Seeding a New Lawn [video]

 In the video below, Extension Field Specialist, Margaret Hagen, describes the process for seeding a new lawn.

Video Transcript

Hello I'm Margaret Hagan a field specialist for UNH Cooperative Extension. Today we're going to talk about seeding a new lawn. The establishment of a new lawn is only as good as the quality of the establishment process. Starting a new lawn is an investment of time money and labor that should bring enjoyment and a lawn that last for many years to come. It does however require some planning. If the soil is extremely rocky, droughty, compacted or poorly drained you may need to make some modifications. When the soils are poor, adding four inches of loam and or organic matter can make the difference between a healthy low maintenance lawn and a thin or weed infested lawn that requires lots of time and money. Next measure the area. Its size will dictate how much topsoil, organic matter, fertilizer, lime and feed is required. A tape measure or measuring wheel can be used to measure the area.

One of the most important decisions made during the establishment of a lawn is the proper selection of a seed mix. Turf grasses must be selected according to the conditions of your particular site and the intended use of your lawn. Choosing the proper seed mix will save you time, effort, and money. When you go to the garden center to purchase grass seed you will find that it tends to be organized by type. Choose the seed mix most closely adapted to your site.

Weed competition during establishment is one of the major reasons for lawn failures. This is especially true for spring seedings. Consider using weed killers or herbicide to control weeds before planting. Rough grading involves leveling or contouring the soil to provide the grade and slope of the lawn. The rough grade should drain water away from buildings. If needed apply four to six inches of good quality topsoil and rake it evenly across the entire area. If soil organic matter content is less than five percent apply three to five cubic yards of compost for 1000 square feet. Apply lime and starter fertilizer according to the soil test recommendations and then till all the applied amendments into the top six inches of soil. Next use a rake to level the area and remove clods and rocks from the soil. You can firm the soil by watering or using a roller.

Remember to select a seed mixture containing improved or named varieties well suited to your site. Broadcast the seed uniformly over the area using a drop or rotary spreader.
Achieve uniformity by seeding in opposite directions after setting the spreader to deliver half the desired rate. Using very light pressure rake the seed into the upper one-quarter inch of soil. While some seeds will remain visible on the surface raking is more effective than brewing the seed too deeply. Rolling, while optional, will pinch the seeds and soil particles together to prevent drying out. Apply a weed-free straw uniformly over the new seeding to conserve moisture and reduce erosion. On sloping ground approximately one bale per 1,000 square feet is sufficient keep the soil surface moist to prevent the seeds from drying out. This often requires light, frequent watering for two to three weeks after seeding. You need to water for approximately 5 to 10 minutes up to twice daily. When grass seed has reached a height of three to four inches it is time to start mowing. Remove onlythe top one-third of a leaf blade when mowing.


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