Ahh…Springtime! The sun shining outside and the temperature increasing signifies the end of a long, cold winter. The chirping birds greet you as you open your front door and examine your finally-thawed lawn. Often times, people stare in horror at the patches of brown, dead grass that is covering their lawn. If these bare spots are not overseeded they will more than likely be overtaken by weeds or insects. Spring seeding often cures the Winter Time Blues.
Although the best time to seed a lawn is in the fall, it can be done in the Spring if done properly. It is important to have good seed to soil contact through good soil preparation. It is also important to control weeds in the lawn because spring germinating weeds will out-compete the desirable turf-grass. The downside to spring seeding is that you can’t put down a pre-emergent to hold back crabgrass. Below explains how to properly seed an existing lawn and how to seed a new lawn.
Overseeding an Existing Lawn
Problems to avoid when watering newly planted seed
Seeding a new lawn
Did you just build a new home and are in need of a nice, thick lawn or are you a current home owner that wants to rework and reseed your yard? Our team has been grading and seeding lawns for over 20 years and has the experience and expertise to meet all your needs. We will make sure that the yard has the proper slope for drainage and is smooth in every direction without any humps or dips. We first go through and do a rough grade to get the elevations and slope to the desired areas and then run over the area again in each direction with a finishing rake to ensure a perfectly graded yard. After everything is perfect we start seeding the lawn along with our excellent starter fertilizer to ensure all grass will come up thick and dark green and stand far above your neighbors. Kiefer Landscaping uses our own special fescue blend to help maintain the quality of lawns we install. After the seed and fertilizer is applied, we will than blow a nice layer of straw over the seeded area with one of our professional straw blowers. We have multiple sizes of straw blowers and are able to meet your needs no matter the size of the project.
This is the process of cutting seed into existing lawns without destroying or removing your existing lawn. The slit seeder utilizes closely spaced vertical cutting blades or discs to create a slit in the turf, which seeds are then placed. Along with helping your lawn grow thicker and healthier there are other advantages such as: seeds germinate faster, higher grass survival, even distribution of seed, fuller more lush lawn, and it cost much less than removing sod for new seeding. The best time to complete a Slit Seed job would be late August into early September
16 Tips to Seeding a New Lawn:
- Soil preparation is the number one factor in installing a new lawn. If your soil contains heavy clay or any loose gravel, your lawn will more than likely not grow thick and luscious.
- You will need four to six inches of quality topsoil to have a healthy lawn. This should include rich black topsoil, organic material and a small amount of sand. These help the grass seed germinate quickly and eliminate weeds in the future.
- Another option is to add starter fertilizer. This will help give your lawn the nutrients it needs along with the quality topsoil.
- Use a tiller to mix the fertilizer. and topsoil together. Also, break up any compacted areas. This will help prevent compaction in the future. Also, make sure all contaminated soil, weeds and old grass clippings are removed.
- To make sure you have soil, have the pH level tested. The ideal level is between 6.5 and 7. If the level is below 6 the soil to too acidic. A lime application can be made to help bring this to the neutral level. If the pH level is above 7 the soil is alkaline and a sulfur application needs to be made
- Begin raking the soil to level it out. Again, make sure no rocks, debris, weeds or grass is in the prepared soil. Now is the time to make sure your grading is the way you want it. Make sure the grade is gently sloping away from your home or any buildings. Do not be afraid to till, roll and rake the preparation area several times!
- The next step is choosing the correct seed blend for your area. A good mix for Central Illinois is a blend of Fescues. The best time to plant this variety is mid-August to late September.
- Now it is time to plant! Try to pick a day with zero wind because it is important to apply seed evenly. A new lawn will require a spreader. The bag that contains the seed should state the coverage needed for the best results. It is best to seed your lawn in sections. Using a spreader, sow half of the seed in each section one direction and then come back at right angles when you sow the last half of the seed. Any thinly seeded areas can be seeded by hand.
- A light application of fertilizer high in phosphorus will help with root growth.
- Apply a half-inch of quality topsoil over the seeded area. Or you can use a light weight rake to work the seed into the ground, no more than a quarter of an inch. It just needs to be deep enough to where the birds and wind will not take it out of the ground.
- A roller can be used to lightly pack the soil down.
- Next, water the seeded area. This will help the soil set and hold the seed, so the germination process can start. A fine spray is the best technique when watering. Water regularly for 10-14 days. Be sure to water first thing in the morning!! It is recommended to stay off the lawn as much as possible.
- After the seed has germinated you can gradually stop watering. Watering every other to every third day for a week or two, following germination is ideal. An established lawn should only need one inch of water per week for the rest of the growing season.
- When you mow for the first time, do not mow lower than three inches.
- A six-step fertilizer program is a great way to keep your lawn full of the nutrients it needs.
- If you did all the things listed above you should not have problems with weesd. Be sure to fertilizer, mow, water and aerate when needed!