Hydroseeding & Erosion Control
                            Excellence since 1988

TURFGRASS AND LAWN: Preparation, Seeding, and Maintenance


The information below is general and not site specific. You should contact a professional if you have any questions or concerns regarding any portion of the information or your site.

Review Your Site


Understanding your site and proper site preparation will help you avoid many problems down the road. Not all areas will be suitable for grass. Different grass varieties can handle different aspects of a site, but some sites may have issues requiring a blend of several varieties. If the area receives full sun or has light shade it is suitable for most varieties. Heavy shade is often not suitable. You might be able to get a lawn started in the spring but maintaining it will be difficult. The deadly combination, of shade, dry soil and competing tree roots (often the source of the shade), is usually too much for most grasses. Also consider use of area, seasonal issues (in some regions evergreen grasses are available), grade/slope water availability, drainage, and mowing frequency. Select the variety of grass that best meets your needs. Contact HYDROSPROUT for selection assistance and recommendations. Consider using shrubs and ground covers in areas not suitable for the variety you select.




Measuring Your Site


Lay-out and measure your site; record the square feet. Dividing unusual shaped areas into triangles, rectangles or circles can help in determining square footage. The quantity of materials you need is determined by the size of the area. Contact HYDROSPROUT for assistance.






A correctly designed and installed irrigation system is the best insurance for maintaining a beautiful lawn. An irrigation system should provide uniform coverage over the entire grass area, as determined by an irrigation coverage test. If you are renovating your existing irrigation system or installing a new system, complete all work and perform a coverage test before testing the soil. The results of an irrigation coverage test will be helpful during initial grow-in and weekly watering. Use a licensed irrigation design consultant and licensed irrigation installation contractor for the best results. 


Testing The Soil

Testing the soil is the best way to determine what nutrients your soil needs and the amounts required to provide the best environment for your grass. A soil test will also indicate whether or not the soil pH (acidity or alkalinity) needs to be adjusted. Soil testing kits are available at most lawn & garden centers, nurseries or hardware stores. In most areas of the country soil testing information and services are available through private testing companies or local county extension offices. When having soil tested, ask the testing service to provide fertilizer and organic/mineral amendment recommendations. Take test samples from several locations on the site, especially where a difference in the soil is visible. HYDROSPROUT can incorporate most soil amendments and fertilizers into the hydroseed slurry during application of the seed for a uniform application.




Existing Grass Removal


The best method to "kill" off your current lawn or existing vegetation is to spray the area with a "Roundup" type product before you roto-till.   This ensures that the existing grasses and weeds will not stay around to compete with your newly seeded lawn plants.




Weed Control and Prevention

The majority of annual weeds can be controlled by tilling the soil. Perennial weeds, especially Bermuda grass, Kikuyua grass and other perennial grasses present a potential problem. Some have a dormant period and most are capable of re-growing after tilling or hand weeding. Applying a nonselective-herbicide (such as Roundup) during periods of active growth will typically eliminate even the tough perennials. Wait 10-14 days after treating before tilling the soil. Make sure to read and carefully follow all label instructions.

Non-selective herbicides are not effective on weed seed. The best method to remove weed seed is to irrigate the area for three weeks just prior to installation of the turf. This will germinate the majority of the weed seeds. Turn off the irrigation and apply a nonselective-herbicide (such as Roundup) and wait 7-10 days. Run the irrigation system for 7 more days. Turn off the irrigation system and apply the nonselective-herbicide to anything that remains alive. Contact HYDROSPROUT or your local lawn and garden store or home center with any questions.




Soil Preparation

The soil test results will indicate the fertilizer and soil amendments needed and at what rate. Apply any soil amendment materials recommended at this time. Fertilizers should be applied after tilling but before raking. Organic matter added to sand or gravel soil will increase the moisture retention ability of the soil.  Avoid horse and cattle manure. They can contain seeds for weeds and undesirable grasses or be high in salt.




Till the Soil


Tilling the soil accomplishes several things. It works the recommended fertilizer and mineral/organic amendments into the soil. It helps the new grass take root in the soil and it makes the soil easier to smooth out and make level. Ideally you should tiller the lawn at least two times to incorporate the soil and old plant material uniformly.  This is especially true if you do not use a chemical to kill existing plants.  A good method is to till the lawn and then wait a week before tilling a second time.  This results in more "kill" of existing plants not chemically treated in the area to be seeded. The soil should be tilled to the depth of 4-6 inches deep. Contact your local lawn and garden center or equipment rental store for tiller information.





