How To Seed Grass Properly
Start by choosing the right time. The best time to grow grass seed is when your particular grass species is most active and grows the most. For our climate, we plant cool-season grasses which grow best in spring and fall. To have a fuller lawn in the summer, plant in the spring.
If you are repairing a bald spot, remove the dead grass from the spot. If not, consider planning aeration before you sow more seed. This breaks up thatch and can help the grass look thicker.
Now, you have to sow the seed itself. Grass seed is not like larger seeds such as peas and beans. You do not plant grass seed, instead, you sow it like wheat or other grain seed. You can sprinkle out the seed by hand, paying careful attention to follow the disbursement instructions supplied with the seed.
If you dont feel confident enough to do this by hand, you can always use a spreading tool, like a broadcast or rotary spreader. You can then run a rake gently through the areas you spread the seed. Or very lightly sprinkle on new, quality soil.
You now need to water the grass in order to trigger the seeds germination. Dont add so much water that the seed will run off, but enough to make the soil very damp and saturated.
Time To Overseed Or Reseed Your Lawn
The best time to overseed or reseed your lawn is in the early fall. The soil is still warm from the summer sun, and the days are getting shorter, which means your lawn will have time to establish before winter. However, if you live in a colder climate, you may want to wait until late fall or early winter so that the new seedlings wont suffer from frostbite.
How To Plant Grass Seed
For small areas, use your hand to distribute the seed, flinging it out over the area. For large areas, use a walk-behind broadcast spreader or a hand-held hopper spreader to disperse the seed. Its all too easy to put down too much seed, or conversely, not enough seed. When youre finished, the grass seeds should be evenly spread over the soil surface. They should be about one-quarter to one-half inch apart . If you sow grass seed too thickly, the plants will outcompete each other and their growth will suffer. If you dont sow them thickly enough, weeds may move in.
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Dealing With Existing Problems
If your lawn has any problems, youll want to deal with them before you seed. For example, if there are serious flaws with the lawn that go beyond normal thinning, you should test your soil and add soil amendments if necessary. If you spot any disease or pest problems, allow Virginia Green to treat and address those areas before seeding.
Starting A Lawn With Seed
Seeding is the easiest and cheapest way to establish a new lawn. The best time to seed warm-season grass in most parts of Florida is between April and July, permitting a full growing season before cold weather. Seeding your lawn can be much more cost effective than planting sod, but it depends on which turfgrass you select. Bahiagrass and Bermudagrass are the best choices if you want to start a lawn from seed.
For best results, the site needs to be prepared properly before planting. Make sure you choose high quality seed of a variety appropriate for your area and the site. Remove weeds and vegetation and loosen and level the soil. Work the seed into the soil and cover with sand or another product, such as hay. Seeding rates vary with most species and cultivars of grass. Keep newly seeded areas moist, and apply fertilizer only after the seed begins to grow.
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How To Prepare Lawn For Seeding
Good preparation is the most important aspect of learning how to plant grass seed. Luckily, getting it right is easy.
To prepare your soil before planting grass seed, simply till and loosen the soil to create the best growing conditions you dont need to put down topsoil, says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love .
To till the soil, Hedges Gower recommends using a fork to lightly dig it over to a depth of about 2-3 inches. This will allow new seedlings to take root, he says.
Remove any rocks and weeds as you go, but dont apply weed killer as this will hinder growth.
If you are applying seed to cover patches in a large lawn, it’s a good idea to use an aerator to punch holes into the ground and pull up small plugs of turf and soil.
‘Doing this has two benefits. The first is that some seed will fall into the holes and improve germination. The second is that aerating the soil reduces soil compaction and improves water infiltration, says Landscape Tutor Brian Walker. You can .
To give your grass seed a helping hand, it’s important to feed it. Depending on the product, you can apply pre-seeding fertilizer at the preparation stage, or you can wait until after you have sown the seed to use starter fertilizer.
Rake the soil level before planting the grass seed.
After Your Lawn Is Established
Watering Different lawn grass species require different amounts of water as does different soil textures affects the amount of water needed. How hot the climate is and how much rainfall comes all factors in to how much you will have to water your grass to keep it green. Usually it is best to water less frequent but for longer duration so the water penetrates 6-8 inches down to the deep roots. Do not over water but all grass needs water to stay green. Watering in the night is best to minimize evaporation.
Fertilizers To keep your lawn at its best requires a good fertilizer. Again the amount depends on your grass species and other factors. An application after your lawn becomes established is recommended and then 2-3 application per year. A good lawn fertilizer of nitrogen-potassium and phosphorus should be used. Do not over fertilize.
