Drill seeding, or Drill Press Seeding, is a mechanical grass seeding method which places seed with proper spacing, and at precisely the right depth in the soil. It is the only grass seeding method which actually places the seed in the ground. Unlike the broadcast seeding method, which often produces low-quality results, the drill seeder attachment is a ground-driven unit that seeds directly into the soil for better germination and more accurate coverage.
One of the most critical aspects in grass development is the ground preparation. A properly landscaped site must have an adequate amount of topsoil (free of lumps and rocks) which has been leveled, graded, and packed. The top 1/2 inch of soil should be raked loose in order to provide a seed bed for the newly planted grass seed. The soil preparation for sod is much the same for grass seed, and with it, a great amount of machine work and labour is required. Drill seeding can expedite this process. The topsoil, leveling, and grading should still be completed as indicated above, but much time is saved in the elimination of having to pack and then rake loose the soil. By design, the drill seeder’s front rollers crush small-to-medium size lumps and press down small stones to form a firm and well-prepared seedbed.
Seed is precisely metered with the proper spacing and at the right depth, where it will germinate quickly under the proper environmental growing conditions. Rear rollers split the shallow ridges made by the front rollers and gently form the soil around the seeds, ensuring optimum seed-to-soil contact. The result is a perfect seedbed — smooth and firm, with small stones pressed down. Additionally, the drill seeder’s operating weight of 1200-1400lbs provides superior soil compaction when compared to that of any lawn roller. Finally, the mechanical action of the drill seeder eliminates accidental broadcasting of seed onto unwanted areas such as flowerbeds and walkways. Seed only goes where the machine plants it. Drill seeding is by far the most economically productive grass planting method, at a production rate of up to one acre per hour, the seeder attachment gets the job done quickly and efficiently.
*Prices vary from approximately $0.04 – $0.08 /sq.ft depending on the square footage of the area and the seed product used. A wide variety of blended seeds which thrive in our Canadian climate are available and are included in the pricing. Engineer or architectural specified seeds are available at additional costs for blending. A granular “starter fertilizer” used to enhance seed germination is included with all pricing. Travel charges apply for locations outside city limits.
Grounds Master Inc. provides drill seeding service to a variety of projects, from acreages to large construction and reclamation projects. Drill seeding also provides a level of erosion control not found with standard broadcast seeding. You can choose the seed for optimal coverage and application, including standardized lawn and park grass seed, wildflowers, or any other crop that will stabilize the ground area.
DRILL SEED YOUR:
- Erosion Control Project
- Sports Field
- Golf Courses
- Parks/School Yards
- Construction Restoration Sites
- Septic Fields
THE SUCCESS OR FAILURE WILL BE DEPENDENT ON FIVE THINGS
Whether you choose Drill seeding, Hydroseeding, broadcast seeding, or sod, the following maintenance categories will apply to the success and development of your lawn:
- Weed Control
- Weather (warmth)
The Drill Seeding planting method contains grass seed that requires a continuous supply of warmth and moisture. This moisture must come from rainfall or watering. It is not likely that it will rain every day for the following weeks, so be sure to water frequently enough to keep moisture in the soil. A new lawn should be watered each day for the first 2 weeks, with a watering cycle of 15-60 minutes for each watering period (depending on area size and sprinkler type).
The lawn should be kept lightly damp and water should never run or puddle on the lawn. Watch the weather and adjust your watering to keep the soil lightly damp, not soaking wet and muddy. Sitting water that has been allowed to pool from overwatering will damage grass seed. Excess water accumulation may also contribute to ground surface erosion. Once the first mowing is completed, watering is adjusted to 2-3 times per week, and applied heavier. Where drill seeding is provided to larger sites, manual watering may not be practical or possible. The effects of erosion over time are not as profound on drill seeding surfaces as that of broadcast seeding. First, the sheer weight of the drill seeder pressing down both the seed and soil aids in controlling soil erosion. Secondly, with only a few light rains, the ground will “crust over” and slow down the effects of surface erosion while the seed gets the opportunity to germinate.
