Time to seed your lawn

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Labor Day Holiday is the date used to promote seeding of lawns in the Piedmont area of both North and South Carolina. The typical grass planted is either Tall Fescue or Bluegrass and sometimes they are mixed together. Tall Fescue is the predominant turfgrass planted in lawns and pastures in Polk County.
Most grasses need a minimum of five hours of full sun each day. All turfgrasses except centipede prefer a soil that has a pH level around 6.5. In order to obtain that that soil pH, most homeowners in the Polk County area have to add some lime to their lawn to increase the pH level in our naturally acid soils.
As you all are aware, our native soils are composed of heavy, tight red clay. Therefore sowing grass seed on top of the ground with no soil preparation is generally unsuccessful. Some light tilling, aeration or vigorous raking with a garden rake is critical to the success of your lawn. No soil prep is equal to dead grass by early July.
When seeding bare soil, use six pounds of Tall Fescue seed for every 1,000 sq. ft. Overseeding an existing lawn takes around three pounds of seed for every 1,000 sq. ft. If you determine you prefer a finer textured cool season lawn, then you can use 5 pounds of Tall Fescue, 1 pound of Bluegrass seed, and 1 pound of Fine Fescue.
If you are planting grass in an area that is completely bare, be certain to mulch the bare soil with wheat straw. The amount of straw needed is approximately one bale per 1,000 sq. ft. Always use weed free straw and when mulching leave about 50 percent of the soil surface uncovered. Too much straw will make the new grass seedlings spindly and weak
Keep in mind that watering is critical the first 10 to 14 days unless we have natural rainfall. Short waterings daily during those two weeks helps keep the top inch of the soil from dying out.
Knowing what your soil pH is naturally depends on you. Soil test boxes and forms are located at the County Extension Center in Columbus. Currently the samples are being processed in five working days. The soil-testing program is still free (until Dec. 1) to North Carolina residents. All test results are posted online and the Polk County Extension staff can explain the soil test results.
For specific information on lawns, contact the Polk County Master Gardeners 9 a.m. – noon, Monday through Friday at 828-894-8218.

-article submitted
by Sarah Gottfried

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