If you’re going to seed your lawn, don’t spend good money on grass seed only to watch it die. Make sure you follow the proper steps to ensure a thick, lush lawn. The team at Heritage Lawns & Irrigation specializes in lawn care and seeding in Kansas City, and our lawn coaches have put together this fall seeding tutorial to make sure you take all the right steps to create a lawn you can be proud of. Follow these 7 steps, then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor:
1. Pre-Seeding Prep Work for the Best Start
Paws and think about the dog and get the workspace ready
Decide before starting the seeding process how much of your lawn needs to be seeded. Are you overseeding your entire lawn, just a section, or killing it all out and starting over? Things to consider include how much can you afford to water, and if you have a pet, you may want to only seed a section and then keep Fido off of that section while the new seedlings get established.
Once you have decided which section(s) you are seeding, water that area a few days ahead of seeding, but not that day.
2. Buy The Right Type of Seed Mix
Planting a new lawn or just overseeding?
For Kansas City, MO and most KC metro lawns, we recommend a 50/50 mix of fescue and Bluegrass for new lawns. If overseeding an existing lawn, just add fescue as Bluegrass spreads quickly and easily, but fescue needs replenishing.
3. Not All Seed is Created Equal, Choose High-Quality Seed
Don’t plant weed seed!
This sounds like a “duh factor”, but homeowners don’t always realize that most grass seed contains weed seeds too. Always check the seed label for “0% Weed Seeds” and “0% Other Crop” to avoid adding weeds to your lawn.
4. To Aerate or Verticut, That Is the Question.
Well…how bad is your lawn?
To aerate or verticut, that is the question. It’s easy to get confused as to which treatment is best for your lawn. Basically, the difference is that core aeration removes plugs or cores (hence the name) of dirt and thatch from your lawn making room for the roots to grow and letting more oxygen, nutrients, and water reach the roots. Verticutting is done by using a special machine that cuts horizontal lines into the lawn versus pulling small plugs out of the lawn. The blades cut down into the thatch breaking up that dead layer and bringing it to the surface so it can easily be collected and removed. Verticutting also decreases lawn compaction by cutting in the rows, but not to the degree that a core aerator does.
Core aeration is best for thickening healthy lawns (decreases compaction, decreases thatch, encourages rooting).
Verticutting is best for very thin or bare lawns (good seed-to-soil contact for better germination).
5. Apply Starter Fertilizer and Increase Your Odds
Feed that new grass, it’s hungry!
New grass needs phosphorus and potassium. Use a starter fertilizer when the seed is being planted. Fertilize again within three to four weeks of planting, or when the grass is 1 to 1 1/2 inches tall.
(After 2-3 Mowings, Weed Control can be safely applied)
6. Water Consistently – THE Single Most Important Step
Your grass is also thirsty!
The most important thing after planting the seed is to keep the soil consistently moist. If it dries out, the seed will die. Follow this schedule:
- Weeks 1-3 – 3x/day light watering
- Weeks 4-5 – 1x/day for twice as long as weeks 1-3
- Rest of year – 1x/week very deeply
7. Mow When Grass Reaches Four Inches
Don’t forget to celebrate a job well done!
When the grass reaches a height of 4” tall, mow it to a height of 3”. Then mow every 5-7 days. Remove any clumps of grass or dead leaves. We recommend a push mower rather than a riding mower because it is lighter and won’t compact the grass with large, heavy tires.
If you need help seeding your lawn, give us a call at (913) 451-4664 or contact us online and one of our lawn coaches will be happy to come out and help.