What are the benefits of seeding my lawn? Seeding introduces new, healthier, more vibrant grass seedlings to your existing lawn. The healthier your lawn, the more beautiful and more resistant it will be to disease and pests. Best of all, the overall vigor and health of your lawn enhances the value of your property.
When buying seed for your lawn, buy from a reputable and knowledgeable representative. Don't just buy any brand. Seed distributors have to supply the big box stores where they market their lower quality seed. This is why I purchase my seed by the ton, from a seed broker I have known for over 10 years. My seed cannot be purchased at nurseries or box stores. I use only seed that local golf courses use on their fairways. A fairway grass is a Class C turf which most closely resembles your home lawn. A putting green is an example of a Class A turf. For home lawns I prefer to use a 70/30 seeding mix.
Fescue grass also requires more water longer than perennial rye grass in order to become established. You need to water a little longer than you think so the secondary grasses can become established. Also note that you don't want to let the perennial rye grass grow above 5 inches tall before first cut or it will shade out your fescues.
What is a seed blend? A blend is a mixture of several different varieties of the same seed. An example would be a three-way perennial rye grass, similar in concept to like-blended whiskies.
What is a seed mix? Different types of seed are mixed together, such as perennial rye grass and fescue. This provides the advantage of mixing sun and shade grasses and disease with pest resistance.
What is considered when seed is selected for mixing or blending? Many things are considered when seed is mixed or blended:
• the color of the grass at maturity
• the fineness of the blade and uniformity
• how the grass will be maintained, such as cutting and fertilization
• disease and susceptibility to pests
Is cheap seed a bargain? Cheap seed is no bargain. It quite often contains other non-desirable grasses by accident or on purpose. At the box stores I now see a change in marketing techniques by reputable seed producers. They market seed with their nationally-known name but it is aimed at the cheapest purchaser. These seeds are marketed using descriptions like "contractors' mix" or "extremely fast establishing" or "quick green". The frugal shopper buys this seed, gets it home, applies it, and it looks great. But when the seed finally matures, it's usually wide-bladed and ugly and "goes to seed" all the time. The frugal shopper then sees the ugly lawn and by then has forgotten what he put on last year, so goes back and buys a cheap, low-quality product again.
Where does the highest quality grass seed come from? Higher quality seed for Western Washington is grown in Oregon in the Willamette Valley. This seed is usually endophyte-enhanced with a fungus that discourages some chewing insect pests and increases your lawn's stress resistance. Seed is professionally mixed or blended for a reason. If only one super seed was used and it became susceptible to a pest or disease, you would lose your whole lawn. Most seed is purchased at the big box stores and based on one criterion: price. Most homeowners do not take purity and quality into consideration.
What is the best way to apply peat moss over my grass seed? Many homeowners decide to cover their seed with peat moss. If you use peat moss, I strongly recommend renting a peat moss roller from a rental yard. Not to be confused with a drum you put water in for site compaction, a peat moss roller is light and easy to transport. Peat moss roller rental is about $15 a day. The roller itself is made of expanded diamond-cut metal which has many openings to equally distribute the peat moss. The quality of this is unattainable by hand spreading. Do not put peat moss on too thick or it will interlock and prevent the seed from growing through it.
Why would seed failure occur? Failure can be caused by: poor germinating temperatures, a weed and feed or chemical being applied either before or after seeding, lack of watering, overwatering, birds and other animals feeding on the seeds, contaminated soil, chemicals, diesel fuel and/or paint thinners.
How do I get the best results from seeding my existing lawn? Water your lawn daily, lightly and frequently, depending on the temperature. If possible, mow your lawn first before aeration.
Why don't you use Kentucky Bluegrass seed? Kentucky Bluegrass does not live longer than one year here in Western Washington. Winters are not cold enough for the grass to go into dormancy; disease will also kill it.
Should I Rototill my existing lawn before sodding or seeding? No. Another mistake many people make is to rototill an existing lawn and then try to grade it. Rototilling creates a huge, tangled mess of dirt clods and grass. Then when you rototill your new topsoil into the mess that's left, it takes hours to get it graded and there's always a chunk of your old lawn on top. In addition, if you do get it graded, that old sod will be decomposing and your newly established yard will end up with many bumps and dips. Use a sod cutter first, then the rototiller. With rototilling you never know what a previous owner has buried, so make a place to put unwanted dug up items.
When does hydroseeding become a great investment? Sodding properties over 4,000 square feet gets expensive. Many landscape designers now prefer hydroseeding for larger properties. You have to water more in the beginning, but what you save in labor and cost can be spent on proper site preparation.
What do I consider when hiring a hydroseeding company? When comparing hydroseeding estimates, please consider the following criteria. All bids are not equal. More is to be considered than just cost per square foot. Ask about:
• the hydro mulch to be used
• seed quality and fertilizer
• if the soil to be hydroseeded is on a slope, then is a tackifying agent needed to prevent soil from washing away?
• do they have experience working on residential lawns?
• what do they recommend for weed control?
Do you like hydroseeding? Yes because you can control exactly the amount of seed and type of mulch to be applied.
What are the best strategies for hydroseeding success? Use quality seed, fertilizer, the right mix in the tank, and irrigation.
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