Advice on Sowing a New Lawn

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  #1  
Old 09-05-02, 07:28 AM
sgilmore
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Advice on Sowing a New Lawn

Hi,

I'm looking for some gardening advice since I have been in receipt of much conflicting advice. I'm planting a new lawn - its quite big, around 1/2 acre in size. I've already rotivated the ground and just last night I rolled it all with a garden roller (firm but not rock solid). I then planted the grass seed on top using a little planting device on wheels - approx 1.5 oz per sq meter.

I have since been told that I should actually lightly rake in the grass seed. Is this absolutely nessecary, or will I be okay with just rolling the soil and sowing the seeds? I want to get this right since its a one-off activity. Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 09-05-02, 07:45 AM
howiek's Avatar
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Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
Posts: 413
Hello sgilmore and Welcome to DoItYourself.com

It depends on what variety of grass you have planted. You don't say where you are writing from, but the metric units suggest Canada or the UK... (therefore you are probably using a cool season grass). Some actually need light to germinate, while most need a bit of cover - not so much for darkness, but so the seed has good contact with the soil and can be kept constantly moist until it germinates.

I would normally have scarified (lightly raked) the soil bed prior to seeding and after your levelling roll - was (is) the 'planting device' a broadcast spreader or did it put slits in the ground and deposit the seed into these slits before closing them back up?

If you simply broadcast the seed and it is sitting on the surface, you could lightly rake the surface to incorperate the seed, then lightly roll; or you could very lightly topdress with peatmoss or a fine soil mix to bearly cover the seed. (You might even be able to spread the soil/peat mix with the broadcast spreader if it adjusts to open wide enough to allow the soil thru to the impeller - if it is a fertilizer spreader type of rig and if the soil particles are fine and dry enough not to clog up in the hopper)

Sounds like you have good seed coverage, so you might even be able to dragmat the whole thing to get adequate contact with the soil - as long as you keep your tractor speed low and don't take the turns too sharply, you shouldn't displace too much seed and alter the coverage.

Key thing is to keep the seed moist (but not wet to the point of eroding the soil) until it germinates and establishes. After it has established, adjust your watering schedule to weekly or every ten days, but at least an inch of water when you do irrigate. This will encourage the turfgrass plants to grow a deep root system and help your lawn in drought and stress periods.

Good Luck

Howie
 
  #3  
Old 09-05-02, 07:55 AM
sgilmore
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Thanks for the advice Howie,

The seed I have sown is 'amenity' grass seed which I understand to have a Ryegrass mix to make it hard-waring and generally childproof.

The planting device did not scour the soil, so effectively the seed is sitting on top of the rolled surface and has not been covered to any extent. The weather may be working in my favour here in Ireland though on the basis that it was dry last night when I planted the lawn and has turned slightly damp today (but not windy) - so I'm hoping that the seed will have gelled to the soil (if that's the right word).

My problem is that the next time I can visit the lawn is Saturday (almost 4 days after sowing). If you think it necessary to rake the soil over the seed, would Saturday still be okay to complete this task?

Given the size of the garden it is not really feasible to cover the seed , even lightly, with additional peat.

Any further help would be appreciated.



Thanks
Shane
 
  #4  
Old 09-05-02, 08:09 AM
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Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
Posts: 413
Hello Shane

You must have been typing your response while I edited my original reply...

Ryegrasses here in Canada are about the easiest to sow and establish

Very little soil prep required and as long as the seed is kept moist and the soil temps maintain above 15C/60F, you'll have green featherlike blades showing up in five to eight days! These should develop into 1/8" wide dark green blades we are more familiar with as the plants mature. If you are returning to the site in a few days, it may have already started to sprout (as long as the moisture was right) - wouldn't be too concerned with raking it in...

If it were any other turfgrass, I'd be more concerned with the soil prep and pre-post seeding details, but Ryegrasses are pretty happy-go-lucky plants

Only other things with Perennial Ryegrass is that it is a clumping type of grass, so needs to be seeded heavily (which you have done) and it isn't reliably winter hardy when temps drop much below -5C/23F without a good snow or protecting mulch cover... (at least the varieties I'm familiar with here in Southern Ontario), but I'm sure the seed available on that side of the pond has been developed for and is hardy in the areas where it is being sold.

Good Luck and Keep us posted on your lawn's progress!

Howie
 
  #5  
Old 09-05-02, 08:40 AM
sgilmore
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Thanks very much for your advice Howie,

I now feel confident, given the variey of grass-seed in question, that everything should be okay. I'm not too concerned about the winter reliability since in Ireland here we couldn't even come close to the winter conditions you experience in Canada.

Anyway, thanks again for the useful info.

Best of luck,
Shane
 
  #6  
Old 09-06-02, 04:23 AM
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: United States
Posts: 2,535
next time - don't roll

Rolling a lawn is generally bad as it compresses the soil.

Better to have raked it level, then sown the seed. The loose soil would make better contact wit hthe seed. Any rain/watering would have put the seed into excellent contact with the soil.
 
  #7  
Old 09-26-02, 04:07 AM
sgilmore
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Thumbs up

To those people who took an interest in my post regarding the new lawn - especially Howie from Canada - I am delighted to report that my lawn has emerged and looks fantastic - it actually came up after about 10-12 days. There was quite a few docking leaves (that's what we call them in Ireland - broad-leaf weeds basically) so I decided to weed them out by hand since I was afraid to use any weed-killer on the new lawn in case it was not properly established. The grass is now in excess of one inch tall, although there are some patches where the crop is better than others - I assume I will simply re-sow these? Overall I am delighted though and would like to express my appreciation for the help received on this forum.



Once I have the lawn established - which I assume will require one further roll (and potentially a first cut) before the onset of winter - I will be seeking your advice on what plants/trees I should consider for the area which is quite extensive. At that stage I will post a seperate message to the forum.

Thanks again,
Shane
 
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