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Establishing a Lawn
Lawns are a major part of the home landscape
Reasons for Establishment Ad beauty to the landscape Used as play areas for sports or for relaxation Provide cover to help control soil erosion
Soil and Grading First consideration is the present condition of the soil
Questions to ask: Has the builder graded off all of the topsoil? Is the slope too steep to establish a lawn and mow it safely? Is drainage adequate?
Grade Builder will establish the rough grade Usually slopes away from foundation Six inches of top soil should be spread over the surface
Grade Topsoil is tilled to loosen and break up clods
Slope General slope for the lawn after the topsoil is spread should not exceed 15% Slopes greater than 15% are unsafe to mow
Slope If a slope of greater than 15% cannot Be avoided, the surface should be planted with plants that do not require mowing such as ground covers.
Drainage Good drainage ensures a balance between air and water in the soil. This balance encourages proper root growth
Establishing proper drainage Install drainage tile about three feet below the surface of the soil to drain the subsoil
Establishing proper drainage Make use of the slope of the land to drain surface water away
Soil Preparation Good loam soil is best for most grasses If loam is not available, increase the organic matter (o.m.)
Soil Preparation Add well rotted sawdust, weed free manure, or peat moss at a rate of 6 cubic feet per 1000 square feet of land
Soil Preparation Work O.M. well into the soil with a rototiller, rake and remove stones Seedbed should be firm and smooth but not have a powder fine surface texture
Fertilizer Soil should be tested to determine the correct amount of fertilizer to apply Complete fertilizer with a high P content is recommended for establishing lawns.
Fertilizer Starter fertilizers are manufactured with high P content Some soil test reports may indicate a need for lime
Lime Changes the pH of the soil by reducing the acidity Can be applied in several forms
Lime Calcium Carbonate Calcium Oxide Calcium Hydroxide
pH If pH of the soil indicates a alkaline soil, sulfur or iron sulfate may be used to lower the pH
pH Ideal pH range for lawns is between 6.0 and 6.5
Spreading Fertilizer Spread in two different directions, half of the recommended amount in one direction and the remainder perpendicular to the first application
Spreading Fertilizer This ensures uniform distribution of the fertilizer May be applied with a spreader or in a liquid form with a garden hose attachment
Starting a Lawn Two ways Seeding Vegetative
Sprigging Sodding Plugging Strip planting
Selecting Seed All lawn grass seed is required by law to have the following information on the label Name – the package must give the correct name of all seeds in the package
Selecting seed Information on where this type of seed grown best Purity – gives the make up of the seed by percent of each type
Selecting Seed Percent germination – this identifies how well the seed will sprout and grow Other crop – percentage of other crop seeds, wheat, barley, orchard grass, and timothy are undesirable
Selecting Seed Inert matter – material that will not grow Seed pieces, sand or dirt Inert ingredients add weight to the package and little else
Selecting Seed Weed Seed – not desirable in lawn mixtures Many weed seeds are difficult to remove because of their size
Selecting Seed Law requires that the manufacturer list the percent of weed seed present in the package
Selecting Seed Noxious Weeds – each state has a listing of noxious weeds Weeds that are difficult to control
Selecting Seed Noxious Weed listings are very specific as to the number and type of seeds per ounce
Selecting Seed Year tested – commercial seed is tested each year for germination results
Selecting Seed Company name and address Lawn specialists should be contacted to determine the best seed mixture for your lawn
Seeding Seed may be spread by hand or with a mechanical seeder similar to a fertilizer spreader Seed is mixed with a carrier such as sand to ensure uniform distribution
Seeding Seeding is done in two directions just as fertilizer application is Lightly cover the seed by hand raking
Seeding Seeds must be covered and in close contact with the soil
Mulching Applying alight covering of weed free clean straw or hay will help hold in moisture and prevent seed from washing or blowing away.
Mulching Straw also helps to hide the seed from birds.
Watering Keep new seedlings moist until well established Once germination begins, seeds must not be allowed to dry out
Watering Avoid saturating the soil as too much moisture can result in a fungal disease called damping off
Vegetative Planting Sprigging, Strip Planting, Plugging and Stolonizing Used for grasses which are difficult to grow from seed or for which seed is not available
Vegetative Zoysia, Bermuda Grass, Centipede Grass, Creeping Bentgrass and Velvet Bentgrass
Vegetative Material must be kept moist until well established During first year light applications of N every two to four weeks helps to speed the spread of new grass.
Sodding Sod consists of grass and grass roots in a thin layer of soil which is removed from the growing area in strips and rolled for transport
Sodding Sod is the most expensive option Ideal for steep slopes or terraces where erosion may be a problem
Sodding is used when the home owner wants a complete, instant lawn
Sodding Sod should not be cut more than one inch thick. Thin sod will knit itself to the soil faster than thick cut sod
Sodding After sod is laid and tamped down or rolled lightly, it is topdressed with a small amount of top soil
Sodding Sod must be kept moist until the roots have grown well into the soil
Strip Sodding may also be used strips of sod 2-4 inches wide are planted one foot apart
Plugging small plugs of soil with grass plants in them are planted in holes evenly spaced throughout the yard
Plugging The close the plugs are planted together the faster the area will fill with grass
Sprigging planting of individual plants, runner, stolons, or cuttings at evenly spaced intervals.
Stolonizing Shredded stolons are spread over the area and topdressed with soil. Used for larger or very specialized areas such as golf course putting greens
Factors Climactic conditions: temperature and available moisture
Geographical regions US is divided into six regions with respect to the best types of grasses South Dakota falls in regions 1 and 4
South Dakota Common grasses for our area include Kentucky Bluegrass Red Fescue
. Colonial Bentgrass Tall Fescue Bermuda Zoysia
. Crested Wheatgrass - SD state grass Buffalograss Blue Grammagrass
Establishing and Maintaining Lawns Competencies
Maintaining the Lawn Applying lime sulfur fertilizer.
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