Best Time To Reseed Your Lawn
The type of seed you use dictates when to plant grass because of variations in the growth cycle. When planting a lawn, the more you work with the grass seeds natural cycle, the easier it will be to make your grass grow.
- Warm-season grasses thrive in southern and western areas of the United States. Centipede, Bermudagrass, Zoysia and other warm-season grasses have their strongest growth in late spring and early summer, which is the optimal time to spread grass seed for lawn repair or new lawn growth.
- Overseeding in spring, while common, does not take advantage of the strongest growth cycle and can result in less vigorous development for your lawn.
- Planting grass in fall or late summer is best for cool-season grasses, which experience their most rapid growth during this time period. The level of moisture and warmth in the soil help cool-season seeds germinate successfully, while cooler air temperatures support growth and inhibit warm-season weeds.
- Choosing the right grass is an important part of learning how to plant grass. Select your grass seed carefully, as different types of grass perform better in some parts of the country than others. See our buying guide about types of grass seeds for more details.
There are additional considerations when deciding how to plant grass, including your lifestyle and conditions specific to your lawn. Is your yard partially shaded or will it receive full sun? Will the lawn have considerable traffic from children or be used by pets?
How Long Does It Take For Grass Seed To Germinate
Some varieties of turfgrass take longer to germinate than others. For example, perennial rye grass germinates in as little as 3 to 5 days, fescues take more like 10 days, Kentucky bluegrass takes 2 to 3 weeks, and warm-season grasses like centipede, Bermuda, and zoysia grasses can take over a month. If your grass seed is a mixture of varieties, know that not all of them will germinate at the same time. To encourage good germination and a healthy start no matter which type of grass seed you planted, its critical that you keep the seeded area and the young plants well-watered until they are established. See the section below on watering for more info on how and when to water new grass.
Seed And Feed On The Same Day
Which goes on first, the seed or the lawn food? It’s up to you. Either way, use a drop or rotary spreader. Just follow the settings on the packages. You want to feed on the same day with Scotts® Starter® Lawn Food for New Grass to give your new grass seedlings a head start.
After the seeds and Starter® lawn food are laid down, cover the seeds with a thin layer of Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Soil. You can do this by gently dragging the back of a leaf rake over your seeded area. On hills, mulch with a thin layer of straw to keep seeds from washing away. Make sure you can plainly see the seedbed beneath the straw. You can also mulch with straw on the rest of your new lawn to help cut back on water use.
Keep on watering
After all your efforts, you don’t want your grass seed to dry out. Make sure the top inch of soil in your new lawn stays moist. You may need to lightly water two or three times a day. Keep at it until your seedlings are well-established. Once your new lawn has reached a mowing height, you can reduce the frequency and start watering thoroughly once or twice a week.
Great, your new lawn is growing vigorously. Now you have to cut it. Make sure you only mow the top third of the grass blades. Adjust your mower to high setting to keep the lawn nice and thick. When you cut it too short, weeds can sneak in.
You May Like: Ace Lawn Mower Blade Sharpening
How To Prepare The Soil For Grass Seed
Before spreading the grass seed over your soil, you need to prepare the seed bed to ensure that the lawn can grow properly.
Decide Whether You Need A Soil Improver
This does take more time and also adds to the expense of creating a new lawn. As a result, many people skip this step.
However, it makes a huge difference in how well your lawn establishes and grows in the long term. As such, I advise you to improve your soil if you can.
Heavy, Clay-Like Soil
If your soil is heavy and clay-like, add some fine gravel to improve drainage and add compost or well-rotted organic matter to add nutrients which your soil might be deficient in.
If your soil is sandy and free-draining, add some compost or well-rotted organic matter to improve water retention. This will add nutrients and also help to keep moisture in the soil where it can be used by the new grass.
No matter if you have clay-like soil or sandy soil, the addition of compost will always help. I like to use Rolawns Soil Improving Compost for larger areas but any compost, well-rotted organic material or manure will do.
To mix it into the soil, spread it over the surface and turn the soil over again with a fork, spade or rotavator.
