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November 11, 2009

How to Grow Grass Seed

grow-grass-seed-green.jpg When the neighbor's perfect lawn leaves you green with envy, it's time to do something. Although the concrete parking lot effect may be tempting, the easiest and most cost effective way to a beautiful lawn is to grow grass seed. Seeding a yard is more economical and less back-breaking than laying sod, but the process does require patience. A little knowledge is helpful too.

Before you run to the home improvement store to purchase seed, it pays to do some research. Finding out ahead of time what type of grass seed grows best in your area will make things easier in the long run. One way to determine this is to find out what planting zone you live in. Grass seed packaging will denote grass type along with recommended planting zones. Trying to grow grass that thrives in the north when you live in the south will bring searing results. Planting southern grass in a northern climate will leave you feeling a bit wilted. You get the idea.

Another way to find out what grows best in your neighborhood is to ask your neighbors. Don't ask the neighbors with lawns that resemble your own. Swallow your pride and approach that guy with the golf course green grass in his front yard. He may ramble for hours about fertilizer and watering schedules, but taking notes wouldn't be a bad idea. You can't argue with results.

Now that you have an idea what to buy, it's time to decide on how much grass seed to purchase. Running out of seed halfway through the job is not a good feeling. Luckily, figuring your yard size is as easy as running a tape measure and multiplying the length times the width to get square feet. The grass seed manufacturers include coverage in square feet on every bag, so you'll know how many bags to buy if you know how big an area you need to cover.

While you are in the home improvement store, it may be a good idea to look at walk-behind spreaders if you don't already own one. Hand-casting grass seed is fine for covering small bare spots here and there, but you'll be tossing a few choice words along with the seed if you try to use that method for an entire yard.

You've purchased your bags of grass seed, lubed up the wheels on your spreader, and you are ready to go to work. Before you spread that seed, take a look at the soil in your yard. If you are having a hard time growing gorgeous, green grass on your lot, there's probably good reason. Healthy green grass needs healthy soil. If your yard is sandy or rocky, clay-filled or simply malnourished, it's time to remedy the situation. Having your soil tested by a county extension agent or lawn specialist is the optimum way to find out what to feed your dirt to make it healthy. The easier method involves a trip back to the home improvement center for some bags of topsoil. Spread the topsoil before you spread the seed to give your grass a perfectly balanced place to put down roots.

Now you are ready to spread the seed. Adjust the setting your spreader to the disbursement rate recommended by the seed manufacturer. Try to spread the grass seed slowly and evenly, making sure you don't get an overabundance of seed around the perimeter or bald spots in the center. Picture the seeds as blades of grass. Are they thick enough? Will they stay put in a hard rain? Nothing ruins a good mood like watching your newly planted grass seed washing down into the city sewer. It may help to go behind your spreader with a roller to tamp the seed lightly into the ground. You can use the old-fashioned foot stomping method if you don't have access to a roller. Your neighbors may think you are doing a rain dance, but some rain couldn't hurt right now anyway.

If the clouds aren't rolling in with the rain, it's time to get out the sprinkler. Neglecting to water newly planted grass seed is for the birds. That means that the neighborhood birds will soon be feasting on the huge feeder that you call your yard unless you soak it down with water. Water the seed into the ground with a gently spray to simulate light rain, being careful not to overwater or cause wash-outs.

The next few weeks will be a time for diligence and patience. Regular watering will eventually bring bright green sprouts of tender grass. Beware of roving stray dogs and children riding bikes until these sprouts really take root. Once the blades of grass begin to thicken and grow taller, it's time to fertilize. Use a fertilizer recommended for the type of grass you planted, and don't overdo it. You know what they say about too much of a good thing. Always water immediately after fertilizing to avoid burning off your brand new lawn.
Congratulations. You are well on your way to a think, lush carpet of grass that will rival the best lawn on the block. Remember that maintenance is the key to "lawn-gevity" Keeping your grass cut without scalping it and maintaining a regular watering and fertilizing schedule will be necessary from here on out. Anytime you think that maintenance is too much trouble, picture yourself repeating the steps listed above. You'll be back on track in no time!



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  • Stuart Robinson
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Email Me


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