Establishing a new lawn is nowhere near the hardest home-improvement project you can tackle. In fact, a healthy lawn can add value to your home through increased curb-appeal and will certainly increase the amount of pride you feel for your abode.
By following these steps, you’ll have a fully-established, healthy lawn in just a few weeks:
1. Choose the right time to start seeding a new lawn
You should wait until after the threat of frost has passed before seeding a new lawn. Additionally, you want your lawn to be fully established before the weather turns cold. If you expect frosty weather within the next 60 days, it is best to wait until the following Spring.
2. Remove any existing vegetation
You don’t want your newly sown seeds to be outcompeted by existing grass, weeds, or any other vegetation that may be present on your project site. If vegetation exists at the site of your new lawn then it must be completely removed. Two weeks before you are ready to plant seed, use a concentrated non-selective herbicide like RoundUp. Alternatively, you can use a less expensive generic like Glyphosate Plus. Either way, you’ll want to cover your lawn in it so that everything dies.
Don’t worry about the herbicide hurting your grass seed. RoundUp is not soil active, so it won’t remain in the soil and impact your new seed.
After the vegetation has died-off, you’ll want to use a tiller to break up the dead plant matter and incorporate it into the soil.
3. Add nutrients and fertilizer as necessary.
One of the great things about Centipede grass, is that it does not require a great deal of nitrogen fertilizer to flourish. It will grow best, however, with some organic matter in the soil. If your soil is very sandy or is almost all clay, consider adding compost and low or no-nitrogen fertilizer to ensure the centipede grows into a healthy lawn after germination.
Centipede grass will need a low pH of around 5 – 6. If your pH is too high, you may need to add Lime to the soil in order to adjust the pH level. Only a soil sample will definitely tell you whether this is necessary or not.
4. Prepare the ground for seeding
Rake the ground so that it is level and smooth. Also, be sure to pick up any sticks, rocks, or debris that is on the ground in the area where you will be spreading the grass seed.
5. Spread the seed onto the ground
Using a hand-held spreader, spread the Centipede seed onto the ground. We recommend using a coated seed for many reasons. Two of which are that the seed will be much less likely to drift in the air or to blow away once it hits the ground. Follow the manufacture recommendations for amount of seed needed per area.
6. Cover the seed
Now that the seed is on the ground, it needs to be covered ever-so-slightly so that it can germinate. Ideally, the seed should be no more than ¼ of an inch under the soil. This can be accomplished in a few ways. One way is to lightly rake over the seeded soil so that the seed is worked into the soil. Another way is to use something like a rolling compost spreader and spread a very thin layer of compost over the seed.
Finally, you can use a roller to roll over the soil to further increase the seeds contact with the soil. This will ensure that as many seeds germinate as possible.
7. Water the soil & keep it moist
You should water the soil immediately after seeding. In addition, you’ll need to make sure the soil remains moist for 14 days after planting. To accomplish this, you should plan on watering your newly planted lawn every day for 14 days. Additionally, depending upon the temperature and the nature of your soil, you may need to water your lawn twice per day.
This is very important: In order for the maximum number of seeds to germinate, the soil must remain moist for two weeks.
8. Enjoy your lawn!
That’s it! After two weeks the Centipede seed should have germinate and will begin the process of establishing itself in your lawn. You will want to wait until the lawn is fully established before mowing. This may mean some weeds will pop up here and there, but once you begin mowing the Centipede should out-compete most weeds. If the weeds persist, you’ll want to another 3 to 4 weeks after you begin mowing before you apply any selective, Centipede-safe herbicide.