When it comes to seeding a lawn, timing is essential. Seed your lawn too early, and multiple stress factors may doom it. But timing is not the only concern. The quality of the soil, pest and weed control, and other variables may make or break your attempt at new lawn growth.
If you have portions of your lawn that need to be replenished or if you are undertaking an entirely new lawn, it's important that you understand the way that timing and other considerations come into play before you plan to renovate or install your lawn. Fail to take these factors into account, and you may waste money and your valuable time.
Know When to Seed
From the middle of August through September is the absolute best time to seed a lawn. By that point in the summer the soil has become warm enough to encourage germination. But come September, the overall temperature begins to cool down, affording new growth a chance to thrive. New plants would struggle to make it through the worst of summer.
Professionals also choose this time because the period of months that follows, from roughly October through June, gives the new lawn a long stretch of time to mature before the harshest conditions become a concern. Seeding isn't done any earlier than mid-August because in spring, there is tremendous competition from weeds, which can rob a growing lawn of what it needs to survive. There is also a threat of disease. And, by the middle of June, a lawn must contend with high temperatures – something immature lawns can't handle well.
When it comes to seeding, time is either on your side, or your worst enemy. Taking advantage of the best time to seed your lawn will bring you a big step closer to success.
Know What Else is Involved
Since timing isn't the only thing that can stand between you and healthy new lawn growth, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with other seeding factors. Because sometimes these become quite technical, you may want to consult with a lawn professional. They will have all the necessary tools and knowledge to help plan and implement seeding the right way.
Some things a professional will take into consideration are:
Soil pH, determined with soil testing. Does the soil present a good environment for growth?
Soil depth. Is there enough to go around?
Weed competition. Will the new grass have a constant battle with weeds?
Compost and loam. How much is necessary?
Lawn treatments. Take the proper steps after seeding.
Pesky pests. Insect management after seeding.
Another element to lawn seeding success that a professional will know how to plan is the post-seeding care regimen. It's important that once a lawn is seeded, a timely lawn care program be followed to ensure good growth. You may not know the nuances of new lawn care without professional input – especially since the way you care for a new lawn changes with each stage of growth. A freshly seeded lawn must be watered differently from a mature lawn, for example.
Know Your Options
So you don't waste resources, it's a good idea to educate yourself about what your options are for seeding your lawn before you begin. For example, if you only have patches of lawn that need seeding, it doesn't make much sense to tear up the entire lawn and start from scratch. In such a situation lawn renovation would be the best course of action. By seeding only where necessary and treating other problems with the lawn as they arise, you'll save money. Resist the temptation to start from scratch whenever possible; you may find the results after you slave to regrow an entire lawn are nowhere near as nice as when the lawn was first grown.
But, what if you absolutely need to grow an entire lawn from scratch, either in a place where lawn never was before, or to replace a lawn too badly damaged to repair? Then you need to plan full-scale seeding. Of all methods, hydroseeding is most efficient. Seed is sprayed down with fertilizer already mixed in. Hydroseeding increases seed to soil contact for a high rate of germination. It's a modern, cost-effective solution. In the past, seeding a lawn involved spreading the seed, raking, spreading fertilizer, and rolling the whole area. It was labor-intensive, but thankfully with hydroseeding, labor is significantly reduced.
You may be thinking, “Why don't I skip the whole seeding process and get an 'instant' lawn with sod?” The answer is that sod is temperamental and requires ideal conditions to take. Unless you are sure you will always have a high rate of irrigation and plenty of sun, sod is not ideal. Areas in the shade will most likely die, and any sod that isn't properly watered won't stand a chance. Furthermore, sod is expensive and involves a great deal of labor to install. It's a big investment so if you're at all unsure whether or not you'll be able to provide the sod the right conditions permanently, it's probably not a good option for you.
Ultimately, seeding is a great way to grow a lawn from the ground up – no pun intended – to your specifications, meeting your space's needs. And if you seed with the aid of professionals, you will find that compared to other options it's cheaper and comes with a higher rate of long-term success.
Now that you know the various elements involved in seeding your lawn, consider calling a professional landscaping and lawn care company to help make sure your lawn not only survives, but thrives, and gives you many years of enjoyment and aesthetic appeal.