As the vibrant colors of summer begin to fade and the crisp breeze of autumn sweeps our fields, Central Sod Farms eagerly prepares for the most important task of the year - fall seeding. Fall is the optimal time for us to start growing the lush cool season grasses like our Durablend Tall Fescue and HD2000 Kentucky Bluegrass for lawns, parks, and athletic fields. Careful preparation and proper planning are the keys to our success.
Assessing Soil and Site Conditions:
The first task for us as fall approaches is to assess soil and site conditions in our designated fields. Preplant involves soil testing because understanding the pH levels, nutrient content, and drainage capacity of the soil is vital. This information helps in determining any necessary soil amendments. For Fescue, we look for a pH between 6.0 to 6.5 and for Kentucky Bluegrass 6.5 and 7.2. If you’d like to test your soil, we offer an easy solution with SoilKit. Using SoilKit is straightforward: simply collect your soil sample and mail it in using the prepaid envelope. SoilKit will then provide you with instructions on the specific soil amendments your soil requires to grow your choice of grass.
Choosing the Right Seed Varieties:
Selecting the right cultivars (grass seeds) for fall seeding is also crucial. Different grass species thrive in varying conditions, and many cultivars are adapted to environmental conditions that don’t apply to our region. To guide our selection process, we rely on the data obtained from trials conducted by the University of Maryland and Virginia Polytechnic. We carefully choose best-suited varieties for our region so that our customers have a higher quality turfgrass that uses fewer inputs and has greater stress tolerance. If you want to seed your lawn, we sell the same seed we use on our sod farm.
Timing Is Everything:
Timing is critical in sod farming. We must coordinate our seeding schedule with the local climate. Fall seeding typically begins in late September, allowing the grass to establish strong roots before the cold winter months arrive. Tall Fescue germinates with soil temps approximately 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before seeding, proper soil preparation is essential. This involves tilling, leveling, and removing any debris from the site. We use specialized equipment to ensure the soil surface is smooth and free of obstacles that could hinder uniform growth of our grass.
Fall weather on the Eastern Shore can be unpredictable, so having an irrigation system in place helps ensure the seedlings get the right amount of water. Proper moisture levels are crucial at this stage, as the seedling needs enough nutrients and water to take root and establish. We monitor the weather closely to adjust irrigation schedules accordingly. Check out our recommended sprinklers for yards of all sizes.
The process of germination begins as water is absorbed by the seed. It takes roughly 14 days for the seeds to germinate.
Four Seasons of Care:
It takes more than a year before your grass is ready to harvest. During this time, we take care of your grass through all four seasons, using fertilizers and when needed, chemical applications to ensure it thrives, remains healthy, and matures properly. When we mow, we follow the one-third rule - never taking more than one-third of the blade’s height each time.