published Saturday, September 25th, 2010

5 tips on sowing grass

Every lawn expert knows: If you can’t get your grass seed on the ground in the fall, the next best time to plant is ... fall. This is it — time to get your grass growing so you can be the envy of the neighborhood next spring, or at least fill in the bald patches that have been eyesores all year.

Tim Holcomb of Holcomb Garden Centers said that grass can be planted year-round, but autumn is best. Area homeowners have a choice of many types of lawn grasses, but all fall into two classes: warm season and cool season.

“The most popular for our area is the turf-type, fescue, cool-season grasses,” he said.

Here are five tips to get it in the ground and growing. You can find more at

1 Prepare the soil. While grass can grow in clay or chert, it will perform much better in good soil. You need to spike, aerate or till the soil where possible to allow direct contact of seed and soil. A product such as Natural Guard Soil Activator will help loosen hard or compacted soils. Test your soil’s pH, adding lime or sulfur as needed to obtain a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.

2 Plant the proper amount of grass. Apply the seed at a rate of 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet of bare soil. For overseeding, apply about 5 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet. Be sure the seed touches soil and is not lying on top of weeds or grass.

3 Fertilize. Grass seed will grow with or without food, but the difference is pretty dramatic. Use a food with a high middle number (phosphorus) to create as many roots as possible. Good roots equal a much hardier turf.

4 Water, water, water. Any established lawn prefers about 1 inch of water a week. For newly seeded lawns, it’s important to keep the surface of the soil moist. Water lightly several times a day until the grass starts growing, then switch to once a day. As the grass matures, water about half an inch twice a week for deep root growth.

5 Keep up with maintenance. Mow fescue lawns when they reach 3 to 4 inches in height. Follow a regular feeding program, such as Ferti-Lome’s 5 Step Lawn program, which provides regular feeding and weed control.

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