A new lawn should be mowed as soon as the grass blades are approximately 3-4 inches high. Delaying the first cutting will only encourage weed growth. Mowing properly will play a vital role in controlling weeds and encouraging the new grass to choke-out these temporary weeds.
The one-third rule when mowing must be followed. With the lawn mower blades sharp, no more than 1/3 of the grass height should be cut at any one time. Always ensure that the new grass is cut on the mower’s highest setting. Subsequent cuttings should be done often, with the grass clippings being mulched in — not bagged. The unbagged or mulched grass clippings act as compost for the new lawn.
The new grass will need an application of a balanced fertilizer after the first mowing and again 30-40 days later. The development of a healthy lawn can be achieved through the use of 3 scheduled applications of a slow-release fertilizer throughout the season. Apply fertilizer on the lawn when it is dry and then water heavily and thoroughly. Apply at rates recommended on the bag, or at a rate of about 4lbs per 1000 square foot lawn area. Do not over fertilize or under water.
DO NOT USE WEED KILLER ON A NEW LAWN. This is very serious. Weed control products will kill new grass in the first season. All soil contains weed seeds. The drill seeder and manufacturer’s seed does not. Weeds always germinate quicker than grass, however grass will choke out weeds as it becomes established. An established lawn and a proper fertilizer program will choke out any of the remaining weeds. If you have questions about any of the products required for a healthy lawn, contact Grounds Master Inc. or any of the many qualified lawn care firms available in Saskatoon.
Here’s a commonly asked question: “Will I have a fully grown lawn in a few weeks?” The realistic answer is no, especially in our short cold Canadian climate. The expectation for a seeded lawn to grow is often measured against that of established sod. What few people fail to realize is that sod cannot be harvested until it has become fully developed, which can take anywhere from 3 to 4 years, depending on the region.
When a property has just been Drill Seeded, and the growing conditions are near perfect with adequate moisture and warmth, then it is common to see accelerated grow when compared to that of regular broadcast seeding. However, when growing conditions are not favorable, with low moisture levels, extended dry spells, or seasonally low temperatures (early spring/late fall), then seed development will be affected. If the conditions are not favorable for seed germination, the seed will wait, while protected by the soil bed that was created by the Drill Seeder.
The affect that weather has on the grass development is no different than that placed on any other plant variety. A final comment – the establishment of a lawn should take into consideration the environmental influences placed on it. What is the grass intended for? Will the new grass be used to establish a lush golf course fairway, or provide a durable play area for children in a yard. Maybe the grass will soon become the play surface in a park, or help establish a level of erosion control in a pasture or roadway ditch. Despite what the end use will be for the grass, or what its characteristics or traits are, in the beginning, all varieties of grass seed require the same thing – warmth, moisture, and food. It cannot survive without them.
**The best available method to seed a larger surface area takes the two seeding methods into consideration: First the area is Drill Seeded, then secondly, it is Hydroseeded. The combination of these two grass seeding methods has been proven to produce the best overall results – especially when moisture is limited and erosion control is paramount.
A final word: Drill seeding is very affordable, but is not intended for most residential or smaller landscape construction areas. When considering whether or not drill seeding is possible for your large seeding project, consider the following:
- Is the area to be seeded a minimum size of 1/2 acre (or approximately 21,780 sq/ft.)?
- Can the drill seeder access the job site? The drill seeder is over 8ft wide, is mounted on a large track bobcat, and maneuverability inside the job site is essential.
- Is the area to be seeded mostly flat with only slight sloping or elevated grade, or does it consist of steep hills or narrow ditches?
- Is the area to be seeded littered with obstructions that will affect machine maneuverability?
- Is the area to be seeded properly prepared? Do you have the minimum recommended amount of topsoil (4 inches) for the seed to develop? Refer to “Drill Seeding – The Process” for soil preparation information. Note: You cannot successfully drill seed over existing grass or plant material. Proper soil preparation is always required. Understand that the drill seeding process is different than over-seeding an existing lawn.
- Would hydroseeding be better suited for your project needs? (See hydroseeding service information)