We all know that grass makes your lawn look great. Whether you are filling in spaces of an existing lawn or starting from scratch, you want to give newly planted grass or seed the right care. Depending on your time and budget, laying down new grass seed or laying down sod is a matter of preference. Depending also on the climate you live in, you will need to purchase either cool season grass that grows best in the spring or fall, or warm season grass that grows best in summer. Buy quality seed and avoid buying grass that is outdated, as all the seed may not sprout.
Bare Soil Planting
Bare soil planting is one of the best choices for growing seed. Remove all debris, such as sticks and stones, from the soil, as well as all existing weeds and plants. Grass seed should not have to compete with weeds and other plants--it will grow better if it doesn't have to share food, water and light. Till the ground and break up all large clumps of soil. Make sure the ground is level to avoid pooling of water. You can spread seed by hand or using a lawn spreader or seeder. Apply approximately 16 seeds per square inch, otherwise the grass may come up weak or thin. Cover the seeds with ¼ inch of soil by raking over the soil. Avoid applying any herbicide to new weeds until after the third mowing of the new grass.
Planting Seed on Existing Lawns
If you are planting grass on an existing lawn to fill in any weak areas, you will first need to mow your grass as short as possible, remove any weeds and plants in those areas, and loosen the top layer of soil of any bare spots. You can spread the seed by hand or use a lawn spreader or seeder. There should be approximately 16 seeds per square inch of soil, so you get a lush, full covering of grass. Rake the ground to cover the seeds with ¼ inch of soil . Fertilize the bare spots only and water lightly and often, twice a day until seeds have germinated.
Placing sod gives you an almost weed-free instant lawn that you can walk on much sooner than if you're planting seeds. It is more expensive than seed and there are fewer grass choices. Having your lawn tilled, leveled, and watered are important when planting sod. When laying out sod, keep it in a straight line and begin around sidewalks and driveways first. Pieces of sod should laid down in a staggered fashion, and rolls of sod should be placed tightly against one another. Sod can be cut with a knife when needed to be placed around curves or plants. Use a lawn roller after laying sod to compress the roots down to the soil underneath. You can rent a roller from a hardware store. New sod will need a lot of water every day for the first week, then less often--but more deeply--after that. Fertilize throughout the growing season and avoid mowing for the first month.