Lawn Grass Types & Installation
Seeding – Lawn Installation
Types of Lawn Grasses
Bermudagrass is the warm-season turfgrass species most commonly planted in Oklahoma. It is the best-adapted turf¬grass for full-sun areas due to its excellent heat and drought tolerance during the summer and its sufficient winter hardiness. Zoysia grass is another type of warm-season grass that is rumored to be suitable for a shade grass in Oklahoma, but is very slow to establish and not the best choice.
Cool-season turfgrass species, such as tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass are planted on shaded sites because the warm-season turfgrasses such as bermudagrass, cannot tolerate shade. Fescue seeds are available in three different ways: straight seed, a mix, or a blend. Blends and mixes are mainly recommended in places that there are varying conditions for seed growth. The seed variety that handles that condition will take over that part of the area, while another variety may do better in another area of the yard.
Straight seed, such as Crossfire III Tall Fescue is a dark green, thin bladed fescue that is very drought tolerant and heat resistant. It can handle partial shade, but prefers a little light rather than true dense shade. Rembrandt Tall Fescue is a dark green, medium leaf with high shade, drought, and traffic tolerance. Kentucky 31 Fescue is an older fescue variety that has a proven track record of handling just about any condition. It is a clump grass, lighter green with a wider blade, which makes it less desirable as a lawn grass than Crossfire III or Rembrandt.
Fescue blends contain multiple varieties of fescue seed. The Rebels Fescue Blend is a blend combining the best qualities of three fescue seed varieties.
Fescue mixes are when fescue is mixed with another type of grass, such as bluegrass or rye. TLC Premium Sun & Shade Mix is a blend combining fescue with perennial rye and Kentucky Bluegrass. The mix allows the fescue and ryegrass to adapt to the area it is planted, while the bluegrass has some spreading ability to fill in areas between the other grasses.
Perennial Ryegrass and Annual Ryegrass are also cool-season grasses and can be utilized for overseeding into dormant warm-season turf grasses or for soil stabilization during the fall and spring when a turf cover is rapidly needed. Perennial ryegrass is commonly seeded into an established bermudagrass turf when a fine-textured, green turf cover is desired from October through April. Annual ryegrass is less expensive and is also successfully used for the same purpose, although it provides an inferior quality winter turf. Annual ryegrass is also commonly used for temporary soil stabilization on construction sites that are completed during the fall and winter, when conditions are unfavorable for establishment of warm-season turf grasses.
Installing a Lawn by Seed
Planting times for seeding lawns should be when temperature and moisture conditions favor rapid germination and establishment.
Bermudagrass seed requires warm night temperatures to germinate. Best planting dates are May 15 to August 15.
Fescue and Ryegrass seed is best planted in the fall, September 15 to October 31. The second best time to seed is in March. Fall plantings are superior over spring plantings because there is more time for plant development prior to heat and drought of summer
Preparing the soil before planting is very important in establishing lawns. Rake and remove all rock and debris from the surface. Roto-till, spade or rake the soil to a depth of 2-4 inches. If the soil is heavy clay, spread 30 pounds of Pelletized Gypsum to 1000 square feet of area. Rake to smooth surface. Pack lightly with a lawn roller or with your feet. If overseeding an existing lawn, mow the grass short and removing the grass clippings.
Broadcast the seed in a crisscross pattern to ensure full coverage. Do not cover the seed with soil. You may apply a ¼ to ½” layer of Sphagnum Peat Moss over the seed to assist in keeping the soil moist.
- Seed new lawns of Bermudagrass at the rate of 2 to 3 pounds per 1000 square feet
- Seed new lawns of Fescue or Ryegrass at the rate of 7 to 10 lbs. per 1000 square feet
- Overseed existing lawns of Fescue or Ryegrass at the rate of 5 lbs. per 1000 square feet
Water seed in thoroughly but don’t allow water to run off. If rainfall is not present, water 4-5 times daily, 7-10 min until seed germinates. Decrease frequency and increase the amount of water after the seed germinates and grass blades reach 1 inch tall.
Mowing causes the grass to develop a strong root system. The first time the grass reaches 1 1/2 inches tall, mow back down to 1 inch. When it once again reaches 1 1/2 inches tall, cut it back down to 1 inch a second time. Maintain a height of 1 1/2 inches through the rest of the season.
Fertilization is key to adding nutrients to promote health and vigor of grasses. Use Fertilome New Lawn Starter at the time of planting and again in 4 to 6 weeks.
Do not apply pre-emergent herbicides if you plan to overseed your lawn. Weed Control products should not be applied to new lawns until the seed has germinated and the lawn has been mowed twice.
You can create a lush green, healthy lawn that adds beauty and value to your home. Fertilizing, weed control, watering, and mowing are the keys to fostering the vigorous development of the turf grass you desire.
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