Not sure when to seed your lawn? According to the U of M, the best time to seed your lawn in Minnesota is in early fall. That means there’s still time to get your lawn ready for the fall and enjoy a beautiful lawn before winter comes.
U of M Extension offers some fantastic tips on starting your lawn:
In Minnesota, Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues, turf-type tall fescue and some of the perennial ryegrass varieties are recommended. Your local seed distributor, garden center, or county extension educator can help you to determine the best varieties for your lawn.
- For shady locations, look for seed mixtures specifying shade tolerance. These will contain fine fescues along with some common and shade-tolerant Kentucky bluegrasses.
- For sunny areas that receive a lot of wear, mixtures of 50% improved Kentucky bluegrasses and 50% perennial ryegrasses are best.
- For low maintenance turf, mixtures of Kentucky bluegrasses and fine fescues or newer tall fescues will offer a durable lawn.
Most of the sod grown in Minnesota is a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass varieties. Occasionally, some perennial ryegrass, improved varieties of tall fescue or fine fescue are available in the mixture. A retailer or installer should know what varieties are in their sod; if not, they can get this information from the sod grower.
Soil preparation: seed and sod
Soil preparation should be the same for seeding or sodding.
- Do a soil test. Follow sampling procedures for representative results.
- Make amendments as prescribed by the soil test.
- Firm the soil slightly with a roller or cultipacker.
- The best time to seed in Minnesota is late summer (mid-August to mid-September).
- Seed should be spread at a half rate in perpendicular directions across the site. Follow up with a light raking allowing about 10–15% of the seed to show.
- Use a roller or cultipacker over the area to ensure good seed-soil contact.
- Water to a depth of 4–6 inches and then follow a light and frequent watering program by applying light irrigation up to 3-4 times per day.
- After germination, reduce the watering frequency as roots grow into the soil.
- Ideally, fresh sod should have been cut no more than 24 hours prior to delivery. It should be laid as soon as possible, or within one day after delivery.
- Lay the sod on slightly moistened soil, staggering the seams so they are offset.
- On a slope, lay the rolls across the slope and stake each piece to hold it in place. Fill any cracks with soil to prevent edges from drying. Use a roller about one third full of water to ensure the roots of the sod have good contact with the soil.
- Keep the sod moist but not saturated until it is firmly rooted in the soil (a few days), then gradually reduce watering. After approximately 10-14 days perform a tug test by gently tugging the sod in a few areas to ensure that it has firmly rooted into the soil. If the sod has resistance it is rooted in and can be treated as an established lawn.
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