- Time your planting right
Planting the right type of the grass at the right time is key to achieving well established lawn. There are two broad categories of grasses namely: Cool Season and Warm Season grasses. Cool season grasses originate from the northern hemispheres’ cooler areas where climate is temperate having cooler winters and moderate summer temperatures. This climate is characterised by cool winters and moderate summer temperatures. On the other hand, warm season grasses originated from warmer areas of the southern hemisphere. These grasses are more adaptable to high temperatures and drier conditions.
Cool season grasses such as All Seasons Evergreen® and Shade Over® are best planted in autumn and early spring. This is because their maximum root development occurs at slightly lower temperatures at 16°C – 24 °C. Warm season grasses such as Kikuyu, Princess77, LM/Berea and Buffalo are best sown from early spring to late summer. These grasses germinate best in soil temperatures of approximately 27°C – 35°C for germination.
- Soil Preparation
Before you seed, remove all existing plant material by spraying a non-selective weed killer. This herbicide must be sprayed on actively growing plants and must be absorbed by leaves. Be careful not to apply the herbicide on windy or rainy days as this may drift or run-off onto nearby desirable plants. Please consult with herbicide suppliers the most suitable herbicide to use which will not cause any negative impact on the environment or have residual effect inhibiting seed germination of your desired grass seed. If you would rather not use any herbicide then you can prepare the soil and water to encourage any weed to germinate and the rake the young weeds out without turning the weeds soil again and bringing new weeds to the surface.
For household use, it is not necessary to conduct a soil analysis as general fertilisation can be followed to improve the fertility of the soil. Prior to your final soil preparation, the area can be irrigated thoroughly a day or two.
Remove rocks or construction debris and loosen the area with a garden fork to a depth of 20cm. Smooth the surface, breakdown clods and eliminate high or low spots. Due to generally low phosphorus levels in soil and the difficulty of applying it on well established lawn, apply 50g/m2 of Superphosphate fertiliser. It is essential for root growth and remains immobile in the soil to be absorbed by young developing roots. Ensure the Superphosphate is incorporated into the top 15cm soil depth which is the root zone. Upon the application of the Superphosphate, 5:1:5 or 3:1:5 fertiliser can be applied at 30g/m2 on the surface and then be raked uniformly on the soil.
- Sowing the seed
Evenly broadcast the seed on to the surface or sow in rows when planting kikuyu grass. Broadcast by hand and use a fertiliser spreader to distribute the seed uniformly across your new lawn area. Ensure you follow the seed labels provided for correct seeding rates as well spreader settings. Once the seed has been broadcast or row planted, rake the area again to work the seed into the soil. Do not bury the seed too deep as seed require light to germinate. It is not advised to use compost to cover the sowed bed as compost dries out easily and can negatively influence germination rate. Do not worry about birds eating the seed as the seeding rate recommended compensate for this to allow satisfactory coverage. Note that do not skimp on the sowing rate of non-creeping grasses such as All Seasons Evergreen® and Shade Over® as any skimping will result in bare patches. Upon sowing the seed, compact soil lightly with either a roller, something like a drum on its side or trample lightly under foot. This ensure soil-seed contact is maintained for seed germination.
- Water your seed
Watering is the most crucial part of starting a new lawn. After sowing the seed, water the area to ensure soil remain moist during germination. It is advised to water daily if needed in the first fourteen days (2 weeks). Avoid puddle formation as this may cause wash-out of seed on sloping areas. Keep the area moist as seed germinates and your new grass grows to mowing height. Depending on the type of grass, germination can take 10 – 14 day but this is also influenced by climate.
New seed can take a month or two before it is ready for mowing. Wait until all your seed germinates and grass grows about one and half times the recommended mowing height for your grass.