Properly established and maintained lawns are a life-time investment, adding to the value of the property, its safe, clean and enjoyable use and even a benefit to the environment as the tightly inter-woven plants of a mature lawn clean the air by releasing oxygen as it uses carbon dioxide, traps particulate pollution and cleanses runoff water that helps restore our groundwater supplies.

self-scoring-1.jpgMaking the wrong decision when your lawn is established will cost you time, energy, money and natural resources.

Making the right decisions when your lawn is established will give you a beautiful, usable and enjoyable investment.

Self-Scoring Method

Listed below are a number of important elements to consider in establishing a lawn, for home, commercial or recreational use. Following each element is a description or particular characteristic for seeded, hydroseeded or sodded lawn establishment. Differences between seeded and hydroseeded areas are noted where appropriate.

self-scoring-2.jpgTo complete the process below, review each element and the descriptions which follow for seed, hydroseed and sod. Based upon the importance you give each element, mark a single box score for one method of lawn establishment.

Example: "Time of Year" is critical to you because of seasonal weather extremes. Because sodding's characteristic is most advantageous to your needs, you would mark the number 3 and go to the next question. Seeding or hydroseeding would not receive any score.

Total all scores after you have reviewed and marked each question. The highest point total will indicate the lawn establishment method that best suits your overall needs.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER
SEED
HYDROSEED
TURFGRASS SOD
Time of year to install
Not recommended for Winter or Summer, possible in Spring, best in Fall for most areas.
1 / 2 / 3
Not recommended for Winter or Summer, possible in Spring, best in Fall for most areas.
1 / 2 / 3
Year-round installation, even on frozen ground if sod is available.
1 / 2 / 3
Soil Preperation
Same for all types of lawn installation: Deeply till soil, add necessary amendments and fertilizers, grade and level for smooth surface, remove all debris, lightly pack and moisten.
1 / 2 / 3
Same for all types of lawn installation: Deeply till soil, add necessary amendments and fertilizers, grade and level for smooth surface, remove all debris, lightly pack and moisten.
1 / 2 / 3
Same for all types of lawn installation: Deeply till soil, add necessary amendments and fertilizers, grade and level for smooth surface, remove all debris, lightly pack and moisten.
1 / 2 / 3
Water Requirements
Highest water needs- Bare soil will dry quickly. Water lightly for 3-4 weeks, keeping surface moist, begin to apply 1-inch of water per week after mowing.
1 / 2 / 3
Moderate to high water needs. Mulch will preserve some moisture.
1 / 2 / 3
Lowest water needs- Water at installation to a depth of 6-inches, then light waterings for next 2-3 weeks. Grass will shade soil and prevent drying.
1 / 2 / 3
Seed Quality
Extremely variable because of germination rates, weed and foreign matter content; unknown or unspecified varieties. Generally lower quality seed than used in cultivated sod production.
1 / 2 / 3
Extremely variable because of germination rates, weed and foreign matter content; unknown or unspecified varieties. Generally lower quality seed than used in cultivated sod production.
1 / 2 / 3
Typically highest available sod quality, certified, elite seed. May be certified to prove specific variety. Mixtures and blends used to suit area needs.
1 / 2 / 3
Weed Control
Multiple applications of chemicals usually required to combat competitive weed invasions until turf is well established. Mulch layer may reduce some problems.
1 / 2 / 3
Multiple applications of chemicals usually required to combat competitive weed invasions until turf is well established. Mulch layer may reduce some problems.
1 / 2 / 3
Minimal, if any chemical control needed.
1 / 2 / 3
Uniformity of Coverage
Seeding varieties, rates, germination times, wash-outs (erosion), traffic, feeding birds and rodents can create spottiness. Mulch layer may reduce some problems.
1 / 2 / 3
Seeding varieties, rates, germination times, wash-outs (erosion), traffic, feeding birds and rodents can create spottiness. Mulch layer may reduce some problems.
1 / 2 / 3
99 to 100% uniformity with use of mature turfgrass sod.
1 / 2 / 3
Runoff / Erosion
Heavy rains or sloping areas will cause seed, chemicals and silt to wash onto sidewalks and into sewer systems. Little if any protection. Mulch should reduce erosion/runoff for several months.
1 / 2 / 3
Heavy rains or sloping areas will cause seed, chemicals and silt to wash onto sidewalks and into sewer systems. Little if any protection. Mulch should reduce erosion/runoff for several months.
1 / 2 / 3
Capable of handling heavy rains without erosion or damage.
1 / 2 / 3
Visual Impact
Rough texture and open soil.
1 / 2 / 3
Colored mulches act to camouflage soil appearance.
1 / 2 / 3
Immediate beauty of a 'complete' and mature landscape.
1 / 2 / 3
Useability
Low traffic use 2 to 4 months after seeding with faster germinating seed. Normal to high use only after first year.
1 / 2 / 3
Low traffic use 2 to 4 months after seeding with faster germinating seed. Normal to high use only after first year.
1 / 2 / 3
Low traffic immediately. Normal, high traffic levels within 2 to 3 weeks.
1 / 2 / 3
Installation Costs
Lowest cost.
1 / 2 / 3
Low to Mid-level cost.
1 / 2 / 3
Highest cost.
1 / 2 / 3

Cost vs. Value
Higher management and maintenance costs, compounded by increased water and chemical applications, as well as delay of use, poor uniformity and visually unappealing are trade-offs for lower installation cost.
1 / 2 / 3
Higher management and maintenance costs, compounded by increased water and chemical applications, as well as delay of use, poor uniformity and visually unappealing are trade-offs for lower installation cost.
1 / 2 / 3
Installation costs offsey by added values of timing, useability, uniformity and visual appeal. Reduced maintenance, chemical and water costs.
1 / 2 / 3
SCORE TOTALS
Seeding =
Hydroseeding =
Sodding =