Lawn Care Landscaping Madison WI

How To Make & Keep A Lawn In Madison WI

New Lawns from Seed

As Madison Wisconsin’s best Landscaping Company we found that the simplest, least costly and most usual method of starting new lawns, at least in the northern United States and Canada, is from seeds. In the South plugging and sprigging are frequently employed, and everywhere laying sod to produce “instant lawns” is done. But the last method, although effective, is apt to be too costly for the average home garden budget, and so seed sowing is generally favored.

Kinds Of Grass Seed

It is quite possible to make a lawn of one kind of grass. You will find that some people advocate lawns made exclusively of creeping bent, of Merion bluegrass and of other special types. When perfectly kept, such greenswards can be magnificent, but they need considerable upkeep and demand special knowledge on the part of their caretakers. In a one-grass lawn any other grass is a weed and must be eliminated (not always an easy task). Should a disease or insect to which the particular grass is especially susceptible gain a hold, you have real trouble on your hands. The whole lawn is likely to be affected quickly, perhaps with disastrous results. In a lawn composed of several kinds of grasses the less susceptible make a brave stand against the enemy and hold out; their weaker relatives succumb.

Except for very special purposes (making a putting green, for example) it is always better to sow a grass seed mixture than just one kind. In a way it is insurance. Different grasses, even different varieties of the same kind, prefer different soil conditions, and often these preferences are for minor variations not easy to recognize by simple soil tests. If you sow several kinds in mixture, those best adapted to your soil flourish; the others expire or become minor elements in the turf. It often happens that soil and other environmental conditions, such as shade and moisture, vary from place to place in the same lawn.

By sowing a mixture of grasses, you provide for the varying needs of these different situations. There are other advantages. In most cases a mixture gives more uniform greenery throughout the season than a single type of grass, because of seasonal growth and temperature preferences. Bluegrasses thrive in the cool weather of spring and fall and go partially dormant during hot weather. 

Bent grasses generally make their best growth in hot weather. In dry weather fescues prosper better than other grasses. There are grasses more resistant to being walked upon than others. There are grasses valuable because they germinate and grow quickly, act as “nurses” to the slower-to-get-going kinds and then gradually die out. In the meantime they prevent erosion and help to keep weeds out. Almost surely a mixture of grass seeds is your best bet when making a new lawn.

The Grass Seed Mixture To Choose

It is unusual and unnecessary for homeowners to buy different sorts of grass seeds separately and mix them. Commercial mixtures, if wisely selected, are perfectly satisfactory. In all regions such mixtures, compounded with special thought given to local soils and climates, are available. All that is really necessary is to choose one best adapted to your own garden – for sun or shade, for example, or for particularly dry soils. Here at Landscaping Madison WI we walk you through the important steps of acquiring that new lawn.

The most important point to remember is to avoid cheap mixtures. The cost of the seed is but a small proportion of the cost of making a new lawn. It is much better to sow a high- priced mixture thinly than a cheap mixture too thickly (as most beginners do). As a matter of fact, because cheaper mixtures contain bigger proportions of grasses with large seeds, you will probably get as many potential grass plants in a dollar’s worth of an expensive mixture as in a dollar’s worth of a cheap one.

Cheap mixtures are largely composed of the less permanent grasses, the kinds least costly for the seedsmen or packager to buy. It has to be that way. Good seeds of desirable varieties are comparatively expensive. They cannot be sold to compete with cheaper types. Percentages count, and even cheap seed mixtures usually contain some bluegrass and perhaps some bents and fescues. The point is, how do the good seeds compare in proportion to rye-grass, timothy and other quick growers?

A total of more than 30 percent of temporary grasses is usually the maximum permissible in satisfactory lawn seed mixtures, although the distinguished turf specialist Dr. Howard B. Sprague recommends a “standard mixture for soils of average to good fertility and sunny exposure” that includes 40 percent temporary grasses. This mixture consists of 45 percent Kentucky bluegrass, 10 percent colonial bentgrass, 25 percent redtop, 5 percent white clover and 15 percent perennial ryegrass.

In many states the law requires that lawn seed mixtures be labeled with the names and percentages of the grasses they contain and also the percentages of germination that may be expected. These are protections for the buyer. Study them carefully when comparing prices.

In most parts of the United States, everywhere except the subtropical South, Kentucky blue-grass (Merion bluegrass is a variety of it) should be the foundation of mixed-seed lawns in sunny or predominantly sunny locations. It is generally the most satisfactory and perma-nent of general purpose lawn grass everywhere except where considerable shade exists. For shaded lawns Chewings fescue and Illahee fescue are the real standbys. Mixtures should contain adequate amounts of these basic grasses to ensure good stands. Beware, especially of mixtures that are advertised and offered on the basis of “quick” results. They usually contain much too high proportions of rye-grass, timothy and other quick growers of a temporary nature.


Contact Landscaping Madison WI today for that new green lawn care.

Lawn Care Landscaping Madison WI