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Roll new lawn?  RSS feed

 
                                      
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I am following Mike McGrath's recipe to redo my lawn:

  • [li]I have already tilled it, raked off the greenery, and smoothed (looking forward to rain tonight)[/li]
    [li]After a week I will weed and then top with 2" of compost[/li]
    [li]I plan to seed with tall fescue, working in with a rake.[/li]



  • And here is where my question is: should I roll the compost after I have seeded it, or just trust the watering to compact it sufficiently?

    Here are the subsequent steps:

  • [li]Water gently every day for a week to keep the seed moist. Don’t water on days when it rains.[/li]
    [li]Then cut back to every other day for a week. Then twice a week. Then once a week. Less if it’s cool and rainy; more if it’s hot and dry.[/li]

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    Joel Hollingsworth
    pollinator
    Posts: 2103
    Location: Oakland, CA
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    augeydoggy wrote:
    I am following Mike McGrath's recipe to redo my lawn:

  • [li]I have already tilled it, raked off the greenery, and smoothed (looking forward to rain tonight)[/li]
    [li]After a week I will weed and then top with 2" of compost[/li]
    [li]I plan to seed with tall fescue, working in with a rake.[/li]



  • And here is where my question is: should I roll the compost after I have seeded it, or just trust the watering to compact it sufficiently?

    Here are the subsequent steps:

  • [li]Water gently every day for a week to keep the seed moist. Don’t water on days when it rains.[/li]
    [li]Then cut back to every other day for a week. Then twice a week. Then once a week. Less if it’s cool and rainy; more if it’s hot and dry.[/li]




  • If I understand correctly, rolling is intended to supply seeds with moisture by compacting the growing medium to enhance capillary action. Before applying compost, I might press down gently to make a hand print, and see if that handprint stays moist throughout the day, or looks noticeably darker than the rest of the soil after a few hours. If so, I might roll, apply seed, then apply compost. If the hand print behaves just like everything else, I wouldn't roll at all.

    You will want the top layer of the growing medium to have poor capillary action, so that it isn't constantly wicking moisture up into the air and drying out the layer where the seeds sit. Good compost retains a lot of moisture, so the bottom part of your compost layer will hopefully never dry out completely, which would do a lot to help germination. I believe this would all work better if the compost weren't mixed in.

    If there are good reasons to rake in & roll the compost, maybe consider adding a very thin (maybe only covering 1/4 of the soil surface) layer of mulch, something like dry grass clippings.
     
                                          
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    Thanks, Joe. I wasn't planning to roll the existing soil, just wondering about the compost. Mike McGrath says to gently rake in the seed near the surface, but I was reading in the forum about how the seeds prefer to germinate on top. I am not going to mix the compost into the soil, but leave it as the top layer, assuming that as the lawn develops, the soil below will then develop as well. But I also read about rolling to improve the "intimacy" between the seed and the soil (in this case that would be the compost), which led to my question. I think you are suggesting that because it is compost rolling is unnecessary.

    Doug
     
    Joel Hollingsworth
    pollinator
    Posts: 2103
    Location: Oakland, CA
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    augeydoggy wrote:I think you are suggesting that because it is compost rolling is unnecessary.


    Mostly, yes. The compost will do a lot to keep the seeds in the right environment. Rolling might still help a lot, depending on how you tilled and a few other factors.

    Most of my response is based on what I learned from Gardening Without Irrigation by Steve Solomon, which is repeated without much change in his most recent book. It's a great help in thinking clearly about soil preparation and irrigation.
     
                                          
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    Cool, thanks!
     
                                                
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    hello, you must use organic or natural fertilizers for best gardening it helps in proper growth pf plants. Proper amount of water should be given. No chemical fertilizers should be used as they are harmful for human health and plants.
     
    220 hours of permaculture video, freaky cheap! http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
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