you’re filling in a spot on an existing lawn, or seeding a new lawn—it’s important to choose wisely. Many consumer grass seed options are simply described as Sun and Shade Mix, Fast Grow Mix, Dense Shade Mix, or High-Traffic Mix. There are even those that highlight a specific blend for a State or region such as Northern or Southern.
The challenge is figuring out how these grass seed product names, translate to a grass type that will grow well in your region. The first step in zeroing in on the best grass type depends on your climate. Lawn grasses come in two main categories: Warm-season grasses are ones that perform best in long, hot summers with mild winters (i.e. the South, Southwest and lower West Coast), while cool-season grasses are ones that perform best in more moderate summers and colder winters (i.e. the North, Midwest and most of the Mid-Atlantic). Some grasses in either camp will grow in the transition zone between North and South. It’s important to double-check the seed label detail on the packages that identify the grass type or types—as many bags come in mixed of more than one species. Here are the positives for four most common types of cool-season grasses:
Fine fescue: Has good shade tolerance; attractive fine texture; low fertilizer needs; good drought tolerance.
Kentucky bluegrass: Has good dark-green color and attractive fine texture; quick to fill in and recover from injury; very good cold tolerance; good tolerance to foot traffic.
Perennial ryegrass : Is very quick to germinate; tolerant of foot traffic; has a glossy sheen and attractive fine texture.
Tall fescue: Has excellent tolerance to foot traffic; tolerates some shade; good drought tolerance in cool climates; tolerates high heat better than other cool-season grasses, making it useful in transition zones and even warm-season areas.
How to plant the lawn?
In order to enjoy successful lawn establishment and a yard full of lush, inviting green grass, follow these steps:
1. Pick which grass is best for your climate.
Depending on where you live you will have better luck with some grass varieties than others. Grasses fall into two basic categories: warm-season and cool-season. Warm-season grasses will be able to survive a brutal summer and tend to do well in the southern states. Choose from varieties such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Kikuyu. Cool-season grasses handle cold much better than warm-season grasses. They can tolerate freezing temperatures and some drought. Don’t expect them to survive the heat or go longer than 4 weeks without water. Kentucky bluegrass is a popular cool-season grass.
2. Know when to start.
If you choose a warm-season grass, plant in late-spring. If you choose a cold-season grass, plant in late summer or early fall. If you’re going with sod, the time of year doesn’t matter as much, though summer may still be too hot.
3. Test your soil.
Before you get started planting grass, you’ll need to make sure your soil is in good condition. It’s a good idea to test your soil. Soil testing will give you an idea of how much fertilizer to use, and what kind.
It is difficult to amend soil in an established lawn.
If you need to add fertilizer work it into the first 4-6 inches.
4. Prepare your soil.
This is a critical step. Soil preparation is the most important part of healthy lawn growth. Your goal is a soil that is loose, rich in organic matter, and able to hold moisture while draining well. Clear the area of all weeds, rocks, and roots. Using a shovel dig up any large objects in the area where you’ll be planting grass. Make sure you get rid of all weed roots. You may have to use a chemical weed killer to get rid of weeds completely. If you must use chemicals, refer to the manufacturer for instructions on how much to use. Till your soil either by hand or using a rototiller depending on the size of the area. This is the perfect opportunity to mix any compost or other amendments to your soil. Add gypsum to your soil to improve drainage.
5. Level out the area.
Now that you’ve cleared and tilled the area, it is ready for leveling. Use a garden rake and smooth out the entire area. Fill in any low spots and break up any remaining clumps. While leveling the area it is a good idea to apply a “grade,” or slope, away from the house foundation. Applying a grade will help you avoid any water runoff problems in the future.
6. Spread your seeds.
Set your seed spreader to the recommended rate and fill it with half of your seeds. To ensure the best coverage, make the first pass in one direction over the entire lawn. Then, fill the spreader up with the remaining seed and cross over the initial direction. Think of making a crisscross pattern over the area. You may choose to cover the entire area again with an empty spreader to ensure good seed to soil contact.
7. Top-dress your soil
Once you’ve seeded the entire area, add some peat moss to your soil to set the seeds and help them hold moisture. Using a cage roller, apply a thin layer of peat moss to your seeds. This layer of mulch will help keep your seeds moist during germination. It may also protect them from birds and limit their movement in the event of heavy rain.
8. Water your seeds.
Perhaps the best way to water is with an oscillating sprinkler. If you have access to multiple sprinklers set them up in various parts of your yard to wet the entire area.
For best results, water your seeds 2-3 times a day for about 5-10 minutes for the first 8-10 days. During this period it is critical that your seeds stay moist. You don’t want to over water the seeds, but you do want to encourage germination. Water in the morning to decrease the chances of evaporation.
Don’t use a strong spray when watering a newly seeded lawn. You run the risk of drowning your seeds or washing them away.
When watering your lawn, be aware of any potential rainfall in your area. Take the amount of rain into consideration when watering and aim for about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water a week.
If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall, you could lose some seed. However, the rain must be heavy enough to move the soil before it can move the seed.
8. Mow your new lawn.
When the grass reaches about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) it’s time to mow. Make sure the soil is dry when you mow; if it’s wet you could pull the grass out of the ground.
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