Planting the Lawn

Seed Seed is applied to the prepared soil in a manner that will dis­tribute the recommended quantity evenly; otherwise, a patchy lawn develops. When applied with a spreader or cultipacker seeder, the seed

figure із-9. A rototiller is an excellent way to incorporate additives into the soil while loosening it. (Delmar/Cengage Learning. Photo by Jack Ingels.)

figure 13-ю. Spreader application: Half the material is applied at a 90° angle to the other half (Delmar/ Cengage Learning)

figure 13-11. Erosion netting and mulch permit this newly seeded slope to develop a strong turf planting. Without the mulch and netting, the seed would wash away before becoming established. (Courtesy United States Department of Agriculture)

is often mixed with a carrier material such as sand or topsoil to ensure even spreading. The seed or seed/carrier mix is divided into two equal amounts. One part is sown across the lawn in one direction. The other half is then sown across the lawn in a direction perpendicular to the first (Figure 13-10).

Placing a light mulch of weed-free straw over the seed helps to retain moisture. It also helps to prevent the seed from washing away during watering or rainfall. On a slope that has not been hydroseeded, it is wise to apply erosion netting over the mulched seed to further reduce the danger of the seed washing away (Figure 13-11).

Sod Sod must be installed as soon after it has been cut as possible. Otherwise, the live, respiring grass will damage itself due to the exces­sive temperatures that build up within the rolled or folded strips of sod. Permitting the sod to dry out while awaiting installation can also dam­age the grass and result in a weak and unsatisfactory lawn.

The soil should be moist before beginning installation of the sod. The individual strips are then laid into place much as a jigsaw puzzle is assembled. The sod should not be stretched to fit as it will only shrink back later, leaving gaps in the surface. Instead, each strip should be fit­ted carefully and tightly against the adjacent strips. Using a flat tamper or roller, tamp the sod gently to ensure that all parts are touching the soil evenly.

Plugs Plugs are small squares, rectangles, or circles of sod, cut about two inches thick. Their installation is similar to that of groundcovers. They are set into the conditioned soil at regular intervals (12 to 18 inch­es) and in staggered rows to maximize coverage. The top of each plug should be level with the surface of the conditioned soil. The soil should be moist but not wet at the time of installation to prevent some of the plugs from drying out while others are still being installed.

Sprigs Sprigs are planted two to three inches deep in rows 8 to 12 inch­es apart. In hand installations, rows are not drawn. Instead the sprigs are distributed as evenly as possible over the prepared soil surface and pushed down into the soil with a stick. As described earlier, stolonizing uses a top-dressing of soil over the sprigs and eliminates the require­ment for individual insertion. The soil should be moist, but not overly wet, when planting begins. If the lawn area is large, planted areas should be mulched and lightly rolled as the installation progresses. To wait until the entire installation has been completed could result in drying out of the sprigs.