Tag Archives: Grass Seed

When growing grass, soil preparation is EVERYTHING!

Whenever repairing or installing a new lawn from seed or sod, one very important aspect of the planting process is soil preparation.  Besides using premium fresh site-specific grass seed or sod, avoiding the hot and dry season (if possible) and ensuring routine irrigation, the better the initial soil preparation is, the better the outcome will most certainly be.

Here are a few soil preparation tips that will ensure success when planting grass from seed and/or sod.

GRASS SEED

Before planting grass seed over an existing weakened stand of grass, be sure to core aerate first to open the existing soil, relieve compaction and allow for improved seed-to-soil contact.  Better yet, mechanically power rake the lawn first (spring or fall preferred) to scarify the soil surface and to remove debris and excess thatch.  Once dethatched, core aerate (single or multiple passes ok) then spread grass seed over prepared surface by walk behind drop/broadcast spreader or plant seed directly into soil via mechanical slit-seeder.

If planting grass seed across bare ground be sure to cultivate/roto-till the existing soil first.  Before adding any/all amendments, starter fertilizer or additional top soil, for large open widespread areas, use a front or rear tine tiller to cultivate the soil to a depth of 2″-4″ first.  For small spot-repair areas use a steel rake, cultivator or even a Garden Weasel to cultivate the soil manually.  Once all bare soil areas have been cultivated and soil compaction has been broken, rake loosened soil to level and grade adequately across site to ensure proper drainage, etc..

Add pulverized top soil (as/if needed) to further improve/elevate areas targeted for eventual seed planting to complete.

SOD

Assuming that we are starting with a bare ground situation where all existing unwanted grass has either been manually, mechanically or chemically removed prior to new sod installation, bare compacted soil needs to be adequately cultivated before new sod can be successfully grown.  Again, just like when planting grass seed across large open areas, roto-tilling is the preferred method of soil preparation.

Once all bare soil areas have been roto-tilled/cultivated (depth of 2″-4″ ideal), add amendments, fertilizer or additional pulverized top soil to prepare the site for new sod installation.

Take your time, be thorough in your soil preparation and you will have a beautiful new lawn in no time!

Please be sure to consider Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for your next grass planting project.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have and help any way we can.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Weeds are growing in my newly seeded lawn …….. what to do?

When planting a new lawn from seed (in particular), soil is normally added, amended, cultivated and/or aerated to provide optimum seed-growing conditions.  Lightly cultivated soil is critical for new grass seed germination and eventual plant/root development, but also happens to be the “open door” needed for any/all competing nearby weed seed to flourish.

Here are a few precautions that can be taken to lessen the possibility of unwanted weed growth within your improved soil/new lawn area.

1). If attempting to grow grass within an area that already has a large population of weeds (broadleaf, grassy or grass-like weeds) consider applying a selective or non-selective herbicide to all unwanted growing vegetation a few weeks before soil preparation/seed planting takes place to completely eliminate the problematic weeds found (roots and all).

2). Plant grass seed in late summer/early fall to avoid increased spring season weed seed competition.

3). Use a premium blend of site-specific grass seed that contains 0% weed/noxious weed seed.

4). Consider mechanical slit-seeding (when existing site and soil conditions allow) to plant new grass seed directly into the soil through an existing stand of turf grass.

5). When planting grass seed in large lightly cultivated soil areas, consider covering all newly planted areas with seed germination blanket to lessen the exposure to wind-blown weed seed, feeding birds, etc..

If all precautions were taken, but a few problematic broadleaf weeds still happened to grow within your newly seeded areas, no problem at all.  Here are a few simple steps that can be taken to eradicate the unwanted weeds found growing in your prized new lawn.  If a small area, just manually pull any/all weeds found as they appear.  If a larger area, spot treat the visible broadleaf weed foliage with a selective liquid herbicide to completely eliminate the weed (root and all).  As lawn density builds over time, weed competition will become less problematic due to less bare soil exposure.

Just remember, planting or repairing a lawn from seed is not a quick proposition and without it’s fair share of short term challenges (maintenance, irrigation, environmental conditions, etc.).  However, it is our continued opinion that planting a site specific lawn from premium disease resistant grass seed is the very best way to grow a healthy stand of turf grass that will eventually prove worth the wait.  Please consider Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. for your next lawn improvement project.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Mechanical Slit-Seeding = Best Way to Rebuild a Thinning Lawn

Slit-seeding is the mechanical process of planting premium site-specific grass seed through an existing stand of turfgrass, directly into the soil.

Unlike general over-seeding where a spreader is normally used to simply broadcast seed over a lawn (hoping grass seed will eventually reach soil to begin the germination process), mechanical slit-seeding ensures critical seed-to-soil contact by slicing through the lawn and planting the seed directly into the soil.  Mechanical slit-seeding is best performed in late summer/early fall, but can be completed in the spring as long as NO crabgrass prevention herbicides are used (pre/post slit-seeding).  For even better results, core aerate the targeted lawn areas before slit-seeding and apply a granular seed starter fertilizer (high in phosphorus) shortly after.  While slit-seeding may not be the most efficient or cost-effective way to plant an entirely new lawn from bare soil, the process really excels when rebuilding an existing lawn that has declined from such issues as disease, heavy physical use, drought, etc..

Mechanical slit-seeding provides excellent seed germination rates and should be incorporated into any professional long-term lawn improvement program.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn care or mechanical slit-seeding questions you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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No Chicago area snow cover means NO SNOW MOLD for your lawn…… YES!!

