New lawn - topdressing with compost vs peat moss

Mike_13August 5, 2014

Hi,
I'm planning on planting a new lawn in 3 weeks. My question is: is it better to topdress with compost or peat moss?
I'm asking because compost is quite expensive here in Poland, and I can get peat moss for free.

Also, I'm following these instructions on WikiHow - are they any good? Or is there anything you would modify. http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-a-Lawn-Easily
(last year I followed their overseeding instructions - with big success).

And finally, do you recommend fertilizing with alfalfa pellets before seeding? That's what DCHall suggested in his "How do I level my yard?" guide.

Thanks in advance!

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morpheuspa

>>topdress with compost or peat moss?

Either. Compost holds water a touch better, which can actually be a slight disadvantage as it can encourage rot. But it usually doesn't if you restrict yourself to 1/4" absolute maximum, with 1/8" being quite enough.

Compost may have a few drifted weed seeds in it that peat won't usually get, but it's nothing significant if the compost was made correctly and stored properly.

Peat moss gets the bad rep of repelling water...and it does, but the water drops through to the soil. No harm, no foul, and the peat moss functions as a perfectly good mulch.

In your case, if the compost is expensive and the peat moss is free, use the peat moss.

>>Also, I'm following these instructions on WikiHow - are they any good?

Do. Not. Till. It destroys the natural water channels, injects oxygen into layers where it shouldn't exist, brings up weed seeds stamped 1897 (but are still perfectly viable), and burns off organic matter at a fantastic rate.

If you feel you must open the soil surface, use a slit seeder or rake the soil lightly beforehand. Seeds are very, very good at punching through soil we consider hard.

Also, do not lime at seeding time. This is an ancient holdover that keeps getting repeated. Lime works in slowly, setting up a very high pH zone around the new grass roots--which want a slightly lower than neutral pH.

Also, only lime if a soil test shows the need for it, and only if you know exactly what kind of lime to use and how much.

>>And finally, do you recommend fertilizing with alfalfa pellets before seeding? That's what DCHall suggested in his "How do I level my yard?" guide.

Sure, go for it. It'll give your new grass something to nibble on when it's young.

If you can't get alfalfa, soybean meal, cottonseed meal, corn meal (or cracked corn but I don't recommend that on a new seed bed as it attracts birds), or Milorganite (I'm not sure if you have that in Poland or what they call it--it's a processed biosolid) are all great.

Don't bother with a synthetic fertilizer. It's a flash in the pan and will be long gone before the grass grows enough to use it. That's for later if you want to go the synthetic route.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:47AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Just to reiterate, do not till.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:02PM
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Mike_13

Thanks for your replies!

You were really helpful. Love this forum!

I will not lime, I will definitely not till, I'll use peat moss for topdressing and I'm going to use alfalfa pellets or soybean meal to fertilize. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 4:38PM
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