How Long After Seeding Can I Use Weed And Feed

Proctors are specialists in all things horticultural. We offer a wide range of fertilisers, lawn care products as well as tips for maintaining your garden. Learn how the Milorganite agronomist’s lawn turned out after she started her new lawn from seed, after extreme weather conditions, weeds, drought, insects, pests, and poor soil.

How to Grow a Lawn from Seed Part Two – Seeding and Aftercare

In the first part of this two blog series, we looked at how to prepare a lawn area for seeding. This time we look at how to do the seeding itself and what steps you need to take afterwards to get the best possible results from your lawn. Follow these steps and you’ll soon have a fantastic patch of grass that stays looking great for years to come.

PHOTO BY Casey Fleser / CC BY

Sowing your grass seed

The key to successful seeding is to ensure an even spread of the seed while making sure to use enough to generate dense, continuous grass. Exactly how much seed you need to use will depend on the exact blend of species you are using, so make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. However, in general you will need around 50g per square metre for good coverage.

The two easiest ways to spread your seed are by hand or with a fertiliser spreader. Either way, it is best to work across the area in two different directions using half the seed each time e.g. going from north to south, then east to west. This should ensure even coverage. If you want to be really precise or for larger areas, you could mark out the space into sections with a grid made of string lines and seed each grid square separately with the appropriate amount of seed.

Make sure to have enough spare seed so your can over-seed any areas where the grass is patchy or fails to grow.

Nutrition

Either before or immediately after you spread your grass seed, you should also apply a good quality, slow release, granular lawn feed to the surface. This will provide a steady supply of nutrients to the new grass, ensuring faster, healthier growth and a more robust lawn.

Once the new grass has begun to establish itself, you should consider using a weed and feed product to prevent weeds getting a foothold and to give the new grass a boost.

Watering

To encourage your grass seeds to germinate and grow, it is important to keep them moist. You should therefore water your new lawn up to twice a day for the first couple of weeks after seeding. This watering should be kept light, however, to avoid disturbing the soil too much and affecting the distribution of the seeds or causing water logging. A hose or watering can with a fine head or mister setting is ideal.

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After the first couple of weeks, when the grass has begun to establish itself, you can switch to less frequent, heavier watering. At all times make sure to keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil and increase or decrease watering accordingly.

PHOTO BY FLYOVER HANGOVER / CC BY

Mowing

When the grass reaches around 5cm in height, you can begin mowing. Cutting the grass encourages it to spread sideways at the root level and put up new shoots, helping your lawn to thicken and form a denser surface. However, it is important not to cut new grass too short, so keep your mower on its highest setting for the first few cuts, then gradually work down to the desired height.

Proctors are lawn experts and our lawn care products can help you get the very best out of your grass.

From Seed to Lawn: Year Two Update

From Seed to Lawn: The Adventures of One Homeowner
Experiences and lessons learned from starting a new lawn from seed

The adventure began fall 2017 when I started my new lawn from seed under the worst weather conditions possible. Wisconsin weather in 2018 can best be characterized as erratic. The extreme summer temps were ridiculous and stressed the fledging lawn. The frigid winter nearly froze everyone and everything!

Here’s a recap of the challenges my new lawn from scratch faced in its first full year and how I addressed them. It survived every challenge.

Drought

Drought conditions started in June 2018 and by the first week of July, the weather had turned ungodly hot. We were in a full-fledged drought. I didn’t water the lawn. I left it alone.

Allowing the lawn to go dormant in drought conditions is my preference. It’s better for the lawn to go dormant than watering sporadically or too little. Light watering during drought conditions can actually do more harm than good.

The drought conditions weren’t detrimental to the lawn. Allowing it to go dormant was the best option.

Weeds

The intense summer heat and drought conditions stressed the lawn, causing it to thin—an invitation to weed seeds looking for a home. The empty lot next door continues to be the primary source of weeds and the seeds are freely offered to our lawn.

My lawn was being overrun by weeds. And not just common, run-of-the-mill dandelions and such. These were noxious weeds, like thistles, and others I couldn’t even identify.

I finally conceded in mid-August, during a period of “cooler” weather, and hired a landscaping company to apply an herbicide to address the weed problem. It was just before the weather jumped back into the ‘90s. It’s not my preference to use herbicides, but there are situations, like this one, where it’s the best option. There are too many weeds to dig out by hand or eliminate using any other method short of an herbicide application. It was important to me to protect my investment!

