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Starting a Lawn from Seed

Get to know your yard

Measure the area from north to south and east to west. Multiply these two measurements to get your square footage. Your square footage will determine how much seed, fertilizer and soil additive to get. While you are measuring the area you should also make note of how much shade and direct sunlight your yard will get. Will that change in the summer once the trees have all their leaves or the house shades the lawn?

Test your soil

Do you remember your school science classes? All plants like certain types of soil to grow in. Grass tends to like soil with a pH of about 6.5. Dandelions seem to like a pH of 7.5, which is what most of our soil here is. To find out what your soil consists of you can buy a test kit at Gulley Greenhouse or if you would like a more detailed report call the Colorado Extension Office, they offer a more intensive kit (Available at Gulley’s). If you are concerned about your results, ask our helpful staff for the solution.

Choose the best seed

Gulley Greenhouse selects the best quality seeds available for our area. You will need to choose the best seed to meet your needs. Most lawns here are “Cool Season” grasses, meaning they grow best when it is cool (think light jacket weather) and the plants rest when it is too cold or too hot (think July through August). The best time to plant this type of grass seed is in spring or fall. In full sun, bluegrass offers lush lawns with deep color and the ability to fill back in if damaged. Fescue will tolerate heat, shade, drought and traffic from children and pets. Buffalo grass is a warm season grass that needs very little maintenance or water and is a responsible choice for a dry climate.

Prepare your soil

The soil is where the lawn receives its food and water. If there are weeds in the area, remove them now. Our expert staff can help you find the answer which will work best for you. Loosen up that soil and mix in Soil Pep or Eko Compost, which will also help correct high pH. Adding New Lawn Fertilizer now will give the little plants just enough food without burning their roots. Once you have mixed everything into the soil, use a rake to create a level area. You can also choose to add a pre-emergent weed control to the soil, this can help keep future weeds under control. Corn Gluten is one of the best solutions and it is organic! Find it at Gulley Greenhouse.

Spread the Grass Seed

There are two types of lawn spreaders and you can use either to distribute grass seed. Following the directions that come with the spreader, adjust the spreader settings for the type of grass you purchased.
The best way to evenly spread the seed is to divide the grass seed into two halves. Walking at a steady pace, spread the first half of the grass seed walking from north to south or east to west. Spread the second half walking diagonally so the seed crisscrosses the whole yard. Lightly rake to cover the seed with a thin layer of soil.

Water

Lightly water the newly planted seed with a fine spray of water, making sure you aren’t washing away any of the seeds. You must keep the soil evenly moist, meaning you will need to lightly water 2 or 3 times a day, according to the weather. Depending on which variety of grass you have planted it may take 2 to 4 weeks for new grass blade to appear. You will need to keep the soil evenly moist until most of the new grass is at least half an inch tall. Then you can cut the watering back to once a day or every other day. Water slowly so the water soaks into the soil 6” deep. (You want to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out but too much water will rot your new pride and joy).

Mow

Once the new lawn reaches 3-4” high, mow. Never cut more than one third off any plant including a grass plant. With some exceptions, most lawns do best when mowed to a height of about 2-3” with a sharp blade. Mow when the soil is on the dry side so you don’t tear the new grass. Once you have mowed your new lawn a couple of times, you can cut back on the water to twice a week, making sure each watering soaks in deeply. You may also use a slow-release fertilizer at this time, such as Fertilome Classic Lawn Food or Scotts Super Turf Builder. Organic gardeners will want to use Natural Lawn Food from Espoma.

Water Again

After planting, water each plant thoroughly. 6pm to 9am is the best time period, but if you don’t have a timed sprinkler system, water during a cool day. Water in the evening or early morning so moisture will not evaporate out of the ground, but don’t let moisture remain on the leaves or powdery mildew could develop.
Always water deeply, slowly, and for long periods of time, do not sprinkle your plants. It may look like moisture is getting into the ground but many times it’s just running off in rivulets. When using a hose keep it on low so your plants aren’t harmed. Water at least 15 to 20 minutes if not for a half hour. This will save plants from the stress of dehydration.

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