The Q&A Archives: When do I seed for grass and what do I need?

Question: I live in Leawood, Kansas and I'm a first time homeowner.

I have dirt patches on my front and back yard. Some have a big rock underneath.

When should I

Answer: Your turf will need at least 4 inches of soil in order to root well. You can either remove the large rocks or you can add enough topsoil for the turf to root well. You have your choice as to what grass types to plant. You can sow seeds this fall (September or October). Here are descriptions of turfgrasses recommended for Kansas:

Tall fescue - Turf Type - Due to its heat and drought tolerance, it is a good general purpose turfgrass for Kansas. Tall fescue is a tall-growing, coarse- to medium-textured, bunch-type turfgrass that can be established by seed or sod. Tall fescue resists heavy wear and high temperatures. When adequately irrigated, it can be grown successfully in all parts of Kansas.

Kentucky bluegrass - The use of Kentucky bluegrass should be limited to the cooler parts of Kansas. Unlike perennial ryegrass, which is a bunch type turfgrass, Kentucky bluegrass spreads by rhizomes and withstands moderate traffic. Because of the rhizomes, Kentucky bluegrass recuperates well from wear injury. On athletic fields, it can be used in mixtures with perennial ryegrass and/or tall fescue.

Perennial ryegrass - Improved and newly released varieties of perennial ryegrass are well adapted to most of Kansas and thus their use has increased greatly. These varieties establish quickly and provide, good cold tolerance and winter color, but only adequate heat tolerance. Even when irrigated heavily, summers in southern Kansas can be too hot for perennial ryegrass to survive.

Fine fescues - Fine Fescue is a shade tolerant turf grass with a medium to dark green color. Adapted to the Pacific Northwest, Fine Fescue grows best in cool humid regions, coastal regions and in high elevations. All varieties require little maintenance and like to be mowed at 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches. They have the finest leaves, the most shade tolerance and the lowest fertilizer, mowing and moisture requirements of all the cool season turf grasses. Chewings Fescue, Red Fescue, Creeping Red Fescue, Sheep Fescue and Hard Fescue are popular varieties of Fine Fescue. These varieties can be found on lawns, in parks, along road sides and other turf grass areas and extensively used in grass seed blends and mixes for both sunny and shady areas. Fine Fescues are not recommended for sports fields and golf tees because they have a low wear tolerance. Most of these varieties have all the same characteristics. Chewings Fescue has a noncreeping, bunch-type growth habit unlike Red Fescue. All varieties germinate rapidly and are well adapted to poor, dry, sandy soils.

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