Weed Control Most new lawns will have some weeds in them. Usually from the fact that most soil has weed seed in it. Usually this is no problem. As your lawn establishes and thickens it will crowd most weeds out over time. Also a broadleaf weed killer can be used to speed up the process but wait until your lawn is well established before a herbicide is used to prevent injury to a young lawn. In some cases a pre-emergent weed herbicide may be useful after a lawn is established to control crab grass or other weeds.
Aerating Can also help water and nutrients get to the roots as well as reduce soil compaction and promote new root growth.
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Mowing A New Lawn: Be Gentle
Be careful with the lawnmower the first few times your new turfgrass is mowed. The roots will not be long or well-established, so it will be easy to accidentally rip up the young plants. Sharpen the mowers blade, so you cut, not tear the tender plants. Try to start the mower on a flat surface away from the lawn, and minimize the number of turns you make with the mower. Abide by the rule of , which is to never remove more than a third of a grass plant in one mow.
Once you have mowed at least once, cut back on your frequent shallow watering, and switch to watering a couple of times a week, deeply. Get water down to six or eight inches deep to encourage your new lawn to root deeply. Once established the lawn will start spreading to cover any gaps.
After about six to eight weeks, your lawn should be well-established. Hit it with a little more fertilizer to encourage deep roots, and take down your keep off the new lawn signs. Your new lawn is ready for you.
How To Overseed Or Reseed Your Lawn
There’s a secret behind achieving a beautiful, lush lawn. Landscape professionals know what it is, but many homeowners don’t. Overseedingas part of a comprehensive, proactive plankeeps lawns looking great. Whether you’re tending your first lawn or have years of experience, learning how to overseed your lawn can improve your results.
Overseeding is spreading grass seed over an existing lawn. Done right, it’s a straightforward process that gets results. As grasses mature, thinning is normalespecially if you enjoy your lawn and use it often. Overseeding keeps your lawn competitive and steeped in youth and vigor, without starting over from scratch.
The basics of overseeding are the same everywhere, but goals and timing vary based on geography and the type of grass grown. For success with overseeding your lawn, follow this basic guide:
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Single Variety Blend Or Grass Seed Mix
In addition to getting a high-quality grass seed that matches your climate, you also need to consider your lawns unique properties. Look over the area where you intend to seed.
- Is it in full sun or shady, or a mix? You can get a shade mix of seeds if your lawn has dense shade.
- How much moisture will it get?
- Is the area heavily trafficked?
- How much time and effort do you want to spend on maintaining the lawn?
Knowing your terrain will help you home in on the formulation of lawn seed you want. Seeds are sold as pure seed of one variety, blends and mixtures .
Each type of grass seed has its uses. The pure seed will give you a unified look. The blends will be a bit less uniform, but one variety may cover up for the weaknesses of another. Grass seed mixtures provide the most biologically diverse lawn: The grass plants wont look identical, but the diversity gives you the greatest chance of having your lawn survive diseases and droughts. Pennington, for example, has a Smart Seed brand that includes a mix of shade grass seed and full-sun seed.
How To Seed Your Lawn
Seeding is the easiest and most cost-effective way to bring new life to your landscaping. Seeding your lawn has never been easier with the seed they have on the market today. The mixes are so far superior to what they ever have been. Personally, I think in the long run, you end up with a better lawn when seeding it as opposed to installing sod. This is because sod is grown in full sun in ideal conditions. The grass has adopted that lifestyle and will be in for a shock if planted in a shady area, or any other less than ideal yard.
If you are starting from scratch you should bring in enough loam to give you 6 inches of depth at every point in your yard. This allows the grass to root deeply into the soil making it disease and drought resistant. The other reason for the soil to be 6 inches deep is drainage. The loam acts as a sponge and absorbs much of the rain water. If it is not deep enough there will be excessive run off or pooling. If you are fertilizing your lawn this is especially important because fertilizer rich run-off is damaging to the environment and waterways.
When should I mow the lawn? Lawn mowing should be put off as long as possible. The grass should be so long that your neighbors will start to wonder what going on. The grass should be about a month old. When you do mow the lawn, it should be done with a push style lawn mower because the grass is still very delicate. Bagging the clippings is also highly recommended.
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The Best Grass Seed To Use
Choosing the best grass seed will depend on your location, how much sunlight the lawn receives, and whether it needs to be durable enough to withstand backyard soccer games.
