If you’re like most homeowners, your grass remains a mystery of sorts. Some common seeding questions for homeowners include:
Finding the Right Type of Grass for your Climate
Turfgrasses are generally classified into warm-season and cool-season species. Cool-season grasses thrive in cooler climates, when temperatures are about 65 to 75 degrees. Warm-season grasses, on the other hand, thrive in warmer climates where temperatures range from 80 to 95 degrees.
Within these two categories, the U.S. has four, separate climatic zones of grass adaption, including the cool-humid zone, the cool-arid zone, the warm-arid zone and the warm-humid zone.
The cool-humid zone is found in the Northeast, along with several states in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. The best species of turfgrass for this region include bluegrass, fescues, ryegrasses and bentgrasses.
The cool-arid zone includes the much drier areas of the Midwest and the West. The most common species of grasses in this area are the cool-season grasses, which thrive if there is available irrigation. Other types of grasses that do well in this region include wheatgrasses and Canadian bluegrass, both of which typically do not require supplemental irrigation.
The warm-arid zone and the warm-humid zone are both located in the Southern and Western regions of the U.S. Bermuda grass is a popular grass in the warm-arid zone, and is becoming very important throughout the region's more arid parts. Cool-season grass species are often used for overseeding during the winter in the warm-arid and the warm-humid zones.
Preparing your Lawn for Seeding
The first order of business when seeding your lawn is to have the soil tested by a horticulturalist that can identify if there are any missing nutrients in your soil. It is wise to bring in at least 4 inches of top soil before seeding, particularly if it is for a new construction. Laying a fertilizer onto the soil and not working it in will allow important nutrients to work themselves into the soil, thereby increasing the health of your lawn.
Warm-season grasses should be planted in the spring, once soil temperatures have increased enough to allow for germination. Cool-season grasses are best seeded in late summer or early fall.
The grass seed is typically spread onto the surface of the top soil and lightly raked into the soil. It is important to try to achieve uniformity when spreading your grass seed.
Frequently irrigate the new seed until the lawn has been established (as often as three times a day if the weather is particularly warm or windy), as you want to keep the soil relatively moist until germination. Placing straw or mulch on top of the newly planted seed will help retain moisture in the soil.
It is best to apply fertilizer when your turfgrass is actively growing. General guidelines are as follows: Nitrogen in March or April; Nitrogen in May or June and Nitrogen in August or September and then again in late fall.
With planning and care, you can successfully seed your lawn and create a green masterpiece that will accent your home beautifully.