- Tim Kraemer
Tips for Seeding a New Lawn
Starting a new lawn by yourself can be successful with some preparation and patience.
If you’ve heard a lot of advice about starting your new lawn you might have heard things like ‘you should hire a professional’ or you should just ‘start with sod.’ But when it comes down to cost you can save a lot of money if you seed your new lawn on your own. This process can be successful too! It will just take some preparation and patience to get your lawn growing. Read on for tips for seeding a new lawn!
Tip #1: Know Your Soil
It is important to know what type of soil you are working with. Clay, sand and silt can all be found in Wisconsin. Knowing the type of soil will help you decide what type of grass to plant. If you want even better results in growing, you can test your soil to check pH levels. Most grass types like a pH between 6.0 to 7.0. A soil that is too acidic or too alkaline can be adjusted using limestone or sulfur (we recommend following the product instructions).
Tip #2: Choose Your Grass Seed
Things to consider when choosing the type of grass you plant include your budget, lifestyle and location. Does your yard get partial sun or full sun? Will there be a lot of foot traffic or use by pets? Cool season grasses do best in the extreme temperature fluctuations we see in Wisconsin. Some examples of cool season grasses are Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. We recommend using the internet to learn more about cool season grasses and which type would be best for your yard.
Tip #3: Choose Your Planting Time
The time of year you plant seed will make a difference in your results. Cool weather grasses do best when planted in spring or early fall. If planted in the summer, there is a chance the seeds will not establish if there is extreme heat.
Tip #4: Prepare Your Soil
To prepare for seeding, make sure you remove any existing grass. Also, remove large rocks and debris. Break up the soil using a shovel or tiller to get the dirt to marble or pea-sized particles. Rake out the surface to fill in low spots and break down high spots. You’ll want the surface as even as possible so when the grass grows you have a nice level yard.
Tip #5: Seed
Once your soil is prepared, it is time to spread your seed. We recommend starting around the perimeter of your yard and then filling in the rest of the lawn. Much like a lawn mowing pattern, seed your lawn with slightly overlapping passes.
Tip #6: Cover Your Seeds
Once the seeds are down, cover them with a thin layer of soil to help keep the seed from drying out or washing away. You can do this by gently dragging the back of a rake over the seeded area. It is important to avoid foot traffic on the lawn while it is growing.
Tip #7: Keep Watering
The key to growing seedlings is to keep the top inch of soil consistently moist but not soggy. Misting the area daily is vital. Once you start to get growth, you’ll want to keep the top 2 inches of soil moist. Finally, when the grass reaches around 3 inches and is ready to mow, you can reduce watering to twice a week aiming to soak about 6-8 inches deep with each watering.
Tip #8: Lawn Maintenance
In about 6-8 weeks, once your new grass has reached at least 3 inches, it is ready for the first mow. You should aim to remove only the top 1/3 of the grass with mowing. This will allow the grass to stay thick and cut down on weed growth. Here is when you should start a routine watering, fertilizing and mowing schedule to keep your new lawn thick and lush.
With some preparation and patience you can seed and growth a nice new lawn!