Our next doable “ Do It Yourself " Lawn Care Procedure lawn care seeding is almost as simple as Watering your Lawn.
In lawn care seeding along with watering are two very environmentally friendly procedures that are very simple to do and are cost effective when the proper methods have been reviewed.
We've already gone over Lawn Care and When to Water an established lawn, so let’s talk about Seeding Your Lawn.
Why do we seed our lawns? Well there are few different reasons that come to mind.
There is seeding a new lawn from the beginning or patching bare spots in an existing lawn, and lastly over seeding an existing lawn to thicken it. (improving its' strength to resist drought, weeds and disease)
Where an area has been chosen for a new lawn, and prepared so there is nothing but levelled clean topsoil, (1” depth or greater is ideal) grass seed is then spread using a spreader (or by hand depending on the size of the area) which disperses the seed in an even manner over the topsoil.
If you are interested in information on how to choose a spreader please click here. After the seed has been spread you then lightly rake the topsoil to slightly bury the seed. (no more than ¼” is necessary) Following the raking you can either lightly roll the entire area with an empty hand roller to keep the mix from being moved by wind or you can cover the entire seeded area lightly with straw to protect the seed from direct sun and birds from eating the seed.
Then watering of the seed must be done. When watering grass seed the frequency and amount of water spread on the seed is the opposite of watering an already established lawn.
What do I mean by the opposite? With an established lawn we should water deeply for a longer period (a couple of hours) and only water once a week approximately.
Instead with lawn care seeding, watering should be only enough to keep the seed moist continually, (don’t drown it) which means often. (daily) This means frequent short watering, (maybe fifteen minutes to half an hour) until the seed germinates. (starts to grow)
Seed germination varies from seed type to type, some as short as a few days, some may take as long as three to four weeks.Continue to water until seed has become established.
Please take note when Lawn Care Seeding that there are many types of grass seed out there some grow better in full sun, full shade, others are more drought resilient, some even stand up better to heavy foot traffic such as sports fields. Grass seed types are also grown to thrive better in different climates.
You need to consider what the lawn will be used for and what type of climate that you are in (warm or cool season) when choosing a seed type. If you want to know more to find out if your lawn is warm season or cool season please click here .
When buying seed, there two ways of buying it, one as single species, the other as a combination of more than one species. (also known as a mixture) A single species has only one species of seed but it may have sub species included in it.
An example of this means all the seed in a package is bluegrass, but it maybe a combination of Victa Kentucky bluegrass and Abbey Kentucky bluegrass. While a mixture may have Kentucky Bluegrass, Creeping Red Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass.
The following are things to consider/look for when setting out to accomplish your lawn care seeding program whether you are seeding new lawn from the beginning, over seeding (seeding just to thicken up your existing lawn), or seeding bare patches.
First and foremost, Do not buy the cheapest seed that you can find! Instead buy a more expensive brand, why? With the cheap or bulk seed you are usually getting a lot dead weight in the package. (immature seeds and possibly weed seeds)
With a new lawn you don’t have to worry about matching the rest of the lawn you have a clean slate so to speak.
When Lawn Care Seeding Choose a high quality grass seed mixture that has no weed seeds and little dead weight as the germination rate of grass seed varies between less than a week to almost four weeks depending on conditions and seed type.
If you bought a single seed type that takes almost four weeks to germinate then you will most likely have any local weed growing before the seed has a chance to take hold.
By getting a quality mixture, you have a higher percentage of the early germinating seeds in the first week growing (compared to bargain mixture that will have more immature seeds, which means less grass growing) to give shelter to slower germinating seeds and grass growing on the lawn help in preventing the introduction of weeds.
Quality Lawn Care Seeding packages will have all the information on them that you need to make an informed decision on what type of seed to buy. The following are examples of information that should be on it:
Grass types included in the package- 40% Kentucky Bluegrass, 30% Creeping Red Fescue and 30% Perennial Ryegrass (40+30+30=100%)
Germination Rate- Kentucky Bluegrass 87%, Creeping Red Fescue 85% and Perennial Ryegrass 89% (means 87% of Kentucky Bluegrass seeds will germinate and you want the highest percentage possible with each seed type)
This germination % helps us in figuring out what actually may grow in good conditions. To do this take the germination % and multiply it by the % of that seed type included in the package and you will get the actual amount of seeds that will grow.
This is why it is so important to purchase the highest quality seed with the highest germination rate possible otherwise you will be wasting your money, time and water for very little in return.
You want it stated on the label that there are no weed or crop seeds present in the package (this is very important because as any non grass seed that takes hold as it will have an equal or greater chance of choking out your new seed before it has a chance of establishing itself as your lawn.
Weeds are much more fierce in their growth and will be harder to get rid of as you won’t be able to use any weed control until your new seed has had an opportunity to mature)
If you are patching bare spots or over seeding your lawn all the above information still applies, even if you already know that your lawn is a type takes awhile to germinate is not as important to buy a mixture.
You can buy a single species to patch your lawn, cover it straw to protect it from airborne weed seeds as you will have the rest of the existing lawn to protect the new seeds.
If over seeding is the case then you may wish to aerate your lawn before seeding to get maximum benefit. You still spread the seed evenly over your existing lawn usually in the spring. If you are interested in information on aeration please click here. Lastly How much Seed should you buy to do the job at hand? Of course it depends, you will need the entire square footage of the area to be seeded.
To do this use a measuring tape and measure the length of the new lawn and the width then multiply the length by the width to get your approximate square footage. You then will find on the package number of square feet the package will cover.
If you are seeding a new lawn buy twice the amount of seed for the square footage you need. Spread seed the first time as per your square footage.
Then a second time a few weeks after the seed has begun to grow. This will help to get your lawn to a thick lawn in the first year.
If seeding bare spots try your best to figure out the square footage you will need in the same way as seeding a new lawn. Always buy slightly more than you need so you can seed the area twice.
If Over Seeding is the job at hand then just buy an amount to cover the required square footage and seed only once.
In my experiences with buying grass seed I have found that buying premium grass seed from a local Farmers Co-op to be a very good source of locally grown seed that you know will grow in your area.
If you can’t find such a store close buy and you are at your local hardware store I've had great results with Scotts Premium Grass Seed. They offer a great variety of light conditions and insect/disease resistant seed products for all your lawn care seeding needs.
For more information on Scotts Premium Grass seed or any other Scotts Lawn Care Product please click here.
Lets get out there and make our lawns Healthy and Green!