New Lawns - Sodding or Seeding
Seeding is usually the most economical method to establish a new
lawn. It can be successfully started from anytime during the growing
season but mid-summer is hardly ideal for seeding new lawns, since
hot weather dries soil quickly. Early fall is the best time for seeding with cool-season grasses. Early spring is the best time for warm-season grasses.
In seeding a new lawn Lite Gardener will:
- Conduct a soil test to determine any requirements for
additional nutrients and lime to correct the PH.
- Measure the site of the area to calculate how much seed,
soil, fertilizer and other materials are needed to establish the
- Remove any old lawn and weeds by sod-cutter and shovel
making sure remove the roots of any weeds
- Dig over the area to a depth of 6" using a
Tiller, removing all weed, concrete, rock construction scrap and
- Add enough good quality soil to provide at least 4
to 6" for the grass to grow in. . The soil will include a
balance of rich black topsoil, decayed organic materials such as
peat, moss and compost incorporated at 1 to 3 yards³ per 1000
- Apply fertilizer and lime as indicated by the soil test. Fertilizer, Lime and organic amendments should
be mixed the native soil at least 6" deep using the tiller. This
ensures that the microbes will be in the zone as the grass seed
- Roll the surface Rake the soil to level it out, removing
any debris and rocks.
- Using a lawn roller
pack down the freshly seedbed. The lawn roller applies the
correct amount of pressure, and ensures a level seedbed surface.
Roll the entire seedbed three passes: first going east to west,
secondly north to south. Once the entire surface is level, the
Lite gardener will give
it one final lighting rolling; and then lightly loosen up the
top half" of soil with a rake in preparation for seeding
- Apply a top quality seed mix consisting of 4 varieties of
seed using a spreader set to apply the seeds at a rate about 3
lbs of seed per 1000 ft². Seed the entire area in two passes:
first in zigzag pattern going east to west and then secondly in
a similar pattern but going north to south. This will help to
minimize any possible gaps in the application. Any gaps
after application will be filled in by hand seeding.
- Using a rake lightly push and pull the soil back and forth to
cover the seed with a thin layer, ensuring that the seeds
are buried no deeper than ¼".
- Lightly roll the
soil surface again to ensure good contact between seed and soil.
For this process roller will be filled only halfway with water.
- Provide detailed instructions on watering.
Watering the seedbed is the most important step.
- Make sure enough water is applied to wet the soil down
to at least 6" deep.
- Apply water gently - don’t wash the seed
away. The soil should be kept evenly moist for the soil
to hold the seed and for the seed to begin to germinate. If
seeds are allowed to dry out dry out, they die.
- Keep the soil moist by watering lightly a couple of times
per day for four weeks. Germination time will vary depending on
several factors but generally the various seeds in the mixture
will take around 5 to 30 days for complete germination.
- After the seeds germinate water more heavily but less
frequently. The watering frequency will be determined by weather
conditions. Germinating seedlings can die in a few hours if they
become dry. As the roots grow deeper into the soil gradually
decrease the frequency and increase the amount of water to
encourage deep rooting.
- As the new lawn becomes established, It will
require less and less moisture to grow. If watering
continued everyday, the ground would become too wet rot the young seedlings and inhibit
root growth. Try to skipping a day of watering for a week,
getting moisture down 8". If the grass doesn’t dry out, each
week increase the period by one day, until watering once a week.
Continue this rate for remainder of the growing season.
- During the germination both grass seeds and weeds
present in the soil or blown will grow, making hand weeding
desirable, but annual weeds will not be back to next year if
this is done and there is proper watering to ensure a thick
- Mow the new lawn when it reaches 4" high,
mowing it no lower than 3". A new lawn needs to time
to set deep roots. Additionally this avoids compacted soft soil and
dislodging some new grass plants by feet and mower wheels.
- Fill thin patches in with seed and water lightly.
- The Lite Gardener recommends reseeding in the spring
or fall if the grass does not come up well.
Laying sod is a very popular alternative to
growing grass from seeds, because it is an excellent way to get and
instantly grass and lush yard. Anytime during the growing season can
laying sod but at the mid-summer is less than idea for starting
laying sod. Early fall and spring are the best times for laying sod.
Here are the steps the Lite
Gardener will take to sod a new lawn.
- Measure the square footage of your planned
sodding area to determine how much sod, soil, fertilizer and other
materials will be need to install the sod.
- Remove all of
wood, bricks, cement, rocks, stones and debris as well as remove the
old lawn and weeds.
- Rototill soil 4
to 6" deep to loosen soil up, and then rake to level out the area
and remove rocks, weeds, other debris and smooth out the soil.
- Level the soil approximately 1" below any hard surfaces such as
patios, sidewalks and driveways so that when the sod is installed it
won’t be higher or lower than the hard surface.
- Do a soil test to see
if the soil needs to be amended.
- Add soil and amendments
- Add 1 to 3 yards³ of soil
and spread on per 1000 ft² of area and spread fertilizer, lime or
sulfur over the loosened soil according to the result of the soil
test, at the rate of application recommended by the fertilizer
- work the fertilizer in to a depth of 6"
with a rotiller, and rake the soil to level it out.
- Roll the lawn with the lawn roller about 1/3 full of
water to firm and settle the surface.
- Select the right type of sod grass for the area being sodded
- Install sod along the
longest straight line from back to front.
- Unroll the pieces of
sod and butting them closely to the edge and each other and corners
are flush. Place the sod in long
straight row, end to end together lightly but without
overlapping and gapping. Lay the sod in a brick
pattern to reduce seams. Stagger the pieces so that ends of each
row do not line up. Staggering will give the sodded lawn an
appearance of being more naturally grown.
- Cut sod to fit around sprinklers, trees or in odd shaped
- Roll the
entire area to make sure sod and soil are in a good contact and
to remove air pockets, allowing the sod’s roots to work quickly and
help level the area. Start watering immediately after the sod is laid
- Ensure that the homeowner is aware of the importance of
watering. the success of laying sod is greatly dependant
on watering. Water the lawn is a depth of 6 to 8"everyday
for a couple of weeks, making sure the water hits every corner and water
according to weather and soil conditions. Watering is preferred early
morning. This prevents the mid-day sun from evaporating the water,
thus drying out your sod. After two to three weeks, the sod should be rooted in the
soil underneath and cut back to a standard lawn watering schedule
- Lawn cutting. The Lite Gardener will keep the grass height high
for the first few cutting; let it reach a height of 4 to 5" before
moving. Mowing heights should be 3". Make sure the mower is in good
mechanical condition with a sharp blade.
- The Lite Gardener recommends that fertilization be repeated every 6 weeks for the remainder of the growing season
and, of course, start
our lawn care programs in May to obtain a healthy, green carpet
Going with seed or sod?
Seeding is less expensive
than laying sod. But seeded lawn needs long- term care,
frequent watering to
keep the seed moist during germination and takes
7 days before the first blade of grass is
visible. The first year, it will look positively nasty, with uneven
germination, and weed growing faster than the grass. It wouldn’t
a lush, green and fully functional
lawn for a couple of years. But sodded lawn can
be functional in three weeks. Sod require more skill to plant, but
it will give faster results than seeding and be used much sooner
than seeded lawns. Additionally sod is
better suited to sloping areas where seed
would be washed away to low areas as a result of
rain and watering. Sod also makes it
harder for weeds to complete with sod.