Seeding your new lawn
If you have chosen this method there are a few things to consider, what will the lawn be used for, is there a lot of shade, is the lawn free draining etc. It is pointless sowing a lawn with ryegrass if you want a luxury lawn. Similarly if you sow a lawn with bents & fescues and it gets a lot of wear it will perform badly. Some suitable mixtures for different types of lawn are as follows.
80% Chewings fescue
20% Browntop bent
This type of seed mixture is used on golf and bowling greens and will withstand very close mowing. However this type of lawn will require more maintenance than a utility lawn to keep it in good condition. It also requires a relatively free draining soil as fescues don't perform well in wet soils.
30% Slender creeping red fescue
30% Strong creeping red fescue
30% Chewings fescue
20% Browntop bent
Utility Lawn with Ryegrass
30% Perennial ryegrass (Dwarf)
20% Slender creeping red fescue
20% Strong creeping red fescue
20% Chewings fescue
10% Browntop bent
The two above mixes are suitable for good quality utility lawns, one with and one without ryegrass. However there are some very fine leaved dwarf rye grasses on the market these days which resemble fescues. Go for the ryegrass mix if your lawn will receive a lot of wear. Both mixtures can be mown as low as 8mm.
45% Tufted hair grass
35% Strong creeping red fescue
20% Hard fescue
This mixture will perform well on shaded and free draining lawns and will tolerate relatively close mowing down to 10mm.
Hard Wearing Lawn
60% Perennial ryegrass
20% Smooth stalked meadow grass
20% Strong creeping red fescue
A very hard wearing mixture with good drought tolerance but can only be mown down to 15mm. If you require a closer mown lawn consider the utility lawn mix with ryegrass.
These mixtures are not set in stone, they are only a suggestion of what will perform well for different situations. For more advice consult you local garden center or supplier on what is suitable for your situation. It is also worth noting that all grasses have different cultivar's, each with there own performance characteristics. Therefore it is important to seek the correct advice before hand. For more information on seed mixtures go to our choosing grass seed mixtures page.
Sowing the seed
Before sowing the seed it is important to choose the right day. The ideal time for sowing seed is late August - early September. Sowing seed in April is acceptable but during late summer the ground will be warmer which will help with germination and establishment. There is also less chance of a drought during the late summer.
It is important that the ground conditions are relatively dry when you sow the seed, if the soil is sticking to your footwear it is too wet for sowing seed. Also avoid sowing the seed during windy conditions as this can affect the accuracy or the sowing rates.
Follow the manufactures sowing rates, this is usually 25 - 35 per square metre. Apply 1/2 the rate in one direction then do the same again at a right angle (90 degrees) to first application walking up and down the site. For a more accurate application you can divide the area into more manageable sections, weigh out the correct amount of seed and do each area separately.
Once the seed has been sown and lightly raked, water it if necessary, the soil only needs to be moist, be careful not to over water the seeded area.
The seed should germinate in about 10 - 14 days, again water as necessary with a fine spray just keeping the soil moist.
Once the grass has reached about 5 - 6 cm it can be topped with the mower, don't remove more than 1/3rd of the leaf at any one time. Use a rotary mower and make sure that you remove the clippings. It is also very important to make sure that the mower blades are sharp.
A light rolling at this stage will benefit your new lawn it will firm up the surface and it will also encourage the grass to tiller (produce side shoots).
If your lawn was sown in the late summer don't shave the lawn to short going into the winter, keep the mower at a sensible height of cut.
Damping off disease can be a problem if you lawn was sown in the late summer. To help discourage this disease sow at the correct rate (not too heavy), make sure the lawn drains well, don't over feed your lawn, remove any heavy dews and box off the clippings each time you mow.
If your new lawn was sown in the spring time weeds may be a problem. However chances are that many of the weeds will disappear with regular mowing as they won't tolerate low cutting heights. Any turf weeds can be hand weeded or treated with a selective weed killer later in the season when the lawn has had time to establish.
Again if your lawn was sown in spring time, it will need a balanced feeding program throughout the growing season. Use a fertiliser containing a high percentage on Nitrogen. If you use a granular fertiliser avoid applying during hot days, however make sure the grass is dry before applying, and water in thoroughly after application. If using a liquid follower the manufacturers recommendations.