Use a garden-type rake or aluminum landscape rake to remove any rocks, roots or debris the tiller has brought to the surface. Remove any clumps of weeds or grass, and break up clods of dirt to create a fine seedbed in the top 3 inches of soil. Level the area as best as you can. Leaving the soil at least ½ inch below adjoining paved patios walks and driveways. Properly leveling your lawn now will eliminate low spots that can hold water and cause scalping during mowing. For bigger areas a drag mat or grate drug behind a tractor or riding lawn mower can achieve similar results. With a water roller half full, roll the area in two different directions to settle the tilled soil.  Daily rentals of lawn rollers are available at most local equipment rental supply stores. Remember to grade slopes away from your home or building.  Rake again to even. To completely eliminate settling, water the area thoroughly, allowing the soil to firm and settle. When the surface is dry and easy to rake, rake the area again to fill in low areas, level and loosen the surface.



Seed or Sprig/Stolon Installation


Hydroseeding your lawn provides the advantage of thoroughly mixing the seed and mulch together for a uniform application ensuring even germination. HYDROSPROUT always selects the best quality seed available using improved varieties, mixtures or blends recommended for your area. Purity and germination percentages will be high. No noxious weeds will be named on the seed label. The seed label is available for your records upon request. Contact HYDROSPROUT to schedule an installation date.

Paspalum and many types of Hybrid Bermuda grass cannot be established by seed, but can be established vegetatively using sprigs or stolons which are individual live plants. Sprigs/stolons are installed in place of seeding and should be covered lightly with mulch to maintain moisture. Contact HYDROSPROUT for more information.

Stay off the new lawn during initial germination and grow in. Traffic of any kind can damage new growth.




A newly seeded lawn should be kept moist but NOT SATURATED, until the seeds begin to grow. After the seeds have germinated and have begun to establish a root system, reduce the frequency of watering. Applying too much water will only inhibit germination and promote disease. As you reduce the watering frequency you should also increase the amount of water applied each time.

Watch for runoff or standing water during each watering period. It is possible that your lawn will not be able to soak up water as fast as your sprinkler is putting it on the lawn. Sloped areas have more tendencies for runoff. If runoff or standing water occurs, reduce the amount of water applied per cycle to those areas. Do not let the areas dry out.

Deep, infrequent watering is typically best for most lawns. On average, a lawn needs about 1 inch of water a week during the growing season, either from rain or irrigation. This 1 inch of water normally soaks the soil to a depth of 4-6 inches, which allows the water to reach deep into the root system. Refer to your irrigation system coverage results when setting your irrigation program. As each lawn area is unique, there are no formulas or standards for determining a watering schedule. Keep in mind that shaded turf generally requires less water than do lawns in full sun. The best schedules are those determined by observing the appearance of your lawn.





As the new lawn begins to grow, it will be necessary to mow, once it has exceeded its ideal mowing height. Proper mowing will also increase your lawn's density, attractiveness and reduce lawn care problems. Blues, ryes and fescues may be mowed with either a rotary or reel mower. Bermudas and zoysias may be mowed with a rotary mower but will look their best when mowed with a power reel mower. Adjust the mower to the recommended height for your grass seed variety. The chart below may be used for reference. Make sure that your lawn mower has a freshly sharpened blade. Lawn mower stores that provide sales and service will sharpen your mower blade for a nominal fee.





The goal of any fertilization program is to provide your lawn with nutrients it needs for optimum growth. Refer to your soil test results for component deficiency. Read the fertilizer label and follow instructions carefully. Many fertilizers have specific recommendations for new lawns. Over application can burn the new plants and lead to water pollution. If fertilizer was not installed during soil preparation or in the Hydroseed mix, an application of a granular fertilizer within 3 days of germination should be applied. 



Post Installation Weed Control

Even with good weed control practices prior to planting, and the use of quality seed, a certain amount of weeds are inevitable with a new lawn. When possible, hand weeding a new lawn after the first mowing is best. However with large lawns, the use of herbicides may be the best solution. Avoid using weed killers within the first 6 months of growth. Check with your local nursery and ask for recommendations based on your new lawn and season. Remember to follow all label instructions for applications and apply only to a lawn that is healthy and actively growing.






Contact HYDROSPROUT, or your local home and garden center or nursery if you have any questions concerning your lawn.