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Old 03-21-2008, 10:13 AM
Location: Chicago's burbs
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Last fall we closed on our brand new home. We were supposed to have a fully sodded lawn included, but it was not to be installed until after closing. The landscaper came and dumped the black dirt down and prepared the ground a month after closing and then our builder announced they were filing for bankruptcy before the actual sod was installed. So needless to say, the landscaper never came to put in our sod after the bankruptcy was announced and he knew he wouldn't get paid. So winter is passed and we got a few quotes from landscapers which seemed extremely high. (Not to mention I'm angry I even have to come up with the money to pay for this since it was supposed to be included in the price of my home.) So now we are thinking of just planting grass seed ourselves to save money. Does anyone have any tips of what kind of seed to get, what kind of fertilizer to use, how to prepare the soil, etc., and what month is best for planting it? Does anyone know how long it will take for the grass to come up? I know absolutely nothing about planting grass and do not have a green thumb. This is all new for me. We are in Chicagoland, by the way. Any tips are greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:01 PM
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Up that far north I would probably use a 70/30 mix of 70% Kentucky Blue grass with 30% creeping red fescue. They are finer bladed grass and make for very nice looking lawns. The fescue's are usually more drought tolerant and the tall fescue's have a wider blade generally. (like a Kentucky 31)

I would also add in a fair amount of annual rye grass seed that will die off but helps to prevent the rest of your seed from washing out and it germinates really fast.

Seeding rates:

Species in Seed Mix Rate (pounds/1,000 sq.ft.)

Kentucky bluegrass blend
1 to 3
Kentucky bluegrass/perennial ryegrass mix (80:20)
3 to 4
Kentucky bluegrass/fine fescue mix (50:50)
3 to 5
Tall fescue blend
6 to 9

I would go with the higher number if you have bare ground and it has been a while since the black dirt was applied.

Once seeded, and if you have access to one, roll it out to tamp down the seeds. You can probably rent one that you fill with the drum with water but if not, it isn't that big of a deal if you stay on top of it.

spread your seed evenly then I would cover with straw to prevent the rain from washing out the seed and to keep the direct sun off the new shoots.

Its not really too hard, just a bit of work but what better place to work than in ones own yard.

Good luck and hope that helps.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:28 AM
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That's great advice, but I just want to add one thing---make sure the "straw" you add is weed-free! Otherwise you will get a lawn-full of weeds, too. When I reseed, I buy "mulch hay" to spread over the seeds, it is pure hay/straw with no seeds of any kind.

Also, make sure you keep the seeds watered until they sprout, you don't want them to dry out too much.
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