LawnMasters Lawn and Landscape
New Lawn Establishment by Sod or Seed
Installing New Lawns
Sodding, Seeding, Sprigging, or Plugging
Before you start working the ground, there are a few things you need to determine.

  1. What kind of grass do you want ?
  2. Do you live in an area where that grass will grow?
  3. Do you have mostly shade, or sun?
  4. Is your existing grade smooth or really rough?
  5. Do you have the equipment to till, aerate, or to do the method of seeding
    you decide you want to do? Or can you rent it?

There are usually a few different grass varieties you can grow not matter where
you live. In our area of the transition zone, Paris, TN. we can grow Zoysia,
Bermuda, Fescue, and a marginal Ryegrass, Centipede and Bluegrass. But
these marginal grasses don't do really well and are not recommended for a mono
culture lawn, meaning one variety to cover all of the lawn. Just because you
want a
Bluegrass lawn, doesn't mean you can have a Bluegrass lawn. Remember,
growing conditions are different in Ohio than Tennessee. So first determine what
grass is going to be best for your lawn. If you can't figure it out, ask the County
Extension agent to give you some help, it's their job to help with these kinds of
things. After you have determined what kind of grass you can have you need to
know the right time of year to plant or sod it.  Cool season grasses, like Fescue,
Ryegrass, and Bluegrass are best seeded in Fall from Sep. 15 - Oct. 15, then
second best timing is Spring Mar. 15 - Apr. 15. If at all possible seed your Cool
Season grasses in the Fall that way you will have a good stand of grass in the
Spring and you can then put down pre-emergent chemicals to keep out the
Crabgrass and other weeds. If you seed in the Spring, then you
cannot put down
a pre-emergent crabgrass preventer without keeping your new grass seed from
germinating. The Crabgrass preventer is simply a chemical that keeps a seed
from germinating, it doesn't know the difference between a grass seed and a
crabgrass seed, so it keeps them all from coming up. So if you
have to seed in
the Spring you are going to be fighting the weeds and Crabgrass all year long.
Spring seeded lawns don't usually do as well through the first Summer as a lawn
seeded in the Fall. The root system doesn't get a chance to get growing deep, and
it will struggle in the hot Summer. Warm Season grasses, like Bermuda, Zoysia,
Bahia, Centepede,  St. Augustine, etc. are best seeded during the warm weather.
From May 1 - July 1, you can seed them after the July 1, but the sooner you get it
done in the season the faster the grass can get growing and develop a good root
system and start to cover up the soil.

If your lawn is mostly sun, you should lean towards a Warm season grass, it is all
shade or mostly shade your only choice is going to be a Cool season grass since
it will grow in the shade and the Warm season grasses will not. St. Augustine is
the most shade tolerant of the Warm season grasses, but we in the transition
zone cannot grow it. Your results may vary depending on exactly where you live
and the particular micro-climate of your lawn and neighborhood.  

Next are we talking about a new lawn on new construction, or an existing lawn. A
new lawn will need total grading to smooth, tilled up to break up the soil, work in
soil amendments if needed, etc. An existing lawn will only need aerating, slit
seeding or dethatching and seeding if you have an acceptable grade already. In
other words, can you mow it without busting a kidney? Is it full of pot holes and
ruts? If it is you should go ahead and work up the whole lawn and get the grade
nice and smooth so it will be easy to mow the lawn. There will never be a better
time to do it than now, so get it smooth.

Now do you have what it takes, equipment and strength/stamina to do the job?
Tilling up the lawn means you will need a tiller. Tractor mounted for a large lawn
or a walk behind for a small lawn. Large or small will have to be your call. I call a
small lawn anything that I would have trouble turning a tractor around in. It isn't to
efficient to use a large tractor in a tiny lawn, just use a walk behind tiller. For
aerating and overseeding you will need an aerator, walk behind self propelled
type, or a tow behind a lawn mower type. It doesn't matter which, they both work
well. The walk behind type will give you a serious work out, the tow behind is
obviously easier. That's your call again. Most rental shops will have anything you
need to reseed or seed / sod your lawn.

Now if you have determined which type of grass you are going to want, you have
determined how you need to go about seeding you can get the specifics of how to
do each type of seeding by clicking on the appropriate link below and it will take
you to another section that gives specific instructions on each type of seeding /
sodding or sprigging.
If You have decided that your lawn is in pretty good shape, you can mow it
without killing yourself, or damaging your mower, and the grass is fairly thick,
just needs thickening up, you may need to just aerate and over seed.

Go to this page for details on how to do it.
Aerating and Over Seeding
If you have a new construction and you need to totally grade out your lawn
and seed from scratch, go to this page for instructions on seeding a new
lawn with Fescue, Bermuda, Zoysia, Bluegrass, Ryegrass.
If you are going to Sod your new lawn or renovate your old lawn and re-sod
it refer to our Sodding page for instructions.
Sodding a Lawn
and Zoysia is to Sprig them or plug them. This only works on grass that
stolons or rhizomes which are the crawling stems of the grass plant that
makes the plant spread.  Most cool season grasses have tillers instead of
stolons and rhizomes. Bluegrass does have rhizomes though. Still it
needs to be seeded. Mostly we sprig Bermuda and Zoysia. The benefits of
sprigging are that it is much more economical. You can sprig large areas
for the cost of sodding very small areas.  The main con to it is that it will
take as much as a whole growing season for it to grow in.  Sodding gives
you instant grass
now. I guess if you are trying to make a decision on how
to establish your new lawn, one thing to think about is if you have the
patience and want to get out as inexpensively as possible, sprig it. If you
have the money and no patience, sod it. Sprigging is a lot like any other
form of establishment of grass in the preparation, it differs in that you put
sprigs in the ground instead of seed.

Go to this page for sprigging instructions.  
Sprigging a Lawn
Check out these Lawn and Landscape products to help you get your
gardening chores done.