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Purchased Grass Seed... Now What?? Planting & Maintenance Guide by the Seed Lady

Purchased Grass Seed... Now What?? Planting & Maintenance Guide by the Seed Lady

Planting Seed Tips

  1. Prep!

Before seeding your lawn, you should mow your lawn at the lowest setting and bag the clippings. If overgrown, remove old vegetation to prepare a clean seed bed. Before seeding your lawn or pastures, use a de-thatcher, power rake or tiller to kill and remove existing vegetation to prepare the cleanest seedbed possible. After mowing, rake or drag to remove debris, dead grass, and loosen and level the soil. This will allow the seed to come into contact with the soil when you spread it.

  1. Seed!

Now comes the easy part! Fill up your spreader with grass seed, adjust the setting according to the label directions of your spreader and apply. Rake in for good soil contact. Drag, rake or roll to lightly cover the seed no deeper than 1/4 - 1/2 inch. (Note for Bermuda grass seed: Gently broadcast seed on application surface, then lightly rake surface of soil. Ideally, Bermuda seeds should be slightly visible once planted). For best results use a slow release starter fertilizer before watering. We recommend Hancock’s 16-4-8 slow release fertilizer at 5lbs./1,000 sq ft or 250#’s per acre for pastures. This is recommended every three months.

  1. Feed!

Grass like all living things need food to survive.  Food for grasses is fertilizer.  The only way to have a healthy pasture is by adopting a seasonal fertilization program and sticking to the program—250 pounds of 16-4-8 per acre, four times per year (fall, winter, spring and summer). As well as 200 pounds of dolomite per acre every three years. The most probable cause of a declining pasture is poor nutrition. 

  1. Water!

To help your seed germinate, water your lawn once or twice per day based on weather conditions, until the new seedlings have reached the height of your existing lawn. On average we recommend irrigating 30 minutes each evening/morning. Irrigate newly seeded lawn daily until grass reaches 4-6 inches. After that, irrigate 3 times per week as needed. Goal is to keep the soil moist! 

 

Maintenance Guide

Lawns

  • Mow at 3-5 inches regularly & during establishment.
  • Fertilize with 2-3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet three times a year.
  • Irrigate established lawns during extreme dry spells.
  • Over seed warm season grasses with annual rye grass in October for winter coverage.

Pastures

  • Mow at 6-10 inches when needed & during establishment.
  • Fertilize with 250 lbs. per acre three times a year.
  • Irrigate established lawns during extreme dry spells.

Seed Spreader Settings

  • There is not any one list of spreader settings that applies to ALL different brands of spreaders. You can utilize the seed settings chart that came specifically with your spreader as a basic guide and adjust accordingly.  Pick a seed on the list that has a similar size to the seed you wish to plant, if your specific variety is not named.  We recommend always starting with the smallest option and then adjusting.  If you are putting out too much seed then close the setting a little.

 

Reduce Lawn Stress In The Summer

You think you have stress? What about your lawn? The sun beats down on it. People walk all over it. It's thirsty, and weeds want to take over. Yes, it's rough out there in the yard. But you can take some easy steps to help your lawn cope with the stresses of summer.

When Your Lawn Is Stressed Out, Hold Off on Feeding: Stressed-out lawns aren't growing, so feeding them won't help much. Instead feed before the hot, dry weather arrives. Once the weather cools down and rain returns, feed again to help your lawn recover quicker.

Proper Lawn Care Is The Best Medicine: When your lawn is stressed, it's ripe for takeover by weeds. A few simple steps can protect it: Morning, between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. or evening between 7pm and 9pm, is the most efficient time to water your lawn because less is lost to evaporation. Watering in the afternoon is throwing water away to evaporation. Watering at night, can invite disease if watered too heavily, be mindful of this. Half an inch twice a week or 1 inch a week should keep your lawn refreshed. Set your lawn mower higher: Mowing at the proper height, usually one of the 2 highest setting on your mower, helps the grass grow thick to shade weed seeds, so it's harder for them to grow. The thicker the grass, the less weeds you will have. Fertilize every 3 months with Hancock’s 16-4-8 slow release fertilizer for best results.

Keep Your Mower Blade Sharp and High! Dull mower blades shred grass, so they lose more moisture than they would with a clean cut. Also, the shredded tips turn brown, making the lawn look dull. Most grass types prefer to be mowed high, so set your blade at one of the highest settings on your mower. Taller grass grows deeper roots, and deeper roots can reach moisture that's further down in the soil.

Growing Grass under Trees Is Possible! With proper care and determination, you can successfully grow grass under a tree.  We recommend irrigation paired with Hancock’s Turf Type Tall Fescue or Hancock’s Ryegrass for best results on winter coverage.

Understand What You Risk Doing When You Disturb The Soil: Anytime you plow or cultivate land in Florida, you expose dormant weed seed to the top one inch of the soil surface and germination begins. Some weed seeds can remain dormant 15 to 20 years and suddenly germinate when the soil is disturbed. Anyone that has a vegetable garden knows this is the case because they constantly have to weed their garden and of course they didn’t plant the weed seed. Birds, wind, and many animals spread weed seeds through their body waste. Therefore, when you cultivate your land to plant your seeds you should expect to see some weeds germinate about the same time as the grass seed. (Before the development of herbicides, farmers would plow their fields and wait for weed seeds to germinate then plow under the weed crop. They would do this several times before they planted their intended crop). These weeds were already on your property not in the grass seed you planted. If you need proof just do not spread seed in a small area that you have cultivated and you will see the same seeds emerging.

 

Seedman's Tips & Frequently-Asked Questions

How soon will my seedlings pop up?

Successful seed germination is dependent on certain conditions being met. These conditions are environmental and can vary from seed to seed. The external conditions that are most crucial are water, temperature, oxygen and, with certain seeds, even light or darkness. Night time temperatures are key! Depending on the seed, you may see results in as few as 5 days, and in some cases as many as 30 days.

Ugh, weeds! How do I control them?

They're the scourge of homeowners everywhere: those dandelions, crabgrass, and clumps of clover that appear out of nowhere. It's not fair, after all the work you put into your lawn. Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can take to take care of weeds in your yard.

How do I help out a yard that's full of weeds?

When it almost seems as though you have more broadleaf weeds than grass in your yard, you can still get the lawn you want. For best results, try a weed & feed product that feeds and controls weeds at the same time.  Understand that the first year, your young grass seedlings are extremely sensitive to many herbicides.

Jaclyn Hancock
Jaclyn Hancock may have married into the the seed business, but she's grown into it quite well. The "Seed Lady" is always excited to help customers find the right blend for their project.
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Hancock Seed is dedicated to helping you find the best seed for your project. If you have any questions, fill out the form below, and one of our qualified experts will be in touch as soon as possible! You can also give us a call at (800) 552-1027. If you’re in the neighborhood, swing by the Hancock Farm in Dade City, FL!

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