County Extension Agent

Establishing a new lawn for your home landscape can be a fun and rewarding job that doesnít take a lot of know-how. What better way to be the envy of the neighborhood than to have the best-looking lawn?

But one should recognize that there are essential steps to make certain you do it right the first time to have a quality lawn. Selecting the right lawn grass for your site is the first and most important step.

Lawn grasses do differ and each has its own strengths and weaknesses ó i.e. tolerance to shade, pests, traffic, cold, drought and water needs. As for timing, spring is a great season to install warm season grasses due to relatively mild temperatures, spring rains and you have the entire growing season to grow the lawn in and establish a healthy root system before frost.

Pay close attention to your soil and the manner in which you prepare it for planting. Helpful hints include: remove the debris or old sod layers, control the weeds, take a soil sample for analysis, modify your soil with amendments (if needed), apply the correct fertilizer at the proper rate, cultivate/till your soil, maintain proper surface drainage contours throughout your site, level the soil (smooth) and firm up the seedbed.

Remember that seedbed preparation is essentially the same whether seeding or sodding. Donít be tempted to take shortcuts. Youíll regret it later. Try to establish the lawn the correct way the first time.

A good recommendation is to have at least six inches of good topsoil for your lawn. After you have installed/planted your lawn grass, roll the area and immediately begin to irrigate.

You will need light, frequent irrigations in the beginning to keep the area moist, not saturated. Then as the grass roots penetrate into the soil, you can gradually change to a deeper and more infrequent watering schedule to promote a deep and healthy root system.

Warning: It is not recommended to use pre-emergent or post-emergent herbicides during the grow-in stage, especially when seeding. With sod, pre-emergence and some post-emergent herbicides can be used, but expect some injury or delay in establishment. It is best to achieve excellent weed control prior to planting.

For more information on turf grass varieties and establishment contact the Somervell County Extension Office at 897-2809.