When choosing to seed your lawn or put sod down there are three considerations the site preparation, care of the new lawn, and grass or sod selection. The major difference between seeding and sodding is the amount of time necessary for maturity. Sodding is the transplantation of mature turf. Seeding advantages include more options of grass varieties, less expensive then sod, and their root system develops stronger. The disadvantages of seeding are a longer time for the seed to establish, moisture is needed, the time of seeding is important to consider; late summer to early fall. The advantages of sodding are that it can be placed during any growing season, can be placed in areas prone to erosion or slopes, and is rapidly established and weed-free. The disadvantages of sodding are that it is expensive, and the homeowner has less of a selection over the type of grass.
Before choosing the type of seed desired it is important to think about the location, is there water and shade, the amount of use? Is the lawn high maintenance or low maintenance? For a shady location the best seed mixtures should specify shade tolerance. An option for areas with more wear is a mixture of fifty percent perennial ryegrass and fifty percent Kentucky bluegrass. Low maintenance turf mixtures of fine fescues can offer a durable lawn. The availability of seed mixtures can vary depending on the year, but most varieties such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescues provide durability.
When choosing the right sod for lawns there are fewer varieties to choose from. There can be perennial ryegrass and fescue in a sod mixture.
Preparation of the soil before seeding or laying sod down is important, and will help simplify maintenance in future years. The best type of soil for growing sod is sandy loam, it is mostly sad with a mixture of clay and silt. If there is a soil with heavy clay then you can add organic matter such as peat to allow better water and air movement. If a large amount of fill is needed to level out a space or raise an area high quality topsoil should be used. Organic material such as phosphorus and potassium can be added before sod or seed is laid down, and nitrogen can be added after the lawn has been mowed for the first time.
The best time to seed is in late summer due to favorable conditions for germination and growth, and it gives the seed time to establish before the winter months. Seeding can be done in spring but there are more weeds germinating at this time may reduce the success of the seeds. It should be spread in two steps in perpendicular directions across the site; this will ensure the most uniform coverage. A cultipacker or a roller can be used to ensure good seed-soil contact. Watering the site is important to ensure there is moist soil to a depth of four to six inches. When the seed has germinated, you should begin to water regularly then taper off as it grows and the temperature cools off. It takes about six to eight weeks to have the seed established in the soil, and a full season for the new lawn to be mature and durable to withstand considerable traffic.
The freshness of sod is important and should be cut no more than 24 hours prior to lying down. The soil should be moistened and the sod staggered much like laying bricks. When lying on a slope stake each piece of sod into place and will any cracks with soil to prevent the edges from drying. Use a roller with water to smooth the site and ensure the roots of the sod have contact with the soil. Keep the soil moist for a few days and then gradually reduce watering, within two to three months the sod can be treated as an established lawn. Aerate the lawn after establishment in the spring or the fall, so it penetrates the sod and existing soil layer. Once the lawn is established it can provide protection from erosion, runoff, allergen reductions, and cooling effects.
Both sod and seed can be beneficial and add appeal to your landscape, as well as provide protection.
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