For basic looks, fescue grass is my favorite. It tolerates a bit of shade and it stays green all year. Fescue grass has traditionally been planted from seed but for several years it has been available as sod. Paige and I had discussed the kind of grass that we wanted in her back yard and in September, I told her that if we did a really good job of planting seed we would save quite a bit of money over the cost of sod installation. She started spraying out all of the unwanted plant material in the area the first of September. I showed up to do the job on September 24. Here are the ten steps to a good grass planting job:
1. Run a tiller over the area and rake up the dead stuff and trash. The tilling should only be an inch or two deep but it should be thorough and pulverize the soil.
2. We like to use a leaf rake to get up all of the unwanted trash. If applied carefully, a leaf rake will also level the soil and leave it ready for seed. A loose surface is preferred. Use a heavy yard rake for filling holes or moving high spots.
3. The area is ready for seed. The raking leaves a corduroy texture. The seeds can fall into the low parts.
4. There is a difference between “turf-type fescue” and pasture fescue seeds. Several brand names are available but what you want for the yard is “tall turf-type fescue”. It is, of course, more expensive, but well worth the extra money. Rebel is a good brand that I’ve used for a number of years.
5. I keep buying these seed spreaders and they keep messing up on me. I can’t find the old bag type that had a neck strap. I guess they don’t make them any more. Anyway, I’ll try the seed spreader.
6. Yep. Just as I figured, the seed spreader jammed. I finished and enhanced the seed spreading by throwing the seed out with a careful side-armed movement. I’m beginning to think that hand spreading gives you a better job, anyhow. Here is a picture of the seed on the ground. It’s applied a bit on the heavy side but I like it that way. A lighter application would suffice. This is also time to spread the fertilizer lightly over the area.
7. I feel like this is a most important step. We run a rake over the ground and seed which mixes the upper layer of soil with the seed. This step requires a light touch.
8. Running a roller over the seed bed eliminates air pockets and bonds the seed and soil mixture. This step could probably be eliminated but I think it is important. It’s a feeling I get. I generally follow those feelings.
9. Wheat straw. I repeat, Wheat straw—not hay—is applied. This will insulate the area, help to retain moisture, and minimize erosion.
10. Now all you add is water. The soil should be kept moist–not wet. It helps the seed to germinate if you go out on the patio every evening and “stare it up.” To do this, get a nice drink, maybe some cheese crackers, and watch the seed bed for a while.
Thanks for visiting John the Plant Man.
You may be interested in another article on choosing the right fertilizer. Click here.
As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?