While sod is usually our preferred method of installing turf, there are times when using grass seed is needed for budgetary reasons. There are several ways to do this, but if you want to start from seed then you’ll need to follow these steps.
Step One: Remove old turf. This won’t be necessary if your current yard consists of bare dirt. Otherwise, you’ll need to kill and remove old vegetation that will compete with your grass. There are various ways of doing this, such as smothering the old lawn with heavy mulch, using herbicide or layers of plastic to kill it, or cutting it up and hauling away chunks of sod (which is what we strongly recommend). Consult with us about the best way to remove your old lawn.
Step Two: Fix grading problems. The ground around your home should slope slightly downward, and you should avoid having dips or holes in the lawn. So before you plant, make sure all grading problems are fixed. In some cases you may be able to fix minor problems yourself, using a landscape rake. If you have serious grading problems, it’s usually best to hire a professional landscaping company.
Step Three: Treat the soil through tilling, then rake. Use of a rototiller to combine compost into the existing soil is the best recipe for success. The soil in the Temecula Valley has little organic material in it. Grass will only thrive if this organic material is added before seeding. After you till the soil, the surface to remove small stones and other matter. Water the surface and check for puddle formation to detect spots that need to be filled in a bit more. When the surface is smooth and ready to plant, you can plant your seeds.
Step Four: Plant your seeds. A few days before planting, water to a depth of about six inches. Spread your seed as recommended on the package (a good rule of thumb is 15 to 20 seeds per square inch). Using a spreader, distribute seeds in one direction and then make another pass in a perpendicular direction. Rake the surface lightly to mix the seeds into the soil, then roll with an empty roller to improve the germination rate.
Step Five: Ongoing care for your new lawn. Mist newly seeded lawns four times per day. Keep the seedbed moist, but avoid over-saturating. Once your seedlings reach a height of two inches, reduce the frequency while increasing the depth of waterings.
For more information on growing a fresh lawn, or if you need help caring for your new grass, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.