Lawns & Lawn Care
|A lush, green lawn is a great start to
your own backyard haven, but getting it isn’t always as easy
as you may think. Much depends on your rainfall, heat index,
and soil. You will have to decide if you want to seed or sod
your lawn. Seed is less expensive, but if you want a lush
lawn, you will have to use a lot of seed. Sod is more
expensive, but the advantage is you have an instant lawn.
Before you begin, you might want to consider installing a
sprinkler system. Now is the time to do the installation, as
it will be costlier and a lot more work to do after the
grass is in.
Seeded Lawn Prep
If you decide to seed your lawn, first make sure it is free
of all, old loose roots and rocks. Most seeds require a
gravel base for drainage with black topsoil. You may want to
mix a little of the black dirt with the gravel to encourage
root growth. If these two layers do not get mixed, it may
actually prevent good root growth.
Prepare your lot by using a rake to level the soil, avoiding
high or low spots. The soil should be loose and slightly
damp when you seed it. Use a spreader to distribute the
seed. This will maintain an even appearance. Next, lightly
rake the seeds into the soil. Do not rake the seeds any
deeper than ¼ inch, or the seeds may not germinate.
Fertilize the lawn with a fertilizer of your choice, and
water it daily. If the weather is hot, you may want to water
lightly several times a day. The soil must be damp to
germinate the seeds. Your lawn should be green within 2
weeks. Continue to water as the grass grows, increasing the
quantity as it matures.
Do not mow your lawn for several weeks. Give the root system
time to take hold. The seedlings should be about 3 inches
high before you consider mowing. Keep your blade at a higher
level until the tender new seedlings have matured.
Sodded Lawn Prep
Prepare your seedbed as you would for seeding. Keep in mind
most sod is ½ to ¾” thick, and allow for the height of the
sod near sidewalks. Watch the weather for rain. Natural
rainfall is much better for your lawn than sprinkling, so if
you can time the installation of your sod for just before a
rain, it will soak the sod and make for better rooting.
When choosing your sod, make sure it is thick and lush, and
holds together when you pick it up. Have your sod delivered
for the day of installation. Do not allow it to stay rolled
up for more than a day or two.
Choose a long straight line, such as the edge of a building
or sidewalk to begin laying the sod. Stagger the sod so that
the seams from one row fall in the middle of the pieces of
the previous rows. Butt the rolls as closely together as you
can. You can just cut the sod with a sharp knife or razor to
fit the lie of your yard. Rent a sod roller to pack down the
sod within the topsoil.
Water the sod immediately. Continue to water the lawn daily,
for several weeks. Let the sod grow several weeks before
mowing. If you mow before the sod has taken root, it will
simply chop up the sod.
Fertilizing Your Lawn
Fertilizing your lawn will prevent weeds and make it lush
and green. However, if you live near a lake or stream, you
may want to consider a biodegradable fertilizer, or no
fertilizer at all to preserve the integrity of your water.
Fertilizers contain nitrogen, which helps improve the color
and density of the grass; phosphorous, which promotes root
growth; and potassium, which is good for plant health.
Early spring is a good time to fertilize your lawn. If you
are using granular fertilizer, use a spreader and time your
fertilization for just before a rain. A liquid fertilizer
can be dispensed with your garden hose and a special
Fall is another time to fertilize your lawn to help it
through the stress of winter, but if you are concerned about
ecology, you may want to skip this feeding.
Watering Your Lawn
The amount and duration your water your lawn depends on your
climate. If you live in a very hot area, you may have to
water your lawn daily. Generally, lawns need at least 1 to
2” of rainfall per week to keep them green. Do not wait for
your lawn to have dry patches before you water. When you see
the start of a dry patch on your lawn, it is a sign it is in
need of water. It is best to water your lawn in early
morning or late evening to avoid burning the grass. How much
you have to water will depend on rainfall and what type of
soil you have beneath your grass. Sandy soil will drain the
water much more quickly than black dirt or loam, which tends
to hold the water.
Home Tips &