Originally Posted by Branden
I'm in the middle of a complete overhaul of my yard. I'm ready to have 8 yards of topsoil delivered to plant grass. Is it too late in the year to plant grass? Does anyone have any suggestions on what type of grass seed to use and seed starter?
I never grew grass before so any and all tips are welcome. I am in Pittsburgh, PA, so it is not extremely hot up here as it is in the south.
It's fine to plant, but keep in mind that if it dries out at any point in the germination process it is very hard on it and will likely kill it.
I don't know how large of an area your spreading this over, but you want to have the top 4 to 6 inches of soil worked up. It is a very good idea to work in peat moss. You should aim to use about 2" of peat moss.
Depending on the size of the area, that might be cost prohibitive for you. Around here a 2.2 cuft bale of peat moss can be found for $6 or less. At 2" coverage, a 2.2 cu ft bale covers 25 sq ft, double that if you go to 1 inch. e.g. if you have 2,500 sq ft of lawn, then to cover at 2" you would be looking at 100 bales. If this is particle for you, it will enhance your soil significantly and make digging / planting in the yard in the future much easier. This cost may sound high, but having someone professionally come in and plant or lay sod will very likely be in the thousands and they will not do nearly as nice of a job as you can do with mixing in all the peat.
You should spread about 3 pounds of seed per 1,000 sq ft. Wet the seeds with a fine spray. You can use a starter fertilizer at this point, but it is often not necessary (there are normally enough nutrients in the soil for the grass to grow, if it is available to you, you could work in about 1" of compost with the dirt and the peat as well for nutrients). Next, immediately top dress with about 1/4" to 1/2" of peat moss.
Then water, but do not flood.
Do: Keep moist at all times
Do: Rope off the area so kids and mail delivery don't walk on it.
Do Not:Use any fertilizers with weed killers in them until at least 2 months
Do Not: Over water
Do Not: Allow it to dry out
Do Not: Walk on your new lawn at all until it is established (for the first few weeks)
Do NOT: Rush to mow it, wait until it has all filled in nicely, even if this means some of your grass gets higher.
Do Not: Let others walk on the grass
For the seed. Kentucky Blue grass is one of the nicest seeds that will grow in your area. It is NOT shade tolerant, so if you have any amount of shade you will need to move to a perennial ryegrass blend. You do not need to buy the brand name. It is far more important to determine that the seed is fresh and has been stored properly. A local farm / feed store may be a good place to look, do check on dates, older seeds tend to have poor germination rates in my experience.
Proper ground preparation is far and away the most important factor to having a very nice looking lawn.
A densely planted grass will crowd out many weeds, and you will often not have to use weed killers at all on your lawn. The other very important factor once your lawn is established: go move your mower to the highest setting and leave it there. Do not cut your grass any shorter than that.