Seeding a Lawn Seeding a Lawn
Opting to seed instead of installing sod means both less expense and greater plant selection. However, beginning a lawn from seed is very labor intensive and fraught with maintenance considerations not necessarily applicable to sod lawns. The following article is filled with tips for starting a lawn from seed.
While both methods of lawn installation have their fair share of work and typical problems, beginning a lawn from seed relies greatly on the gardener's care and willingness to foster growth. Before laying seed, be sure to remove any old grass or plant growth. Aim to remove approximately 30 centimeters, or 1 foot, of old sod with a spade. This can be a difficult task for large landscapes. Hiring a landscaper to deal with the removal may not be cost-effective, but it is a great time-saving and luxury as such professionals come with the necessary equipment for quick work.
You will also need to decide on what seeds to purchase. Traditional lawns or plots of mixed grasses may be used. Also, there is a wide array of alternative groundcovers and ornamental grasses that may be installed as well with great success. Take your climate into consideration as well as your soil type when making a choice.
Also, while all seed takes a level of maintenance, decide how much time you propose to give your landscape once the seed is well on its way. For instance, there are several groundcovers that require little or no mowing. If you have a busy schedule, this might be a great alternative to more time-consuming traditional lawns.
After you've managed these two considerations, add a healthy layer of organic matter to your topsoil. If you choose not to add topsoil, you should add at least a one-inch-thick layer of compost, peat moss, and manure to the ground. The soil must be loosened so that the young roots can spread as well as encourage moisture-retention. Compost will also delight a population of earthworms necessary for the growth of your young lawn.
Soil that has inadequate draining properties requires the introduction of some sand to the mix before the seeds are planted. This enables rain to better sink into the soil and will ultimately help your grass to grow. Depending on your soil's pH level, you may also need to spread some lime. Ideally, most lawns will thrive when the pH level is around 7.
At this point, you should begin to till the lawn and get rid of old root clumps you find. This is also the point where fertilizer may be added. If you choose a chemical package, follow the instructions outlined on the manufacturer's label. Once tilling is complete, you may begin to seed according to the package recommendations. Seed by hand as well as with a fertilizer spreader according to your choice. It is also necessary to rake the seed into the soil and also to add a layer of straw (or hay) to prevent soil erosion. The difficulty that hay and straw pose to a lawn is their potential to add weeds to the mix, but a vigilant gardener will need to get rid of them quickly to prevent them from spreading.
Finally, once the seed has set, gardeners should be prepared to do plenty of watering - especially during dry spells. Grass dries out fast without adequate moisture and young plants are most vulnerable to pests at this stage. For best results, water in the evening. Be sure to keep people, pets or other weight off your new lawn until it becomes established. Posting signs may be helpful for protecting your young lawn.