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What Are the Steps to Establishing a New Lawn? Should You Sod, Seed, or Sprig?

After you decide that you want to establish a new lawn, you need to decide if your are going to sod, seed or sprig. Your decision will depend on your budget and the time of year. Seed and Sprigging are less expensive then sod initially but it can be tough to get the seed or sprigs to establish themselves. If it doesn’t establish on the 1st try then Sod could be less expensive. Sod makes most sense to use anywhere you could have erosion problems. Seeding and sprigging will need a lot of weed control during the first year of establishment.

When Should You Sod, Seed, or Sprig?

Conventional wisdom says only seed or sprig in the fall or spring and that sodding can be done most any time of the year but spring is the best.

What Needs To Be Done Before Your Add the Lawn?

  1. Test the Soil – What is the soil composition and pH? Once you know the composition, you will know if you need to add peat moss or compost to clay soils and such to help with aeration and drainage. If your soil is more sandy then you’ll need to add other tings to make sure it can hold water and nutrients. Maybe you have a low pH that needs lime added to raise it or maybe you have high pH that needs sulpher to lower it. You may need more phosphorus or potassium and the Soil Test will tell you.
  2. Till The Soil – Very important to help root systems be able to establish themselves.
  3. Rake to Grade – Finish the grade of your soil before you seed, sprig, or sod. Make sure it is clear of rocks, clods, and other debris. Roll the soil to make sure to discover and fix any low spots and other problems. You want the surface to be firm enough to prevent equipment to create ruts but loose enough so that seed can be raked into the top 1/4 inch of soil.
  4. Drainage – Make sure the area for the lawn is fairly level, without any low spots that could result in puddles later. Have the area slightly slope toward the street for easy drainage. Never have it sloop back to the house where the water can cause major problems. You don’t want to have more than a 1 foot drop in each 15 feet.
  5. Fertilize, if Seeding – Add 30 lbs. of 10-4-4 or 10-6-4 fertilizer. Or add 20 lbs. of 16-8-8 fertilizer per 1000 square feet. Your fertilizer mix should contain 30 percent or more of the total nitrogen as water-insoluble or controlled-release nitrogen. As the new grass gets to 1 to 1-1/2 inches tall, begin to raise the mowing height gradually, and remove clippings each time. After mowing three times, apply a light application (1/2 to 3/4 lb. per 1,000 sq. ft.) of nitrogen fertilizer. This application should be followed six weeks later with another application of 1 to 1-1/2 lb. nitrogen per 1,000 SQ. ft.
  6. Lay Sod In a Straight Line and Water Immediately, if Sodding – Lay sides and ends against each other without stretching the sod. Don’t overlap the pieces of sod. Stagger the end points of each row like bricks in a wall. Make sure to trim corners. Water the new sod within 30 minutes of installation.
  7. Lay Straw for Seeded or Sprigged Areas – Use clean straw or salt hay to reduce the moisture. 50 percent of the soil should be visible through the hay or straw.
  8. Watering– For seeded lawns, you many need to water as many times as four light waters in a day if conditions are windy or dry. You want to keep the seedbed moist but not wet to a depth of 1-2 inches until germination. Continue to water up to 1/4 of an inch of water per day. For Sodded lawns you want to water it 1-2 times a day up to 1 inch of soil. Lift some soil to check to see if the water is getting though to the soil. After mowing the sod 2-3 times, you can water your sod deeply but infrequently.

Bray Topsoil & Gravel can deliver top quality soil and fill dirt directly to you in the Greater Cincinnati Area! If you aren’t the do-it-yourself type, we have many long standing relationships with quality landscapers in the area. 

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Topsoil and gravel delivered to you by Bray Trucking, a specialized aggregate hauler servicing the Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana region.
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