Sep 112012

Time to plant a new lawn or overseed? Here’s the basics.

The soil.

It’s important to have several inches of good, loose soil for your grass seed to grow in. The healthiest lawns are the ones that have a deep root system. If your soil is packed down and as hard as concrete, you will be disappointed in your new grass growth.

The seed.

Sow the seed at the rate recommended for the seed type you have chosen. It is best to use a spreader, making at least two passes in different directions. Rake the soil lightly over the seed, covering it about 1/8″ to 1/4″ inches deep. If you can’t see any seed at all, you’ve probably covered it a bit too deeply.

The cover.

You need to cover your seed. You can use our topsoil, peat moss or straw. There are pros and cons to each medium and sometimes is just boils down to personal preference. I am personally in the camp of using peat moss or our Premium Topsoil. Peat moss covers nicely, hold moisture incredibly well, doesn’t leave you with anything to rake up and looks all neat and smooth. Others are ardent fans of straw. Applied properly (not too thick!), it provides great moisture retention and protection from birds and offers more water diversion during torrential downpours. One of the things I do like about straw is that nothing says to the neighbors, ‘don’t worry, I’m aware my lawn looks awful and I’m working on it’ better than a fresh carpet of straw. (It also screams, ‘hey…don’t walk on me! Baby grass incubating here!’)

Tamp it down. LIGHTLY. You can use a small tamper… again LIGHTLY, an empty water-roller or the flat side of a landscape rake. You want to help settle everything down, not squish it. Lightly tamp.

The water.

An important note on seeding a lawn: you must keep the soil moist. That means frequent, light watering. You should water properly twice a day, every day. Do not let your lawn puddle during watering. If you start having puddles, you’re watering for too long.

The grass.

Mow your baby grass for the first time when it reaches 3 inches high. Just take a little off the top (mow to a height of 2 inches). An additional application of starter fertilizer about a month after seeding helps your new grass to better establish itself. Water immediately after application. Stay away from weed control fertilizers until your lawn has been mowed at least 3 times.

Read: Four things the experts know about fall lawns

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