Recommended Reading: Speedwell In Lawn
Planting Grass Seed In Spring
Spring is another great time to seed the lawn. Its particularly good if you live where springs are long and cool. For spring planting, its absolutely essential that you continue to regularly water the seed and the sprouted grass through the remainder of the spring, summer, and well into the fall. Establishment failures are often connected to improper watering. Early summer is another possible time, but youll need to water more often.
Seeded Lawn Care Tips
Once the lawn is seeded, youll do best to follow a few important seeded lawn care tips. The first is to mulch the seeded lawn lightly with straw. Cover about 75% of the ground. A light layer of straw holds in moisture and prevents the seeds from blowing away.
Irrigation is also very important. Keep the soil damp at all times, but never provide so much water that it will wash away the grass seeds. Different types of grass seeds require different amounts of irrigation.
For example, a seeded Bermuda grass lawn must be lightly watered three or four times a day. On the other hand, perennial rye seeds need water twice a day. It may be necessary to water with the hose until the seeds germinate.
Don’t Miss: How To Recover Patio Chairs
S Of Preparation For Successful Seed Planting
Growing a healthy, long-lasting lawn from seed is a process which starts well before you even open that bag of seed. Its not as simple as just scattering seeds over some dirt and watching them grow. Preparing the area is a crucial part of successful lawn seed planting.
Before you go ahead and plant your lawn, here are the steps you need to take to ensure that your turf gets the best start in life.
Removing the existing plants
If theres the a patch of weeds, an existing lawn, or remnants of an old garden in the place where your new turf is going to go, youve got to make sure that theyre completely killed before you start planting seeds. This reduces the likelihood of weeds and grasses sprouting in your new lawn.
Once everything is dead, which will usually take a few weeks, strip off any old turf. Its important to do this rather than just hoeing, digging, and turning it into the soil. If you dont remove the old turf it wont break down evenly and it will cause air pockets in your soil and cause bumpiness. Instead, take off all of the old turf and store it in a bag. It will eventually rot and make great compost!
Raking out stones and debris
Utilising your soil report
If you had the soil tested, now is the time to act on the results. Soil too acidic? Need to add lime? Whatever it is that you need to make your soil top notch, add it in now.
Turning up the soil
Raking, leveling, and treading
Maintain The New Grass
Continue watering up to three times per day to keep the soil moist until the new grass is ready to mow: about 4 inches tall, or as recommended on the seed packaging. Mow the grass to no less than 3 inches in height . Make sure the grass gets plenty of water until it has grown enough to need three mowings. From that point on, water the grass with the normal schedule for the area, the current weather, and the type of grass. It’s also a good idea to pull new weeds as they emerge to prevent them from spreading.
Read Also: When To Apply Weed And Feed In Iowa
What Climate Are You In
Theres more to planting grass seed than just raking up the ground and tossing down some seed. One of the first things you need to figure out is what type of grass will grow in your climate. Warm-season grasses wont grow in areas where it gets cold, and cool season grasses wont grow where it gets hot.
If you live in a cool season climate, the best time to plant your grass is late summer to early fall. This is because this type of grass grows best in the fall, spring and some areas, even winter. When grass seed is planted in late summer or early fall, the ground has still retained enough warmth for the grass seed to germinate quickly. Then the young seedlings have enough time with the upcoming cool season to become firmly established before the first lawn mowing.
But, you can also plant grass seed in the early spring in a cool-season lawn. Its the second-best time to plant because of the hot weather, and the young shoots of grass will have less time to become established. But you can still get good results if you begin seeding early enough in the season. With warm season grasses, they are planted in late spring to get the best results. The weather is mild enough, so your grass seed will become established. But, with the heat of summer, the most vigorous growth of your grass will be starting soon before a much-needed lawn mowing.
First Treat The Weeds
Youll never get rid of weed seeds in the soil but in most cases, once your grass seed germinates, a nice thick sward of grass and regular mowing will sort out any cheeky annual weeds. The ones that you really dont want popping up all over the place, are the perennials. Particularly not weed grasses or things like nettles, docks, dandelions and daisies. All of these need to be cleared from the area.
Before you start stirring up the soil for grass seed, use a systemic herbicide to kill the leaves and roots. The keyword here is systemic. These are the weedkillers like glyphosate Roundup that circulate through the plants whole system and ensure that nothing is left alive. Beware the cheap alternatives that just turn the leaves brown but dont affect the roots.
