A quality mixture of lawn seeds is only a half of a success story of a healthy and beautiful lawn. For a lawn to last, correct preparation of the soil, regular watering and other works are important. Here is some advice from the agronomists of Latvijas Šķirnes Sēklas for obtaining your dream lawn.
Step 1. Correct preparation of soil
- Before creating the lawn it is advisable to determine the agrochemical features of the soil -- acidity, amount of organic substances and provision of main nutrients.
- Depending on the mechanical composition of the soil improvement of the soil is carried out. Coarse gravel and compost or fine bark mulch is added to heavy soil. The added materials are worked into the ground in the depth of 20 cm.
- If there is poor sand soil or debris near the house, the basic ground layer should be levelled first and a layer of at least 20 cm thick fertile black soil, for which it is advisable to conduct agrochemical analysis, should be put on top of it.
- The relief should be assessed: when levelling the soil it is necessary to create at least 1% decline, in order to avoid accumulation of excess moisture.
- The soil should be freed of stones, tree roots, weed root-stocks. It is desirable to fight weeds before sowing the lawn.
- Taking into consideration the results of soil analysis, mineral fertilizers are worked into the soil. Most convenient are complex mineral fertilizers that contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micro elements. Before the creation of the lawn acid soils /pH < 5.5/are mandatorily chalked.
- Then careful planing of the soil is carried out -- tilling the soil before the sow. When walking on it, the feet must not sink in the soil -- only should the pattern of the shoe soles be seen. Finally, the rolled up soil is slightly loosened with a rake (1 – 1.5 cm). With that the soil is ready for sowing.
Step 2. Seed choice
- When creating the lawn and obtaining seeds, it should be known what target it will serve: Today you can acquire mixtures of lawn seeds depending on the type and place of the lawn to be created. For example: a universal seed mixture for the household garden or a specially created seed mixture for shaded places, parks, distinctly sandy soils in coastal regions or places where a bigger load is intended -- sports grounds, school territories, parks, etc.
- A correctly chosen mixture has a very significant role. It is desirable that there are 5-7 mutually compatible grass varieties in the composition of a household lawn seed mixture. The more different types of grass seeds are in the mixture, the more resilient the lawn will be.
- For fertile land in a sunny and wet place it is advisable to sow a mixture that consists of smooth meadow-grass, perennial rye-grass and white clover, whereas for poor soil in a shaded place choose a mixture of smooth meadow-grass and red fescue. In wet, shaded places grass does not grow quickly and dense turf does not form; therefore grass species suitable for extreme growing conditions are added to lawn mixtures.
Step 3. Sowing
- The lawn can be sown from early spring to autumn.
- It is important to leave some seed reserve so that later, if necessary, additional sowing and repairing of the lawn can be done.
- The lawn is sown in calm weather.
- Sowing of the lawn can be done by special equipment or by hand. It is understandable, that for large territories it will be more convenient to use equipment, but a small household territory may be safely sown by hand.
- Sowing by hand, the seeds shall be divided into two similar parts. For the sowing to be thick and even, it is advised to sow in two directions: when going to one end of the field, sowing straight, and when coming back and crossing the field, perpendicularly.
- In the sowing of one square meter of soil on average 20-40 grams of the seeds are used; there is a so-called sowing rate indicated on the packaging that should be observed.
- Unreasonably increased sowing rates will lead to new problems in the lawn: mutual plant competition, potential disease risk, etc.
Step 4. Soil tilling
- After sowing, use a rake and lightly work the seeds into the ground at a depth of 0.5-1 cm (so that the seeds would not remain uncovered on the surface of the soil).
- Then carry out the soil tilling. For small territories a simple method is used: tie small boards to the feet and walk with them on the sown seed. In shops you can also buy special rolls in which you pour sand or water and roll over the territory.
Step 5. Watering
- For seeds to sprout in dry weather, it is necessary to evenly water the sown territory (desirably in the morning and evening).
- It is important that water is finely sprayed, not allowing for the formation of puddles and the uncovering of the seeds. The soil should be evenly wet, but not over-watered.
- For immediate watering of the lawn, water from a boring is not suitable -- water from natural water-reservoirs is more suitable.
Step 6. Wait and enjoy the result.
- Taking into consideration the herbaceous species included in the lawn mixture, sprouting may take from 7 to 21 days.
- Weed sprouting before the lawn’s sprouting is even a desirable occurrence, as it indicates that the soil is alive. Annual weeds (goosefoots, shepherd’s purse etc.) will disappear when the lawn is mowed. Perennial weeds (knot-grass, thistles, dandelions, plantains, ground-elders) will also mostly disappear by intensive weeding and by mowing the lawn.
- When the lawn reaches about 2-3 cm height, check the whole area and renew the bare places by repeating Steps 3-4 as needed.
- In the first year after sowing, the lawn should be given particular care; it should be monitored so that no excessive load occurs. Within a couple of months a small turf should form and the lawn should start looking well.
Step 7. First-Time mowing
- The lawn is mown for the first time when it has reached the height of 8-12 cm, when there are “wavelets” running on the lawn on a windy day. At the beginning it should be mown higher than the planned mowing height indicated on the lawn seed packaging, in order to ensure normal development of the lawn and the forming of tillering sprouts.
- If you plant a lawn, you should be ready for regular mowing. A couple of times per month will not be enough for fine, decorative, or sports lawns. At minimum, the lawn should be mowed once a week, if the time left for mowing is only during weekends. However, to have a really beautiful lawn, it should be mown once every 3-4 days. Then there will be the effect!