Over the years working for the number 1 rated landscaping company in Madison WI, we have learned that here is no doubt that by far the most favorable time to sow a new lawn is early fall. Then the soil is still warm enough to stimulate growth, and the grasses make good roots before being called upon to face the rigors of winter. A great advantage of fall sowing is that the young plants do not have to compete with as many different kinds of seedling weeds.
Warm-weather weeds, such as crabgrass, do not germinate then. Another great advantage is that the grasses are established and ready to grow in the earliest spring. They gain a great start on spring-sown grasses and, incidentally, on weeds that begin their natural period of growth in spring. And, of course, there is usually ample time to prepare the ground for a fall sown lawn, whereas in spring the season is so rushed that all too often preparatory work must be Skimped.
Don’t misunderstand me it is quite possible to get a good lawn care from a spring sowing. But the care and attention needed to do so are greater than from a fall sowing. Two special problems that must be faced are the rapid growth of weeds and the need for more abundant watering during dry periods throughout the first summer, this latter because the roots have not penetrated as deeply as those of grasses sown the previous fall. Weeds are likely to be especially abundant if such plants flourished in the topsoil the previous year, and there is really no practical way of getting rid of them in spring before the lawn grass is sown. In preparation for fall sowing, a few weeks of repeated shallow cultivation before the grass seed is sown will clear the surface soil of most weeds.
The Right Way To Sow Grass Seed In Dane County
Let’s suppose that your seed bed is in perfect condition and the seed is at hand. Now comes the business of sowing. Choose a calm day. It is impossible to sow evenly if it is breezy. Divide the seed to be sown in half; then, walking in parallel paths in one direction (say north and south), sow one-half of the seed as evenly as you possibly can over the whole area.
When this has been accomplished, sow the remaining seed over the same area, walking in parallel paths at right angles to the original direction. In this way you will get the most even distribution. The sowing may be done by hand or with a mechanical seeder adjusted to let the seed fall at the density required.
If you sow by hand, use this technique. Bend your back. Take a handful of seeds. Hold them with the fingers somewhat cupped and very slightly separated. Then with your hand moving parallel with the ground and about eighteen inches above it, swing your arm freely in a semicircular motion and allow the seeds to scatter in an even, fine cloud from the upper part of the hand. Don’t close your fist so tightly that the seed leaves your hand in a heavy stream from between forefinger and thumb.
To secure even distribution, you may find it advantageous to stretch parallel strings, six to ten feet apart (to suit your convenience) across the ground surface and to walk slowly down the center of each marked-off strip as you sow, scattering the seeds from string to string. With practice you will have no difficulty in perfecting this technique so that you sow evenly. After the seeds have been scattered, rake them into the surface so that they are covered to a depth of half an inch or so. When the whole area is sown, roll it slowly with a medium-weight roller or pat the surface firm with the back of a spade or light wooden tamper.