SITE PREPARATION Many lawns are poor because the site was not prepared properly before establishment. Undesirable grasses such as Quack grass, Tall Fescue and Orchard grass, to name a few
should be controlled before grading the lawn. Roundup applied to growing grass will eliminate undesirable perennial grasses. Two applications may be needed to control deep rooted perennial grasses. These undesirable grasses can not be killed in the lawn with out killing desirable lawn grasses once the lawn has been established.
GRADING There are two grading operations that should be done, pre-grading and finish grading. Pre-grading should be done before the topsoil and finish grade so that the sub-grade or
subsoil is graded in a uniform manner
and leaving enough space for approx. 4” of topsoil or more. The pre-grade should also establish drainage away from the foundation and swales to carry water away. Finish grading consists of installing and grading the topsoil to bring the grade up to finish elevation, but still maintaining positive drainage. This process is best done with a bulldozer. Warstler Bros. Landscaping, Inc. (WBL) can take care of the grading, but the operation is usually done by the builder or developer.
TOPSOIL Topsoil should be a minimum of 3 to 4” thick. We prefer to use screened soil as all the large debris is removed and you’re getting a full yard of useable soil. Topsoil can be the most expensive
part of a lawn, as it takes approx. 13 yards per thousand square feet at a 4” depth. This is an investment in the foundation of your lawn and can help minimize future maintenance requirements.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WBL recommends that if you are not going to put any foundation or island plantings in at this time, but are thinking about it in the future, that you lay out and add additional
topsoil or soil amendments and mulch those beds at this time. This will save future labor cost and time of having to remove sod to establish the beds and possible damage to your new lawn. Also this will allow you to add plants at your leisure as your beds will already be in place. It is also a good idea to put any large trees in at this time as it is less expensive to install them before the lawn is established and we are already on site.
INSTALLATION After the topsoil has been installed and finish graded properly the installation process can begin. If the topsoil is compacted or crusted, we will first mechanically loosen the soil to a depth of 3” to 4”. Edges along hard surfaces such as driveways and sidewalk will be rototilled and hand raked. In large open areas we will mechanically or manually remove debris such as stone and roots larger than 1 ½” in diameter or length from the surface using a rock hound or hand raking so the surface is smooth and free of undulations. Seed will be applied at the recommended rate for the type of mix being used with a drop spreader or rotary spreader. Next a starter fertilizer will be applied to hasten lawn establishment and both the seed and fertilizer will be raked in. Next straw will be spread over the surface with a straw blower or by hand in areas we can not reach or small areas to ensure optimum moisture conditions and reduce erosion.
CLEAN UP All hard surfaces such as sidewalks, driveways, curbs and patios will be swept or blown clean of debris, or if necessary washed off.
GUARANTEE We guarantee that the seed germinates in a uniform manor provided that the following post installation practices are strictly followed. We will not be held liable for damages incurred to
seed or seedlings caused by fertilizer, pesticides, other unauthorized chemical applications, vandalism or acts of god, such as washouts due to heavy rains or straw blowing away due to high winds. Any need for repairs due to this shall be an addition to the contract.
EXPECTATIONS A seeded lawn takes at least one full year to fill in uniformly throughout your yard; and many times two years are needed to develop a thick luxurious lawn.
In the first season, there may be a weed problem, even though quality topsoil was used. Weeds can easily be controlled using a proper fertilization and weed control program. Consider hiring a custom service for this. WBL can provide this service, ask your sales person for further details.
POST INSTALLATION CARE
STRAW Piles of straw caused by wind should be re-spread or removed to prevent smothering the young seedlings. Keeping the straw moist will help prevent this.
WATERING Once grass seed is sown, start watering lightly 2 to 3 times a day to keep seed bed moist to promote germination. Watch closely so you will be aware when it begins to germinate. (Approx. 7 to 10 days for rye grasses.) The most critical time is when the grass blades are so fine they are almost invisible. You must water, very lightly to prevent washing out, 2 to 3 times per day, if possible. Begin as soon as your seed has begun to germinate, and continue watering, as instructed above, for two weeks for rye grass and turf-type tall fescue lawns; three weeks for fine and hard fescue mixes; and four weeks for good blue grass establishments. Blue grasses germinate last, taking about three weeks. These continuous, light waterings will allow your fescues and bluegrasses to begin their germination without washing the seed and soil away. After this germination period, water lightly, approximately every other day, until you have mowed four times.
