The Q&A Archives: New Lawn

Question: I recently tilled my back yard, now I don't know where to go from here. Do I need to rake or plant my seeds, and which seeds are best?

Answer: The keys to starting a new lawn are: soil preparation, grass variety, and early care. First, the soil: you want to provide a rich, weed-free environment for your new lawn. Grass is one of the few plants that can withstand repeated mowing, so most broadleaf weeds will die off (dandelions being an exception!). If you are looking for a smooth lawn, you may need to till up the area, grade it, rake it, and plant seed. Or you can bring in topsoil, rake it out to a smooth surface, and plant. Choose a grass seed appropriate for your use: for your situation a commercial grass mix would probably be best. Your local garden center should carry a selection. Once you spread the seed, you need to lightly rake it in, or use a lawn roller. This is to ensure that the seed is in close contact with the soil, so it can germinate. You may want to spread some hay lightly over the surface, to minimize erosion and keep the birds from eating all your seed. Finally, keep the new lawn well watered, and try not to walk on it until it is well-established.

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