March 20, 2015 – Snow Mold Found Within Lawn Area Located Between Two Residential Driveways

Since we have had absolutely no snow covering the ground over the past few winter months, experienced a fairly steady rise in soil temperatures recently and have had only occasional rainfall, you can be fairly certain that your Chicago area lawn will have little chance of suffering through a gray snow mold outbreak for this 2017 spring season.

Early Spring of 2012 – Shade Prone Lawn Area Last to Melt Snow

Gray snow mold is an early spring season turfgrass disease that usually occurs shortly after a cold and snowy winter. Normally begins when soil temperatures warm well before any/all lingering snow cover melts away.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or assistance you may need for this 2017 growing season and beyond.  Thank you for visiting!

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Seed Germination Blanket ………… NEVER plant a new lawn from seed without it!!

pacocha-installing-seed-germination-blanketWhenever starting a new lawn from seed, it is highly recommended to cover all improved bare soil/seed planted areas with germination blanket for best results.  Seed germination blanket is a bio-degradable, wood fiber stranded mat-like material that is sold by the roll (4′ or 8′ wide x 150’+/- long) and often times includes nylon netting for strength.  Use germination blanket to cover any/all large seed planted bare soil areas.pacocha-stapling-seed-germination-blanket-to-soil  For smaller lawn repairs (+/- 10 square feet), a simple peat moss covering is still preferred.

Here are a few reasons why you should use seed germination blanket when planting a new lawn from seed.

  • Protect newly planted seed from blowing wind, feeding birds and even heavy rain down pours.pacocha-rear-of-back-yard-lawn-repair-seed-germination-blanket
  • Steel staples (4″ to 6″ long) provide secure attachment of blanket to soil below.
  • Reduce air-borne weed seed from ever contacting soil.
  • Great soil erosion protection (prior to grass establishment in particular).
  • Achieve fantastic seed germination rates!
  • Clean overall appearance.
  • New grass grows directly through blanket covering, no need to remove.
  • Retains water to further aid in seed germination/plant root development.
  • Unwanted debris can be easily blown off blanket covering with little chance of seed disturbance.

pacocha-fitting-seed-germination-blanket

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or if there is anything we can do to be of additional help.  Thank you for visiting!

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Tree and stump recently removed? Heaping pile of wood chips left atop your lawn? ……….. Repair your lawn now by following these few simple steps!

If you recently had a tree removed from your property and it’s stump ground down, this information may prove beneficial to you.  Please find a few steps listed below that will ensure a successful lawn repair.

1). Be sure that any/all tree stump and large roots (above and below grade) get mechanically ground out via stump grinder.  Usually a stump grinding depth of 12″+/- Pacocha - Tree Stumps Removed 1(below final grade) is adequate to eventually grow grass atop area.

2). Remove any/all wood chips and other woody root material from the area.  Any/all excess wood chips possibly left in the hole (strongly discouraged by the way) will decompose over time and will steal much needed nitrogen from the grass plants.  Excess wood chips and other root material left will also increase the chance of settling in the area.

3). Remove any/all elevated soil and grass that may exist around the previous stump area.  The goal will be to level the entire area (as needed) to a satisfactory degree before new Pacocha - Tree Stump Removed 3grass is planted.  A somewhat flat soil grade is worth the extra effort now to ensure less mower scalping of elevated lawn areas and will eliminate the “pitcher’s mound effect” so often found on sub-par lawn repairs made across previous tree/stump areas.

4). Begin to add soil to fill the hole.  Try to compact the soil (every 2″-4″ added) to slow down short term settling within the area.  Regardless, expect slight soil settling within the area over the first few years.  Additional soil may need to be added to fill in low spaces that form over time.  The majority of soil settling takes place in the first 5 years +/- following a tree/stump removal.Pacocha - Tree Stump Removed 2

5). After additional soil has been added and raked to meet the surrounding grade, plant premium grass seed, apply a granular starter fertilizer and cover with either peat moss or seed germination blanket to complete the repair.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any questions or service requests you may have.  Thank you for visiting our site and have a great day!

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Oh no…… my lawn has SNOW MOLD!!

Now that the snow has finally melted and warmer temperatures are upon us, many lawns are showing signs of a common fungal disease called snow mold (gray snow mold in particular). Pacocha - Snow Mold 2Snow mold occurs when spring conditions allow warm unfrozen ground that was recently covered by melting snow to activate an existing pathogen.  The issues start when a pathogen is present, spring temperatures are between 30-40 F and the soil/turfgrass is fairly saturated.  Snow mold may be found in lawn areas where drainage and air-movement is poor and especially where snow has been piled and/or is slow to melt. Damage can be as minimal as just a few small circular shaped yellow/matted down lawn areas or more widespread (conditions dependent).  As the lawn dries and warmer weather moves in the disease becomes dormant until the next opportunity arises (late fall/early spring). Pacocha - Snow Mold 1Damaged lawn areas should be repaired by first raking the problematic areas (very important), add a light layer of topsoil (as/if needed), plant a premium disease resistant grass seed blend and finally cover the repaired lawn areas with a light layer of peat moss to complete.  After the lawn repairs have been completed and soil temperatures warm beyond 50 F your lawn will rebuild its lost density and look as if a problem never existed.

Please be sure to contact Pacocha Landscaping Services, Inc. with any lawn related questions or concerns you may have.  We would be very happy to help!

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