The Best Time to Plant a New Lawn with Grass Seed is in Summertime
If you’re planning on planting a new lawn or doing substantial overseeding to cover bare spots in your yard, mid to late summer is the best time to start the process.
Starting a new lawn in the summer gives you time remove old grass and weeds, and to properly prepare the soil before planting. In Kansas, the new seed should actually go down in early fall. Planting in the early fall gives the seeds plenty of time to germinate, allowing roots to establish themselves before winter arrives. It’s also a time when temperatures aren’t as hot, and rain storms aren’t as intense.
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Killing Your Old Lawn & Weeds
Before planting, it’s best to first kill off your old lawn with a strong herbicide. This should be done mid to late summer, about a month before you plant the new grass. After killing the existing turf, you should thoroughly rake the yard, removing the dead grass, weeds and debris.
Preparing the Soil
For best results, you should test the quality of your soil and add nutrients to best suit the type of grass you’re planting. The K-State extension office has a soil testing lab, and information about the proper pH levels for different types of grass. In the Wichita area, Fescue is a popular choice, or for a low maintenance native grass, you might consider Bermuda grass. Learn more about grass that grows well in Kansas here.
After you know what type of grass you’re planting, you’ll want to loosen the soil to ensure air, water and nutrients can properly flow through the turf after the seed is in the ground. Compacted soil will make it difficult for new seed to grow.
A Tiller is the best tool to loosen the soil quickly and evenly. After tilling you can rake the soil level. If you’re over seeding or working with a smaller area, a Core Aerator is a useful tool that will remove small plugs of soil from your lawn, allowing water and oxygen to reach grass roots. Aeration is a process that should be done periodically, even on established lawns.
After the soil is prepared, you may want to apply a starter fertilizer prior to planting. The type and amount will depend on the pH levels from your soil test.
Plant the New Grass Seed
Next, it’s time to plant the seed. Watch the weather and try to plant when there is no rain in the forecast for the next several days, and ideally on a day with light wind. This will help keep the seed in place.
Use a broadcast or drop spreader to evenly distribute the seed on your lawn. It’s important the seed be distributed properly so you end up with good grass coverage. Areas with too much seed can lead to bare spots, as the seeds can’t get adequate water.
After putting the seed down, you can apply a very thin layer of soil on top of the seed. Lightly rake the new dirt to cover the seeds. This will help ensure the seeds make contact with the soil.
Watering the New Seed
After you’ve planted your new grass, you’ll want to be sure to water properly. In Kansas, this means making sure the soil is moist all of the time, to a depth of about two inches. Don’t over water, the ground should not have pools or be overly soggy, just make sure it doesn’t dry out.
You’ll likely need to water for 5-10 minutes at a time, 3-6 times per day starting off. You can reduce the frequency as the need seed begins to grow. Keep a close eye on the soil and make sure it is always moist the first couple of months after planting. Adjust accordingly for rain.
Mowing the New Lawn
Don’t mow the lawn until it’s about three inches high. Be sure to check the recommendations for your type of grass before mowing. When you do mow, use the highest setting on your mower the first couple of times. Then adjust based on the grass type. Cutting too short can weaken the young blades, and promote weed growth.
After about two months you should have a lush, green lawn. You can begin a regular maintenance plan at this point, including fertilizer.
From start to finish it takes 6-8 weeks to plant and prepare a new lawn. If you’d rather have a professional plant or overseed your, give us a call for a free estimate: