Planning a New Lawn? – Sod verses Seed

Lawn Care -Types of Seed httpccesuffolk.orgassetsHorticulture-LeafletsThe-Homeowners-Lawn-Care-and-Water-Quality-Almanac.pdf
Cornell Lawn Grass Types

Are you looking to plant a new lawn? Here is some useful information to help you decide whether you want to go seed or sod. First of all there are several considerations when deciding.  Successful establishment of a lawn depends on temperature and moisture conditions and can be difficult in some regions.  The best time for seed germination is when the temperatures are cool at night and the daytime temperatures range in the 60’s-70’s.  Here on Long Island the best period for seeding is in early fall. There is a two month span between August 15th and October 15th which is ideal, supplying just the right conditions for germination.  Seeding in the spring can be done but there is the risk of crabgrass invasion before the lawn is able to become established and may result in an unsuccessful lawn or one that needs repair in the fall.  Ideally, a satisfying sod or seed lawn can be achieved by following some basic steps.

Advantages of Sod                                                                 Disadvantages of Sod 

  • provides an instant lawn                                                 . costs more
  • immediate erosion control                                               . some mixtures limited for shade
  • can be installed at any time when ground is not frozen
  • weed-free
  • reduced probability of establishment failure
  • established within 2-3 weeks

Advantages of Seed                                                               Disadvantages of Seed

  • less expensive                                                               . time lag before area is usable
  • wide variety selection                                                    . limited seeding periods
  • less time to install                                                          . erosion potential initially
  • ease of establishment in difficult areas                           . potential weeds & need to re-seed

Sod installation provides a mature lawn with less chance of failing and is established within 2-3 weeks. Seeding should not be considered in areas where erosion is high and will take longer to germinate but is lower in cost.  If it is important for you to have a lawn that can be used and enjoyed within a few weeks, then a sod lawn would be the way to go.  If you are willing to wait for your lawn to germinate and the timing is right (between August – October 15th on Long Island) then seed would be the choice.  In either case be sure to water your lawn frequently at regular intervals to get it established and practice proper lawn care afterwards.  Your developing lawn area should be kept moist but not wet for proper germination and watered deeply after maturity to encourage proper root growth.  A beautiful lawn can be established either way when following the proper procedures. Above is a chart showing the different seed mixtures available to you and their requirements with a link to Cornell’s Lawn Calender.

 As Always…Happy Gardening!

 Author:  Lee@Landscape Design By Lee, 2014, All Rights Reserved

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