So, you have always wanted a beautiful lawn, but you live in Anne Arundel County. I have worked in Anne Arundel County at Evergreen Genes Garden Center in Glen Burnie Maryland for over 35 years helping people establish and maintain their lawns and I can help you. The main thing that makes it hard to have a beautiful lawn in Anne Arundel County is that most people have pure sand or pure clay as their soil. While there is some nice sandy loam soil in the county the majority is sand or clay. These soil types require completely different strategies in establishing and maintaining a nice lawn. If you have sandy soil you must be diligent about watering, because the sandy soil dries out very fast and the clay soil can hold too much moisture.
The absolute best times to establish a lawn is late summer/early fall. At this time of year, the days are cooling off, the nights are getting longer and the dews are heaver, helping the seed to stay damp. When seeding is done in the fall the grass is up in 7-10 days and it has until the following June to establish a good root system before it is hit by the summer heat. The number one killer of our laws is the long hot summers we have and if you seed in the spring the new grass is still young and tender when the summer heat hits and has little chance of survival.
Try to seed the first week in September. Select the best seed for your conditions. In sunny areas I always recommend Delmarva, a Turf Type Tall Fescue. In shady areas I recommend Shady Nook a shade blend of Creeping Fescue, Chewing Fescue and Blue Grass. These seed mixes are blended specifically for our area. A word of warning, always check the label on seed bags when purchasing seed. It is legal for growers to have weed seed in with the grass seed. Grass seed is cheaper when the weed seed has not been cleaned out of the grass seed, and the last thing you want to start a new lawn with is weeds.
A typical new lawn needs 5 lbs. of seed per 1000 sq. ft. of lawn. You need to measure the area you will be seeding so you can buy the amount needed. When seeding the seed needs to come in contact with the bare earth, or it will not germinate. If your soil is not bare you will need to rake it first to remove dead grass and other debris to expose up the soil. Now you want to spread the seed evenly. The best way to do this is with a broadcast spreader. When spreading the seed try not to get it into flower beds and other areas you don’t want grass. Next I recommend using a starter fertilizer. This will feed the new grass and help it develop a good root system (the most important thing for healthy grass). It really helps if you cover the seed lightly with Leaf Grow or peat moss. These products hold water and will help keep the seed damp. Now it’s time to water. Please purchase a good sprinkler and do not water your lawn by hand. The new seed needs to stay damp at all times to germinate. Ideally water in the morning and again in the afternoon for 10 to 15 minutes. You need to be careful and monitor the soil moisture if you have clay because you can easily over water and rot the seed.
As soon as the grass starts coming up you will need to space out the watering and at the same time water for longer periods of time. First, change to watering once a day and then go to every 2 days and eventually go to every 3 days. You need to monitor the moisture in your soil and water accordingly; the grass will tell you when it needs a drink. Usually by November you will not need to water at all. Always mow the grass as soon as it needs it. You will not hurt the grass by mowing it when it is young. You should not have to water the grass until the next summer. I like to water my grass twice a week in the summer depending on how hot it is. Watering every day is actually bad for your lawn.
To keep the grass in top shape it needs to be feed and the weeds need to be kept out. Normal upkeep and care would include:
- Early Spring: Crabgrass Preventer with fertilizer
- Late Spring: Broadleaf Weed Control with Fertilizer
- Summer: Lime
- Early Fall: Fertilizer
- Late Fall: Fertilizer
Spot liquid weed control can be used whenever weeds are present, but not on new seed or when the temperature is over 85 degrees.
If you ever have questions about your lawn please stop by Evergreen Genes and one of our experts will be happy to help you.
– Craig Hudson