Best Way To Stop Grass From Growing In Flower Beds Planting Grass Seed in the Fall

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Planting Grass Seed in the Fall

Planting grass seed in the fall is the best time to plant cool-season grasses or transplant warm-season grasses with perennial ryegrass. If north of the US transition zone, the best time to plant grass seed will be between August 25th and October 5th. If located in the warmer south and overseeded, grass seed is best established when planted between September 20th and October 25th.

Soil quality and preparation are important steps in planting a new lawn. Begin by removing existing vegetation. If you are planting a new lawn in a large area with lots of weeds, spray it with a non-selective herbicide like Round-Up to save hours of manual labor. If you overseed, you obviously won’t want to destroy your base grass with herbicide applications, but what you can do is mow your warm season grass as low as you can. This, along with a whirling cut and vigorous raking, will reduce thatch and improve good seed-to-soil contact.

At this point you will want to add the necessary fertilizer and any soil amendments the soil may need. What and how much to apply can be determined by taking a representative soil sample and sending it for analysis. Your local university office should be equipped to analyze and interpret your soil sample. You want to incorporate the lawn fertilizer and soil amendments evenly into the top 2 to 3 inches of topsoil. The best way to achieve good incorporation is to use a good rotary tiller. For overseeding projects, add 5 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft. of a 16-20-0 assay fertilizer two weeks after planting.

For a new lawn, you then want to level the ground as best as possible. New soil must settle naturally or you can speed up the process by adding more water. If water is added, wait for the soil to dry out and then pull out the sprouting weeds. Then rake the soil so that there are small plants in it. At this point your soil is now ready to plant grass seed.

For both new turf and reseeding, apply 1/2 grass seed in one direction to the soil using a spreader. Then put the other 1/2 seed in the other direction. Lightly rake the seeds, then gently roll the soil with a roller. To achieve good seed-to-soil contact and maintain good soil moisture, cover the grass seed with a thin layer of mulch or compost. This is not necessary, but will improve the germination of grass seed, especially if it is stressed by hot weather or dry winds blowing across the soil surface.

If sod is installed, repeat the same steps from above and make sure the ground is firm enough to prevent the grass sod from digging in after being walked on. After placing the sod, roll it with a roller in two directions and water it twice a day until it takes root. When a sod of grass can no longer be picked up by hand, it has taken root.

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