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New Lawns

Establishing a new lawn is a simple task. Establishing a lush, healthy lawn, largely free of weeds and submerged rocks, is a sizable endeavor. The result is well worth the effort. The effort is not one of complexity. It's is a function of time and effort. The end result is a lawn that looks like a million bucks, and is easier to maintain. Remember, it is easy to keep a good lawn in shape, than it is to put a poor lawn back in shape.

Here is what you need to create that great lawn:


Soil Preparation

Creating a great lawn begins with a soil test. Your local County Extension Service (CES) can do this test for you for a small fee. Find your local CES now.

While awaiting the results of your soil test, prepare your soil by raking and leveling it. You should grade it away from your house, shed, and other objects. During raking and leveling, be diligent in removing stones, rocks, and other objects. Look for, and remove rocks and debris below the surface, ideally to a depth of six inches. This is a "pay me now or pay me later" chore. Grass roots will not be able to grow and nourish the grass, if a rock is just below the surface.

Upon receiving the results of your soil test, follow the recommendations from the test. If your soil's pH is acidic, the pH needs to be raised. Add powdered or pelletized limestone, commonly called lime. If the test shows you soil to be to high pH (Alkaline), it needs to be lowered. Apply powdered sulphur.

Spread fertilizer in the area to be seeded. Look for a fertilizer that is high in Nitrogen, to fuel new seedling growth. Lawn and garden stores carry blends specific for new lawns.


Grass Seed Selection and Application

Selecting the right grass seed is important. Different types of seed are suited for sun, shade or heavy use areas. There are also different types of seed for hot versus cool climates.  Selecting the Right Seeds.

For most uses, we recommend a blend of seeds. This helps to overcome the effect of changing weather, type of use, and guards somewhat against disease.

Read the directions on the seed package and your spreader. We recommend you cut the application rate in half and go across your lawn twice, once north-south and then east-west. This criss-cross pattern helps to assure a more consistent application rate, and that you did not miss an area.

Some people will provide a light layer of straw over the lawn. This helps keep the seed moist and the hot sun off the seed, encouraging germination. Straw is most frequently used in warmer weather. If you use it, remember, you will have to rake it up.

Seeding new lawns in the spring or fall is preferred. But you can seed your lawn in the summer if you have the time to give it frequent watering. The trick is to keep the seed moist, not wet.

After the lawn has come in, reseed bare and sparse sections. The grass will quickly spread and thicken to fill thin areas of the new lawn. Overseeding sparse areas will help to fill in those areas quicker.

Wherever you see a bare spot, dig down and see if a rock is there. If so, remove it, and refill the hole. Then, reseed the spot.

Keep off the lawn as it begins to germinate and grow. That goes for the kids, the pets, and you.


Water

Grass seed needs to be kept moist to germinate. Sitting on or near the surface of the soil, it can dry out quickly. There is no need to water deeply. But you do need to water frequently, once or twice a day in dry weather.

After the seed sprouts, it's roots will be shallow at first, but grow deeper with time. Water a little deeper, but less often as the lawn grows. More on Water


The First Mowing

The first mowing is a real, indescribable joy. Later mowings will not result in that same feeling of elation, so enjoy the feeling while it lasts. More on Mowing


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