Even after your new lawn is well on its way, watering should be continued, as it is essential for a healthy lawn with vigorous, deep root growth. Adequate watering should be part of your regular lawn maintenance program throughout the growing season. Adequate water can be defined as: enough water to maintain some moisture in the soil at a depth of 2 to 4 inches. You may want to consider an automatic sprinkler system.
One inch of water per week (including rainfall and additional water) should be satisfactory under most conditions. (See diagram) During drought periods (two weeks or longer with little or no rainfall) additional watering should take place. More water than usual is also essential for sandy soils, gravelly soils, or full sun areas on south or west facing slopes.
The time of day when you water is also important. Most authorities state that early morning or evening watering is best to promote deep root growth and vigorous turf. However, The Ohio Landscapers Association urges homeowners to avoid very late evening waterings, as they can lead to fungus problems. Watering in the evening or late afternoon should be done early enough to allow the grass blades to dry off before nightfall. On windless, humid days, when pattern interruption and rapid evaporation is not a worry (we conservationists do worry), it is best to thoroughly water in the hottest part of the day.
Follow this diagram to measure the proper amount of water needed to water your lawn. Place large tin cans on the lawn when you water. When the cans contain 1” of water, you have saturated the soil adequately.
MOWING Newly seeded lawns (or areas that have been
re-seeded) should be allowed to grow to 3 ½” before the first mowing. At that time, it should be cut to 3 inches and the clippings should be picked up if they are too heavy.
Subsequent mowing on new lawns, and regular mowing on established lawns, should be done often enough so that no more than 1/3 of the total height is removed at one time (1/3 of the grass blade.) If this practice is followed on established lawns, clippings can be left on the lawn. However, if the grass is over 4 inches high when mowing time arrives, pick up excess clippings as these tend to smother and mat-down the lawn. Mowing before grass gets tall also keeps the grass texture finer. When mowing grass over 4 to 5 inches tall, the stalks will turn brown and feel stiff to walk on.
Mowing too short is a common cause of poor, unhealthy lawns. In the summer, mow at the top setting, or about 3 to 3 ½ inches. In the spring and fall, mow as short as 2 to 2 ½ inches on smooth lawns. Make sure that you sharpen your mower blade before beginning and at least once a month there after.
FERTILIZATION An application of 1.0 pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet 3 to 5 weeks after seeding will improve establishment using a formulation like 15-10-5 or 20-10-10. The lawn should be irrigated immediately following the nitrogen application.
If you plan to do your own fertilization, we recommend 3 to 4 applications of a similar formulation per year. If you use our lawn care service this is our recommended schedule.
Early Spring: Pre-emergent and Broad Leaf Weed control: crab grass and grassy weed control
Late May: Fertilizer plus insecticides.
Early July: Straight Fertilizer
Late August: Fertilizer plus insecticides.
Late October: Straight Fertilizer
WEED CONTROL Most weeds you see in your new lawn will die after a few mowings but there are a number of weeds which can be a problem and make a lawn unattractive. Although many require specific chemical treatment, some general rules can be followed.
After weeds have begun to emerge in the spring, apply a BROADLEAF HERBICIDE to all established turf areas, following the manufacturer’s directions. Do not allow herbicides to drift onto shrubs or neighbors’ plantings. Although the use of weed killers is not recommended on new lawns (mowed less than 4 times), some special herbicides for young turf can be safely used, if carefully applied.
Crabgrass can be eliminated with certain herbicides, post-emergent and pre-emergent in the spring.
*Please note: Newly seeded lawns are fragile and easily burned with chemicals and fertilizers. We strongly suggest you call your contractor or a lawn care company which specializes in chemical lawn care to take care of your new lawn’s chemical needs for at least the first year. Insect and fungus control are rarely needed in the first year of a new lawn.
CORE AERATION Core aeration of your lawn, (removal of soil plugs to allow better water penetration and soil-air exchange) is recommended as part of your annual lawn maintenance program, and can be done the first season after your new lawn’s installation.