Fall grass planting – part 2 of 2

Yesterday we reminded you that Fall is the best time to plant new grass. Contained within this post & the one from yesterday, we are providing you with a few simple suggestions to help you restore … or plant a new lawn.


Where do you begin if you plan on sowing the new lawn yourself?

Preparation is the key. I cannot stress how important it is to have a well though out plan. See steps 1 through three from yesterday’s post.

Now it’s time to get down and dirty. Please excuse the pun.

4. Spread your topsoil evenly across the areas you’re restoring. Whatever you do, don’t pack it down. Keep the soil fluffed up enough so that it doesn’t compress too tightly. After all, grass seeds will make much better soil contact in light, fluffy soil. Fill any sunken areas and remember, the more level the better. You’ll be glad I mentioned this now. I promise you’ll thank me later on when your mowing over those areas and your mowing is a smooth, pleasant ride.

5. When it comes to seeding a lawn, you have two options. Seed or hydro seeding. Today, I’ll address manual seeding. So … get out your broadcast spreader and fill it with seed. I suggest you over apply the seeds if your desire is to have a fuller, thicker lawn. Putting more seed down produces thicker, lusher grass and lessens the risk of bare spots. Spread a minimum of 10-15 pounds of seed per thousand square feet. I recommend you read your seed bag or consult with a professional. Most seed varieties have recommended doses. Also make sure to lay down half the seed in a cross-cross pattern … walking in one direction, the other half walking the opposite direction. This ensures even coverage. Do not put any soil over your grass seed. Buried seeds will not see the sun, thus, they will not germinate.

6. Don’t skip this step! Believe it or not, some people do skip feeding the seed with starter fertilizer. Spread your starter fertilizer over the top of the seed using your spreader. Starter fertilizer is the single most important step, next to using a quality soil and seed. Grass seed simply will not germinate to its potential without starter fertilizer, and you need it to germinate quickly … especially with winter on the way.

7. If you can rent a lawn roller, I highly recommend it. Since this is such an obscure tool that has limited use—it is cheaper to rent one for a day at most rental centers.

Once you fill a lawn roller with water they will become quite heavy. The rolling action over the seed compacts it flat—thus creating excellent seed to soil contact. Many DIYers often overlook this aspect of planting new lawn. Take it from me—it really helps germination.

8. Finally spread a fine layer of straw or hay over the entire area. Not all hay is created equally. DO NOT USE pasture hay, the kind that is used used to feed farm animals because it is full of seeds that could potentially take root in your lawn, making it less than ideal when seeding a lawn. Make sure you use salt marsh hay—it comes from a salty marsh, as its name suggests. It requires a salty environment for its seeds to sprout, so it serves well as a mulch for freshly planted grass seed on your yard. A  shallow layer of straw is all that you want to apply to help retain moisture for the soil and fresh seeds. One bale of straw covers approximately 2,000 square feet. Sprinkling it in a light layer allows it to decompose naturally so you won’t have to rake it up once the grass has sprouted. If you’re applying it to a sloped area, tack mesh or netting, such as the type used to keep birds off plants, into the ground over the area to help keep the straw in place, which in turn keeps the seeds intact.

9. Last and certainly not least: Water! water! water! Water enough so that you get soil penetration of 6-8 inches. Yes … water deep and water well. Notice I didn’t say “often?” Watering deeply will ensure that the new roots can establish themselves properly. Do not water too heavily with a jet spray or you’ll risk washing your seed away. Watering times? 5-9 a.m. in the morning is the best time to do so. If you want to know more about watering times for your lawn, give GreenWay Irrigation a call at 860.628.0028 to learn the “how’s” & “why’s.”

Next time, I’ll discuss the benefits of hydro seeding. I personally have had incredible results doing so. Happy turf planting!

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