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How to sow and establish a lawn
by Jessica Odering
How to sow and establish a lawn
There are several methods of establishing a lawn that vary in price, speed and ease. The three most common methods in New Zealand are Instant turf, Hydroseeding and growing from seed. Each has a different cost, time factor and ease of doing associated with them. We will look at the simple method of growing from seed and how to do it. -Read more here
If you have time with your area, water the area that is going to become lawn and germinate as much weed seed as possible to lower the weed seed bank in your soil.
Use a non-residual herbicide such as Glyphosate. You do not want to leave any chemicals in the soil that may inhibit any growth.
Remove any dead weeds and organic material and breakup if required using a rotary hoe or a rake, depending on how level your lawn already is.
Break up your ground into a fine tilth so that there is good contact between the soil and the seed.
Preparing your seedbed
Rake the seed bed to get it at the level you want.
Roll or tamp it down using a roller or hand tamper, even heel it in to get the firm base you need.
It is at this stage that any in ground irrigation should be put in.
We suggest you incorporate a starter fertiliser while giving it the final working over.
Ensure when finished you have a firm and fine seed bed that is level.
Sowing your seedbed
If sowing by seed follow the recommended rates.
You can use either a hand spreader, a wheeled seed spreader or broadcast by hand.
A good method is to split the seed into two amounts and walk up and down in one direction
Once done walk at 90 degrees back and forth to get a more even coverage.
You may have to use a thin layer of topsoil at this stage over the top of the soil.
Other options include Hydro Seeding and Instant turf
Watering your new lawn
Watering should start straight after sowing.
Water gently and consistently.
Keep it moist and do not let it dry out.
Once seed has stuck change to less but deeper watering.
While watering ensure you avoid over watering and ponding.
Observe the water infiltration rate and adjust your volume of water top suit.
Try to avoid walking on your lawn while establishing if practical.
Mowing a new lawn
Do not mow the grass until it is at least 7-10cm in height.
Ensure your lawnmower blades are nice and sharp to give it a good clean cut.
Set the mower high, taking no more than a third to half of the blade for the first cut.
Use a catcher to prevent the clippings smothering the new plants.
Gradually lower the blades over the next several cuts to until they are about 2.5cm.
We recommend that you fertilise your lawn for the first time after your first mow.
Weed Control in your new lawn
Weeds will generally require a chemical application to control them.
Don’t spray for at least 2 months after sowing – just weed by hand if possible.
First rule of spraying is -ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW ITS DIRECTIONS
Fertiliser is important to maintain the growth and colour of your new lawn.
We can recommend the right fertiliser for your lawn.
When to Plant
Spring (August to November) and autumn (March to May) are the best time to sow your lawns.
Depending on the type of seeds, they will generally germinate between 3-7 days during warmer months
In cooler times it can take up to 20 days to germinate.