The Goal 0f Watering New Grass Seed
All seeds require moisture and a certain temperature range before they begin to germinate. Once the germination process has begun, if conditions change, the seed or new sprout is vulnerable and can die.
If the seed or sprout dries out, it dies out. Your mission then, is to provide adequate moisture at all times. The pre-sprout phase is most critical. Your commitment to watering new grass seed must stay strong. The germination time for grass seed ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on the variety. It can be even longer than this in cooler temperatures.
This is how long it will take to actually see the grass growing. Until this point, the seed, or the soil and mulch in contact with the seed, must stay moist. It doesn’t need to be soggy or swimming, but moist.
Once the new grass is visible, the roots are also growing down into the soil. This happens quite quickly. As soil moisture below ground is more accessible to the roots, the plant is not so vulnerable now. However, don’t reduce the amount of watering on new grass seeds yet.
Seeds will not sprout all at the same time. Seeds will be buried at different depths, absorb water differently, or be of different quality or maturity. Many seed mixtures are blends that will have different characteristics affecting their development. It is important to keep the surface level of soil constantly moist until all seeds have germinated.
Until the planted area is densely showing green growth, don’t allow it to dry out. The percentage of seed germination is in your control, though people often blame a thin lawn on the “lousy seed that didn’t come up”! It is possible to increase the percentage of germinating seeds.
HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT MULCH FOR YOUR HOME
Maybe your yard is looking a little tired this spring, and you think to yourself; “Hey, mulching is an easy way to make a huge impact. The Jones’ will be keeping up with US.”
But when it comes to mulch, all types are not created equally. Are you looking for more nutrients in your soil? A low maintenance alternative? Worried about attracting termites? Before spending those hard earned dollars, consider which type is the best bang for your buck.
First Step Narrow it Down: Organic versus Inorganic Mulch
Organic mulches include all the natural stuff offered by Mother Nature: grass clippings, leaves, pine needles, wood chips, and hardwood.
Pros: This is the mulch that keeps on giving. It adds organic material to your soil to improve soil structure and add nutrients.
Cons: Organic mulch needs to be replenished more often than its inorganic counterpart. How often depends upon the specific type of mulch, and conditions.
Inorganic Mulch includes pulverized rubber, stones, and other geotextile fabrics.
Pros: Less maintenance. It doesn’t decompose and doesn’t need to be replaced very often.
Cons: Inorganic mulch doesn’t provide any nutrients or organic materials to your soil.
Although there are hundreds of types, here are Nashville’s top 5 organic mulches:
Pros: This eco-friendly alternative provides a light and airy look that works well in wooded lots or areas where you want a natural look. Highly acidic plants and shrubs such as azaleas, camellias and rhododendron thrive with a layer of pine needles. Water also flows easily through them creating nice moist soil.
Cons: If you’re gathering needles yourself, allow a few weeks for them to dry before spreading. Fresh pine needles have a very high level of acidity that can throw off your soil’s PH.
This mulch will have you thinking of Little Red Riding Hood skipping through the forest.
Pros: Like pine needles, the bark is also acidic, and offers a nice, woodsy look to your beds. It doesn’t compact a lot so pine bark allows water and oxygen to penetrate more easily.
Cons: Pine Bark is light-weight, so using it on a hill could result in a big pile of chips at the bottom of a slope after a heavy rainstorm.
This stuff is popular due to its variety of colors (black, brown and red are the favorites), and its ability to suppress weeds. But Hold the Arsenic Please!There is a huge range in quality and nutritional benefits to hardwood mulch.
At the low end, a lot of dyed hardwood mulch is made from low quality wood, such as pallet wood, that’s been treated with chemicals. These chemicals, including chromium, copper, and arsenic destroy any nutritional benefits organic mulches provide to your soil. In addition, they can actually harm your plants and gardens. Talk to your distributor for more information on the quality of mulch. It really does matter!
A good landscaper will know where their mulch comes from, and its quality. Companies, such as Southern Nurseries, offer all-natural chemical free hardwood mulch options with no dyes. Even their black mulch is naturally colored with charcoal to provide a dye and chemical free alternative.
Pros: It decomposes at a slower rate than other organic mulches such as pine bark and wood chips. It’s your best choice for improving soil over a longer period of time.
Cons: Over time this mulch decomposes and the color fades. Also, to reap the nutritional benefits of organic mulches, go with the high quality mulch.
Don’t Bug Me!
Landscape mulches contribute to a stable moist environment that is good for our trees and shrubs, and unfortunately, also good for termites and other insects. Keep mulch away from your home’s siding and window sills to reduce your exposure to these nasty bugs!
Remember that the first line of defense against termites is routine home maintenance, and by having your house inspected by a pest control company. Each mulch has its own pros and cons, but all mulches provide that peppy fresh look that will have you saying hello to spring!