The first step in any lawn seeding is correct site preparation. Every site will be a little different, but the basics of site preparation will be the same. The overall goal of this step is to create a firm, weed free seedbed to plant into. The site might need to be rototilled at a depth of 4 inches to remove any unwanted weeds and grasses, as well as loosen up any soil compaction. If the site is rototilled, the soil will need to be packed to firm the seedbed. Water the site to germinate any weed seeds that may be present. After weeds have germinated and are several inches tall, typically 2 weeks, spray the site with a non-selective contact herbicide such as Roundup. The site is now ready to be seeded.
Choose a grass variety that is right for your location. Residential lawns require 2-4 pounds of seed for every 1000 square feet. Evenly spread the recommended amount of seed over the site with either a broadcast or hand spreader. After spreading the seed, the area needs to either be rolled or very lightly raked to ensure good seed to soil contact. Plan to lightly water your newly seeded lawn at least twice daily. Overwatering and insufficient watering are the leading causes of failure when establishing a new lawn. The site needs to remain moist but not saturated until the grass germinates. Once the lawn is established, follow the recommended water requirements for the specific grass type that was seeded. On average, most lawns require 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week to remain lush and green.
Do not fertilize your new lawn for at least six weeks. After 6 weeks, an application of ½ pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet can be applied. Once established, both warm and cool season grasses can be fertilized 3 times per growing season. The recommended rate for both warm and cool season grasses is a total of 3 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per 1000 square feet, split into 3 applications. Warm season grasses should be fertilized once in the early spring (April), once in late spring (May), and once again in late summer (August). It is recommended to fertilize cool season grasses twice in the fall, in September and November, then once in the spring, typically April.
Weed control is an important aspect of any successful lawn seeding. Understanding your options and having a weed control plan will increase your project’s success. When spraying weeds in your lawn, make certain that your grass type is listed on the herbicide label and follow all label requirements. Herbicides that target broadleaf weeds in buffalograss might not be recommended for use on bermudagrass.