Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

Gardening Today: Planting A New Lawn

Planting a New Lawn

Use the following steps to lead you to a lasting, beautiful lawn:

  • Test the soil
  • Remove debris
  • Control persistent weeds
  • Rough grade the site
  • Add high phosphate starter fertilizer or Jirdon Lawn & Garden Fertilizer
  • Add soil amendments or top soil to condition the soil
  • Cultivate thoroughly to at least 6 inches
  • Install underground irrigation if desired
  • Final grade the site and settle excavation areas with a rake. This is important in order to prevent
  • scalping from lawn mowers and water puddles later on.
  • Roll Lightly

Scatter grass seeds evenly over the soil, either by hand or using a spreader. If you hand scatter, sow half as you walk at right angles to the first direction. Scatter seeds at the rate recommended on the package. Use a steel rake to lightly scratch seeds into soil; don't stir deeply, and don't try to cover every seed. Cover the soil with 1/4 inch deep layer of organic mulch. (Dampen dry peat moss before you spread it.) The mulch will keep upper soil layer from drying out too fast.

Using a mechanical spreader, apply a lawn fertilizer evenly over the surface, following bag directions. Don't use a fertilizer combined with a weed killer or week preventer because grass will not germinate. Water the entire lawn with a fine even spray. Soak the soil to 4-6 inches, being careful not to let water puddle or wash seeds away. Water often to keep the soil moist for first few weeks, as often as three times a day.


Shady Lawn Mix: combination of bluegrass, fine leaf fescues, and perennial rye grasses. It is designed for north sides of homes, under trees, or other shady areas. It is a proven performer with excellent resistance to disease.

Creeping Red Fescue: another good grass for shade, and also tolerates drought-dry soil. It has a fine texture, deep green color and tolerates acid soil.

Rocky Mountain Bluegrass: A favorite for a carpet of lush dense green bluegrass.

Lo Profile Dry land Mix: A spreading type of crested wheat grass that grows 6-8" tall.

Tuff Turf: The best mix for the lowest maintenance lawn. It is a special mixture of turf-type perennial rye grass, a hard fescue, and drought tolerant bluegrass. It was developed in the Rocky Mountain area and has proven its adaptability. It produces a dark green, low growing fine textured turf with exceptional durability and overall turf quality. Great fro parks, recreational areas, athletic fields, and home lawns.

The ideal fertilizing schedule is as follows:

Jirdon's Lawn & Garden 12-12-4 applied in early spring when grass is starting to turn green. Great for young lawns and thickening old ones.

Jirdon's Weed & Feed 20-10-15, applied in mid-May when weeds are young.

Jirdon's Greenmaster 25-5-5, applied in mid-August cool nights.

Jirdon's Winterizer 18-6-12, applied in late September to store nutrients.