This is the place for Lawn Care Information. Most everything you need to know you will find here on establishing and maintaining a beautiful lawn. Click on the Lawn Care links at your left to take you through the lawn care procedures.
Some lawns are started from scratch, like a new home just completed with no lawn at all. Some are existing lawns that are in need of renovation. Some people have nice lawns right now but just want to keep it that way. Regardless of where you are follow these steps and get the lawn you want.
Depending on the situation you are in your method of seeding will change. For new lawns with no grass just a lot of dirt or mud, the grade work must be done first. This is done by the contractor or by you if you are good with a tractor and box blade or a tiller and rake. Once the grading is complete and you are happy with the surface as far as smoothness, no holes or low spots, drainage taken care of, etc. then you are ready for the seeding process. The soil must be worked up to fluff it back up to make a good seed bed. Good seed to soil contact is important for good germination. After the soil is prepared you will apply the seed with a spreader, rotary type is best, apply half of the required seed in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction, this gives good coverage of the seed and uniform germination over the lawn. The required amount of seed will be determined by the type of grass you are planting, warm season or cool season grasses. Warm season grasses are planted about 30 days before the temperature turns warm in your area. April through May in the Southeast. Cool season grasses are planted in Fall (Best) or Spring 30 days before the optimum growing conditions exist. September or March in the Southeast. Warm Season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia are to be planted after the temperatures reach optimum growing condition for Warm Season Grass. This is when it is 80 to 90 degrees. Warm Season grasses are very small seed, only 2-3# per thousand square feet are needed. Cool Season grass seeds are larger and require more pounds per K. 7-8# per thousand square feet are needed for good coverage and thick grass.
Seed can be used in several machines that will power seed the lawn. One machine has several terms, "power seeder", "no till drill seeder" are the most common.This machine has a hopper you pour the selected seed into, the machine will cut grooves in the lawn and drop seed into them in one pass. They do a very good job on lawns that are fairly level. If the lawn has pot holes and roots everywhere the cutters won't make contact with the ground leaving spots not seeded. These machines can be rented for anywhere from $50.00 to $125.00 per day depending on your area, the type of machine and how long you need it for. Another way of seeding is to Hydroseed. This is usually a process hired out since it requires special equipment not usually rented. Hydroseeding is a method used to renovate lawns or establish from scratch. On a lawn that needs thickened up, the mixture of Seed, Fertilizer, and a mulch material made from recycled wood or paper products is sprayed on the lawn. The mixture is dyed blue or green to help the operator see where he has sprayed it, this will turn white in a few days. The benefits of Hydroseeding are quicker germination and usually thicker germination since the seed is soaking in water as it's being done. It is one of the more expensive forms of seeding. A less expensive way to renovate a lawn is to use a Dethatcher followed by broadcasting seed. The Dethatcher will remove thatch and other material from the surface of the lawn while scratching the surface up enough to provide good seed to soil contact that is essential in germination. One of the drawbacks is that the machine will sometimes bring so much material up that you have to rake it up and haul it away, it can be allot depending on your lawn.
Sodding is the quickest way to instant grass. We sod mostly on new constructions but quite a bit on renovated landscapes. There is nothing quite like having dirt one day and lush green grass the next. Of course it is 3 to 4 times as expensive as seeding depending on the contractor's prices in your area. Proper preparation of the lawn is important again to get the sod started off right, fertilizing before or after the sod is laid is needed as well as proper watering after the sod is down. Sod is usually laid in checker board style so you don't have a long row of seams lining up. If this happens you have the possibility of erosion developing in the seams. Another procedure not always done, but sometimes helpful is to roll the sod with a heavy roller after it is laid. This will mash out some of the uneven spots and give better contact with the soil. If you do a careful job of laying you won't have the problems that some have after the sod is laid, and you shouldn't have to roll it. A new form of sod has been popular lately. Big Roll sod, these are rolls up to 42" wide and 120 feet long. It takes a tractor or forklift to install these. Mostly commercial installers will use these large rolls. Our company uses 95% large roll sod now. What used to take 4 men all day to do with small squares of sod on pallets can now be done in 3 hours or less by 3 people. Also there are less seams to worry with and it grows in quicker. Whatever method you use, you will love a newly sodded lawn. Instant Grass !!
Sprigging is done by either a machine that cuts grooves into the soil then mashes sprigs of grass into them, or you can till up the ground and spread sprigs across the surface followed by rolling to mash the sprigs into the soil. Most home owners will have to till up the ground and spread the sprigs since the equipment isn't usually rented. Only warm season grasses can be sprigged. Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede, Bahiagrass. These grasses have stolons, rhizomes or both. These pieces of live grass plants will take off growing after being transplanted or sprigged. Since cool season grasses like Fescue and Ryegrass don't have these rhizomes or stolons they are not candidates for this method. I like sprigging Bermuda and Zoysia since you can get a sod quality lawn for a quarter of the cost if you have the patience to let the grass grow in. If you get the job done early in the year, first of May, Bermuda will grow in by the end of the season if you properly maintain it during this time.
To Sprig a lawn with Bermuda or Zoysia, Till up the lawn, level it, apply starter fertilizer just like when you would be starting seed, at the same rate. Go get your sprigs from a local sod farm and spread them over the lawn by whatever method you have. You can use a pitch fork from the back of a pickup, or dump the sprigs in the drive and use a front end loader if you have one to shake the sprigs over the lawn. After spreading them, take a roller and roll the lawn pressing the sprigs into the loose soil. At this point make you are done and ready to start watering. The sprigs will dry out and look like dead, dry straw for a couple of weeks. Don't get alarmed! Just keep watering to keep the soil wet and the sprigs will start to show signs of life. They start slowly but take off growing quickly in a couple weeks. Keep the water coming.