See also  How To Get Rid Of Weed Seeds In Soil

Overseeding

I wanted to thicken-up my lawn as much as possible. Once the temperature finally started to cool off in fall, I heavily overseeded the lawn with a grass-seed mix. (I’ll admit it. I overseeded using more grass seed than recommended.)

Fertilizing

During the first few years of establishing a new lawn, it’s important to build up the nutrients in the soil. I fertilized with Milorganite following the recommended schedule of Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and applied a dormant feeding around Thanksgiving.

Winter 2018–19: The tundra descends.

Referring to this past winter as “terrible” doesn’t capture the epic, arctic-vortex cold we experienced. Temperatures frequently plunged into the negative digits and there was also prolonged snow cover into spring. Lawns don’t appreciate either. We also had several freeze-thaw episodes: snow, thaw, freeze, repeat… which is also detrimental to plants.

Spring 2019

This spring was a continuation of winter’s erratic weather. It was cold, we had more snow, far too much rain and it took forever to warm up. Despite all of the un-spring-like weather, the lawn came in fairly nice and thick. It’s a survivor.

Moles

Over winter, I kept seeing one of our dogs burying his head in snow piles. Then I’d see him playfully flinging something into the air. I knew it was. Moles.

Once the snow melted my suspicions were confirmed by the tell-tale mole damage. There were tunnels throughout the front of the property. They caused a lot of damage and destroyed about 1/3rd of my front yard.

The moles likely came from from the prolonged snow cover and the adjoining lot—the same lot that has graciously donated the noxious weeds to our lawn. It’s covered in tall grass, which provides a safe refuge for moles.

I raked the damaged areas and overseeded in early summer. I do not plan on treating for moles next fall because hopefully there will not be extended snow cover and tall grass in the empty lot. Repairing the dead spots caused by the moles is on my list of yard tasks.

Fertilizing

There’s some clover in the lawn, which I don’t mind, but it’s a sign of low nitrogen. I’m really focused on building-up nutrients in the soil. The fill and soil brought in after the house was built were nutrient deficient, which is usually the case. (That’s my nice way of saying it was really crappy soil.)

See also  What Can You Do With Weed Seeds

I fertilized with Milorganite around Memorial Day. It’s going to take a few years to build up nutrients, but I’ll follow Milorganite’s recommended schedule.

Weeds

I don’t mind having a few weeds and clover in my lawn, but I’m going to do what I have to do to prevent weeds from taking over. Although I’m not a big fan of using chemicals on my lawn, I was faced with protecting my investment. And starting a new lawn from seed was definitely an investment!

I hired a landscape company in late-spring to apply an herbicide to kill the weeds. This fall I will evaluate the lawn for weeds again, but I don’t anticipate having to treat the lawn again (fingers crossed).

Overseeding

I waited six weeks after the herbicide was applied before I overseeded the mole damaged areas. Overseeding too soon after an herbicide application may inhibit the seeds from germinating or kill them shortly after.

Exactly how long to wait to overseed after an herbicide application depends on the active ingredient and how it works to kill weeds. Read the information provided by the manufacturer carefully to determine how long it’s best to wait before overseeding.

Grubs

I was digging out some of the many weeds in May and discovered another issue: grubs.

It wasn’t a huge infestation, but just to be safe, I decided to hire a company to apply a clothianidin-based insecticide in early-June. Clothianidin is one of only a few insecticide active ingredients that can effectively prevent future generations of grubs by 75–100%.

Judicious Use of Chemicals

As I said, I’m not a big fan of using chemicals on my lawn and clearly, despite my aversion to using both herbicides and pesticides, there are situations where I feel their use is appropriate. I use them judiciously and not as my first line of attack. I recommend everyone do the same.

To help protect the environment, always closely follow manufacturer instructions, as well as community guidelines and restrictions, before applying anything to your lawn, including Milorganite.

This fall I’m planning to aerate the lawn for the first time and overseed. Although it might be overkill to overseed yet again, I really want to help the lawn fill-in. (Maybe I’ll just do a light overseeding.) A thick, healthy lawn is the best protection against weeds and pests, which will ultimately reduce or eliminate the need to use herbicides and pesticides.

Despite terrible weather, nutrient-poor soil, tunneling moles and hungry grubs, I have the thickest lawn I’ve ever had! Starting a new lawn from seed continues to be a challenging, yet satisfying, learning experience.