Identifying what grass currently grows in your lawn will give you a great indicator of what likes to grow there, says Hedges Gower. Choosing the same variety makes success far easier in the long run.
Grasses are broadly made up of cool-season and warm-season varieties which type you choose will depend on your local climate.
Cool-season grasses include fescue, ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and bentgrass, which grow better in cooler climates. Bentgrass and fescue are widely used in seed mixes, while ryegrass is particularly tough so a good choice for families.
Also known as Southern grasses, warm-season grasses include Bermuda grass, zoysia grass, St. Augustine grass and centipede grass. They thrive in areas with hotter summers and milder winters.
Bermuda and zoysia grasses are widely used throughout the south, while centipede grass is a good low-maintenance choice. St. Augustine is more shade tolerant than other warm-season grasses.
Many lawns are made up of a seed mix, rather than a single variety. Seed mixtures are generally a blend of species to suit most lawns and guarantee a better strike rate, says Hedges Gower.
However, be aware that seeding ryegrass, for example, into a traditional lawn mixture will stand out like a sore thumb, and vice-versa.
How To Sow Grass Seed
For small areas, it’s easy to sow grass seed by hand. Carefully spread the seeds on the ground and cover them with about a quarter of an inch of soil, says Noah James, owner of Liberty Lawn Maintenance .
For larger areas, use a spreader to sow the seed. Trying to use your hands for large areas can lead to very uneven coverage of grass seed,’ says Walker. ‘I have found that push rotary spreaders do an excellent job. They apply the seed at a consistent rate for uniform coverage.
Once you have sown your seed, carefully cover the seeds over with soil using either your hand or a rake.
Press the seeds down by standing on them or using a tool like a roller, because they need a firm seedbed, adds James.
Take care not to plant the seeds either too deep or shallow. Bury them too deep and they will take longer to germinate. Too shallow and the seeds will be prone to drying out or being eaten by birds, says Hedges-Gower.
Once you have planted your grass seed, you can apply starter fertilizer if you didnt do so prior to planting. Water immediately.
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Choose The Right Time Of Year
The time of year you plant grass seed has a direct effect on its success. Proper timing helps ensure your grass seed will germinate properly, grow quickly and remain healthy while new seedlings become established.
The best time to plant grass seed varies according to your grass growing region and the type of grass you grow. Lawns across the northern tier of the United States typically consist of cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue or perennial ryegrass. Planting during cool weather in fall and spring coincides with the most active growth periods for these grass types.
In Massachusetts, for example, early fall is the ideal time to plant grass seed.1 At this time, the ground is still warm enough to aid germination, but the days are cool and sometimes rainy. This combination helps ensure newly planted seeds don’t dry out. There’s also sufficient daylight in early fall to allow new grass to thrive and become established before winter’s arrival.
Spring seeding is your second best option for planting cool-season grasses. Aim to seed early in the season, but wait until daytime temperatures are in the 60 to 75 degree Fahrenheit range. This roughly corresponds to the optimal soil temperatures for cool-season grass seed germination. Spring sunshine and rain both contribute to strong grass growth.
Test And Amend Your Soil
You have exposed and evened out the planting surface, but its not yet time to lay down the seed. For the seeding project to have the best chance of success, you need to know what kind of soil you have. So test.
Good: At a minimum, test for pH. Thats a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. Most grasses like slightly acidic soil, with a pH of 6.2 to 7.
A simple moisture and pH tester can be found for $10.
Better: Also test for the major nutrients in your soil. For around $20, you can get a kit that in addition to testing for pH, will test for the major plant-building nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potash the N, P, and K numbers you see on all bags of fertilizers.
Best: Test for both major and minor nutrients. There can be more than a dozen you can test for, and which ones you test for will vary depending on the testing facility and on which micronutrients tend to be lacking in your area. For that, youll need either a fancier kit or take your soil samples to a testing lab.
There are private laboratories, and also many state extension service offices. The latter often offer low-cost or even free soil testing. Here are four very good soil tests you can buy on Amazon.
Test the soil as soon as you can. There can be a wait of up to two weeks to get test results back. If you dawdle, you could miss your ideal planting window.
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Apply The Right Amount Of Fertiliser
For your lawn, getting too much amount of nutrients is almost as bad as getting too little. So you have to be careful not to overfeed it with fertiliser. Excessive fertiliser can create an abundance of thatch, which may choke out your lawn. Additionally, if your soil is too sandy and you apply too much fertiliser, most of it would just seep through the soil and end up in groundwater sources and wetlands.
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