To make life easier when you come to clear the area later mow it nice and close before applying the weed killer but be sure to leave enough vegetation to absorb the herbicide.
When applying sprays, always wear the right protective gear and follow the manufacturers instructions to the letter. No spraying on windy days either a little bit of spray drift can decimate your prize plants.
Glyphosate will take 3-4 weeks to work properly, so be patient.
Don’t Miss: When To Aerate Lawn In Iowa
How To Grow A New Lawn From Grass Seed
These 10 simple steps show the best way to grow grass helping you to create that perfect lawn:
Step 1 – Clear the area
Prepare the soil for grass seed by clearing the area and removing any large stones, weeds and other debris.
Step 2 – Improve the soil
It’s easier to fix soil problems before your new lawn is in place. For clay soils, mix in sharp sand to aid drainage and composition. Cultivate the soil to a depth of 15cm to aerate the soil and break up compaction. This creates better drainage and aids nutrient distribution. Remove any further debris which is unearthed.
Step 3 – Create a level seed bed
Rake the area, then level the surface. This can be done by dragging a straight edge, in different directions across the surface. Then use a lawn roller to firm the soil so that it is possible to stand on the surface without leaving imprints.
Step 4 – Allow the soil to settle
Step 5 – Final ground preparation
Lightly work the surface with a rake to create a fine tilth. Adding a Pre-seeding Lawn Fertiliser ensures the soil contains all of the nutrients required for grass seed to develop healthily.
Step 6 – Buy your grass seed
It’s important to buy the best grass seed for your soil type and situation – our handy guide on which grass seed is best will help you figure out which seed is most suitable.
Preparing The Ground For Planting
After selecting and purchasing the seed, its time to prepare the soil for the planting process. This is a very important step in knowing how to plant grass seed successfully. The tender roots of young grass plants will not grow well in compacted soils so its essential that this step be done properly. Here are instructions for prepping the ground to overseed bare spots in an established lawn and instructions on how to prepare for planting grass seed in a large bare area.
Preparation for seeding a bare spot in the lawn: Begin by using a cultivator to remove the dead grass. If its a small spot, use a hand cultivator. If its a larger spot, use a diamond hoe or warren hoe. Then, dig up the area down to a depth of two or three inches with a shovel or trowel. Loosen the soil and break up any clumps.
Preparation for planting grass seed in a large bare area: If you want to know how to plant grass seed in larger areas successfully, begin by loosening the top three to five inches of soil. Use a rototiller for the job if its a very large lawn area. Use a shovel or hoe if its an area thats just a few square feet.
Whether the area is small or large, after loosening the soil, its time to rake it smooth. Use a bow rake or a seeding rake to further break up any soil clods and rake the soil out into fine particles and a smooth finish. Use the tines of the rake to smash any large clumps of dirt if necessary.
Recommended Reading: What Kills Violets But Not Grass
How To Plant Grass Seed: A Simple Guide To Success
Lawns are everywhere. Some are highly tended others, not so much. My own lawn is a mixed planting of three types of turf grass , clover, violets, ground ivy, and various other weeds, which is exactly how I like it . Regardless of how perfectionistic you are about your lawn, at one point or another, youll find yourself needing to plant grass seed. Whether its to fill in a bare spot left behind by Fido or a wayward snowplow, or to install a brand-new lawn after a construction project, learning how to plant grass seed is a necessity for most homeowners. This article offers a simple guide to success, no matter the reason for your reseeding efforts.
Choose The Correct Grass Seed
Choose a grass that is right for your lifestyle, budget, and location. Start by thinking about the type of lawn you want and the growing conditions in your area. Will the lawn get full sun or partial? Will it get a lot of foot traffic or be used by pets? If youre unsure what type of grass you should grow, check out our Grass Seed Identifier article, which will help you find a grass type that matches your growing conditions.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of A Riding Lawn Mower
Water And Keep Off The Lawn
Finally, you will want to water your lawn for about 2-3 weeks.
You will want to water your lawn at least every other day to ensure your little baby grass is able to come in properly.
Be sure to follow the best practices for watering the lawn.
For best results water in the early morning before the sun rises.