Planting a New Lawn
When planting a new lawn, you want to get it done right the first time. Here we will outline everything you need to know so you can save yourself time, money, and potentially a few headaches.
Preparation is Key
Whether using sod, hydro-seeding or just planting the seed, the better you prepare the soil, the healthier and greener your lawn will look from the get-go. Planting a lawn around a new house typically requires adding some soil amendments to add nourishment back into the soil that was disturbed during construction. In many new neighborhood developments, the Developer excavates the top layers of quality topsoil to prepare the lot for a foundation and watershed. What you are left with is nutrient deprived, hard compact (terrible for growing grass) soil.
1st Rough Grade
The first thing you will want to do when planting a new lawn is called a rough grade. This involves moving soil around to have a slight slope away from the house, any sidewalk and driveway. Your soil should slope slightly towards the center of the lawn to prevent any excess water from running over the sidewalk and down a storm drain. The same is true for the side and backyards to prevent water from your yard from entering the neighbor’s property. Don’t be “that person”.
After the rough grade is done, rototill the soil as deep as possible. The deeper you loosen the soil, the deeper the roots of the new grass will grow. The deeper the water will penetrate, the less likely that heat will stress your lawn in the summer. After the deep rototilling, mark out your flower beds and any garden area you want. Install your sprinkler system. Mark all sprinkler heads to prevent damage during the rest of the new lawn process (trust us on this one).
Now you will want to add compost. The addition of organic content will give the new turf a nutrient packed boost and help your grass become the envy of the neighborhood. Use properly composted products at this stage. A cubic yard of compost will cover about 500 sq. ft. After spreading the compost rototill the area twice, going different directions each time. Now do the fine grading of the lot.
You Are Ready to Seed or Sod
You are now ready to plant the seed, lay sod or hydroseed. The cost of direct seeding a new lawn is about 1.5 cents a square foot. If you direct seed or hydroseed make sure that the varieties of grass like to grow in our soil.
Zamzows offers some great seed blends specifically formulated for many soil types.
Time to spread the grass seed. One pound of grass seed will typically cover about 200 sq. ft of ground. This is what is called the pure live seed rate. The pure live seed rate compensates for the germination rate, inert matter, and taking into account the seed and what the birds will eat. Using the pure live seed rate will give you a full thick lawn within the shortest time. Once the seed is spread on the ground, lightly rake the seed into the soil covering it about an inch. Be careful not to cover it too deep as it will not make it out of the soil before the grass seedling dies.
Time to Fertilize or Add Huma Green
Now it’s the time to use a fertilizer. This will promote root growth on the grass as it germinates. Zamzows Recharger is one of the best for this job. It is organic based and will not burn the young tender roots of the seedlings. Zamzows Huma Green will also help make for a great nutrient booster and water retainer to aid your young seed sprouts.
Watering a Newly Planted Lawn
Watering is now the most important part of planting a great new lawn. During the germination stage of your turf, you should be watering just enough to keep the top one inch of ground moist. The top of the soil should never get completely dry. However, water should not be standing on the soil for long periods of time either. This is where the addition of compost greatly increases your success in growing a new lawn. Once the seed has come up, keep the same watering until you have mowed the lawn for the first time.
After the third mowing, you should be watering your turf every other day for as long as it takes to get an inch of water on your grass. You can use this rate of watering your turf for as long as you want for a thick healthy lawn. After the fourth mowing, apply another bag of Zamzows Recharger to the lawn. This will green up the grass and help with the root growth. Eight weeks later apply Zamzows Lawn Food. This will boost the growth rate and add all the vital trace minerals your soil is lacking.
Those Darn Weeds
One bad thing about a newly planted lawn is the weeds that will grow with your turf. The seeds are there and we can’t prevent them from growing. You cannot treat for weeds until you have mowed the new turf four times. This rule is very important to prevent any damage that the lawn weed killer will do to young tender grass plants. You have been warned!
Ohh, One More Thing
A word of advice on the subject of mowing, keep your turf about 4 inches tall except for the first mowing in the spring and the last mowing in the fall. Four inches in height will provide living mulch, using less water, helping to prevent sunlight from germinating weed seeds. It will also promote massive root growth for a fuller, thicker lawn. Never use a riding lawn mower for the first two years. If you have an acre, that is a lot of grass to mow. A riding lawn mower will compact the soil causing water and growth issues. After the second year, your turf should have knitted sod heavy enough to support the riding lawn mower. Mow a different direction each time you mow your lawn.
If you plant too late in the fall, your new grass may not be mature enough to withstand the freezing weather.