Seed soon for nice lawnsI hear many concerns regarding lawn establishment. Frustrated homeowners want a nice lawn. With the short growing season in North Dakota, I do not blame them. I have had struggles with establishing my own lawn.
By: Lance Brower, NDSU extension service, The Jamestown Sun
I hear many concerns regarding lawn establishment. Frustrated homeowners want a nice lawn. With the short growing season in North Dakota, I do not blame them. I have had struggles with establishing my own lawn.
The ideal time for seeding is between Aug. 15 and Sept.15. This is the best time because:
* Soil temperature is warm, resulting in quick germination
* Weed competition is reduced
* Cooler fall temperatures result in less stress on seedling growth
* Precipitation patterns are more dependable
Beyond the end of September, seeding should be held off until the end of October. This is considered dormant seeding, meaning that emergence will not take place until the following spring.
The major cause of poor-looking lawns is improper site preparation. Often, the lawn was established over a combination of stone, construction debris, and noxious perennial grasses and weeds, such as quack grass and thistle. If the lawn is more than 50 percent infested with undesirable grasses and broadleaf weeds, you should apply a treatment with a nonselective herbicide, such as Roundup (Glyphosate) to kill everything via systemic action.
To be successful you usually need two applications of Roundup. Allow the vegetation to grow to the point of mowing and then apply the Roundup. Hiring a lawn care professional to do this is even better.
Everything should be brown in about a week or two. If quack grass or other deep rooted perennials were present, some re-growth likely will show up in another week or so. When it does, another application of Roundup is in order. Wait another seven days for the kill to be complete.
Whether to till depends on the finished grade contours and soil condition. If the surface undulations are sharp and severe, and the soil is a hodgepodge of stones, subsoil, little topsoil and construction debris, then till. This will result in the need for debris cleanup, re-grading and finish grading with imported topsoil. If the problem was confined to undesirable weedy growth, then don’t till. Simply scalp mow the dead vegetation, collect the clippings and scarify the surface with a power rake for seedling establishment. The final result should be a firm surface without depressions or rough areas. If the soil was tilled, a rolling with a half-filled ballast roller likely will be a necessity.
(Lance Brower is the community, leadership, and economic development extension agent, Stutsman County office, NDSU Extension Service. Contact him at 252-9030 or email email@example.com.)