Q: I’m about to “fill in” a lawn at my new house and have a question. I notice that when the utility companies finish a project they spread seed and hay and walk away from the area. They plant this grass at anytime of the year and everything grows well. It seems to tolerate cold and the lack of water all year. What type of grass seed are they using? These guys plant all year round and it looks great!
A: Most utility companies match the existing turfgrass when they fill in damage they’ve made in a lawn. Many Atlanta lawns are fescue, so they scatter fescue seed on the ground, cover with hay and walk away, as you say. They also lay sod if the original grass was a hybrid Bermuda.
The key observation you should make is that the fescue (and sod) thrives because the soil underneath has been thoroughly disturbed. The grass plants are able to grow a good root system quickly and the area looks great as a result. That spot puts the rest of the lawn to shame!
Utility companies don’t use a magic seed mix. They just take advantage of their own soil-disturbing activities when they plant grass. If you want a lush lawn, the soil below must be loose and well-drained. Scattering seed on hard earth yields the results you are more accustomed to seeing in most lawns.