Answer: If seeding a new lawn, be sure the soil is pliable. Don?t seed over compacted soil, because the roots can?t penetrate.
Till the soil down a good 4 inches; then rake, roll and rake again lightly to loosen the top inch. Apply seed. If you are spreading topsoil, remember the roots still need to have a soil they can push through; a compacted surface covered with an inch or two of topsoil won?t do. Take your time and prepare the soil properly ? a lawn is a long-term investment.
As for seed, first evaluate your lawn for sun and shade, soil type, moisture content and how much maintenance you care to do, as each grass performs differently. Bluegrasses require sun, ample moisture, are disease resistant, fine textured, spread evenly for a smooth lawn and require a bit more maintenance than others. Fescues tolerate sun to shade, are drought tolerant, disease resistant, won?t fill in as smoothly as bluegrass but with a coarser leaf texture are a better choice for high-traffic areas and require less maintenance.
Both germinate in two to four weeks. Perennial ryegrass will germinate the quickest (usually within five to seven days) and has a clump-forming growth habit and is the easiest to maintain. Locally mixed seed does well to match area conditions.
Once spread, lightly rake the seed in. Apply a seed starting fertilizer; it has a higher phosphorus (root development) and potassium (disease resistance) content than does regular fertilizer, coupled with slow release nitrogen. To help keep the new seed moist, keep birds from dining and harsh rains or winds from carrying it away, cover with sphagnum peat. New lawns or large patches should be rolled after seeding, if possible, to ensure seed-soil contact; at least, the seed should be pressed in.
Keep the area moist and mow at least twice before dormancy; this will help to strengthen the plant before winter. Any seed that doesn?t germinate this fall should do so next spring.
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