Seeding a new lawn, lawnmasters lawn and landscape
Seeding a New Lawn
Seeding A New Lawn- Can take on a variety of grass types,
different methods of seeding and different levels of difficulty. For
this discussion we are assuming a new construction or a lawn
that is being totally renovated, completely tilled up and
re-graded.  For this type of job you will need a tractor with tiller or
skid steer with a rock rake or for very small lawns you can use a
walk behind tiller.  What ever the piece of equipment, the end
objective is the same. We want a smooth, well tilled lawn with
powdery soil 3" deep or so. You can do this with the walk behind
tiller but it is a lot of work, so be prepared.

I like to spray all of the existing vegetation with round up to kill it
first. This gets it out of the way and lets the tiller cut the soil up
quicker and smoother.  Follow label directions and spray the lawn
with Round Up, or any Generic version of glyphosphate, and kill
off all the existing grass and weeds. Let that set for about a week
until it dies off. Then take your mower and set the deck very low
to scalp off all of the dead vegetation. This will mulch it up and
get it out of the way and actually add to the organic material in
the soil when you till up the lawn.  Watering the lawn the night
before you till will knock down the dust and helps the tiller work
easier if it has been hot and dry like it was here during the
summer of 07. In our area, West Tennessee, we hit a 120 year
record for heat and drought, so the ground was very hard and
dry starting in Sep. when seeding time came around. If you can't
water the night before, you can put a water sprinkler out in a
section of the lawn where you are working and wet the lawn down
while you are tilling up an area. It helps keep the dust down so
you can at least breath and helps the machine work.  How ever
you go about it, just get the lawn tilled up and loose. If you are
using a tractor, after tilling I take a harrow, a drag, piece of fence
or anything to drag over the soil to smooth it out. You will have to
use a rake in some spots to level it out, around the house and in
tight spots. Once you are happy with the levelness of the lawn, or
the grade, you will be ready for seed and fertilizer. I will assume
you have already decided what type of grass you need for the
conditions in your lawn, be it all sun, all shade, part both, etc.
After you have the lawn level spread your seed at the
recommended rates. Those will be in the neighborhood of:

Fescue 7-10# seed per thousand sq. ft.
Rye, Perennial 6-8# per thousand sq. ft.
Bermuda 2# per thousand sq. ft.

Other seeded grass varieties are available depending on where
you live. I can't tell you what the rates are for every section of the
US, these are for the transition zone. After seeding fertilize with a
starter fertilizer, as discussed in the
Lawn Establishment Page    
Now is a good time to apply lime to sweeten the soil or bring the ph
up. Most soils in our area are heavy in clay and tend to be very acidic
and need lime. To be  certain you can have a soil test done, however
most soils will need lime and usually don't get enough.  After lime is
applied, you need to straw the lawn. We use about 80 bales per acre
for strawing. You want to cover the soil so you can still see dirt, but no
big bare spots with no straw. The straw is going to do two things, the
most important is to conserve moisture so the soil doesn't dry out too
fast not letting the grass seed germinate. The second is to help hold
the soil in place when it rains heavily. Just having straw down won't
keep the soil from washing away in a downpour, but it will help.

After the straw is down you will need to water, start watering just as
soon as you can, the grass seed cannot germinate without water, soil
to seed contact and the right temps. You need to water to the point of
soaking the ground good and puddles start to form. After the first
watering, water every few days to keep the ground moist, not soaking
just moist. Keep this up until you have a solid green haze across the
lawn, should take about 2 weeks. Then you can back off on the
watering for a couple days and mow the grass. Cut it high the first
time 3" or so, with a sharp blade. Be careful on the turns so to not
tear out grass and soil around trees and obstacles.  Keep watering
until the grass is tall enough that it covers up the straw. And by the
way, the straw stays in place, don't rake it up, it will rot away and add
to the organic content of the lawn.  After the lawn gets tall enough
that you have mowed it a couple times it should be getting a good
enough root system that you can back off on the watering. Just use
common sense and water if the grass starts to look dried out, it will
have a different look and the foot prints in the grass will not "spring
back" after you walk across the lawn.
In about a month the grass will start to turn yellow. This is from the
grass using up the nutrients in the fertilizer you put down when  you
seeded. Use a 15-15-15 at the rate of 6# per thousand sq. ft. This will
be enough nutrients to get the lawn through winter, or if seeded in
Spring, get it up to summer. You can refer to our page on lawn care
tips, for more details on fertilizing.

You can follow these instructions and seed most any lawn, if you have
any questions you can email us, we will be glad to answer them for
Questions? Email us
LawnMasters Lawn and Landscape
124 Whitlock Rd.
Paris, Puryear, TN.
731.642.2876         888.664.LAWN
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