If it’s come time to replace your lawn, growing grass seed may be an option you consider. As the least expensive route to obtaining a healthy, lush lawn, growing grass seed can be an incredibly effective way of getting you closer to the lawn of your dreams. In this article, we’re going to explore the ins-and-outs of planting grass seed, ensuring that you have the information needed to successfully complete the task.
Before you dive into the seed planting process – which we’ll outline below – you’ll want to ensure that you’ve selected a good site and that the soil you’re working with is of high quality. In addition to soil, you’ll want to ensure that you’re giving your grass type the best opportunity to succeed. There are two common grass types – warm season and cool season – each having preferred growing seasons and conditions. Be sure to check which of the two you’re working with and plan accordingly.
Now, let’s get into the grass planting process.
Planting Grass Seed: A Step-by-Step Guide
- STEP 1: MEASURE YOUR YARD AND BUY SEED
Prior to purchasing any grass seed, measure the size of your yard to get an accurate idea of just how much you’ll need. This small preparation step will ensure that you don’t overspend.
- STEP 2: PREPARE THE LAWN
Before you can successfully plant grass seed, you’ll need to prepare your yard. These preparation steps include killing the existing grass, raking out debris, grading the yard, and enriching the soil. Additionally, you’ll want to water your yard a few days prior to seed application – aiming for a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Be sure that the yard is dry prior to planting.
- STEP 3: LAY OUT A LAWN AREA
When applying seed, you’ll need to ensure that every 1,000 square feet receives a set weight. Measure out 1,000 square feet on your lawn so that you know exactly how much seed to apply and where to apply it to. If multiple lawn areas are required to achieve the number, use chalk or flour to outline the areas.
- STEP 4: MEASURE THE SEED
You’ll want to start by weighing the amount of packaged seed. Separate the total package weight into the amounts you’ll need for 1,000 square feet of spreading. Put one-half of the total amount of seed needed for 1,000 square feet into your drop spreader and prepare to apply it – we’re using one-half because two passes will be taken.
- STEP 5: SPREAD THE SEED
With the prep work done, it’s now time to apply the seed to your yard. With the spreader set to a low setting, walk back and forth in rows across the lawn. At the end of each row, shut off the hopper, make the turn, and turn the hopper back on. This will ensure that seed is not lost or over-applied on the lawn boundary. Continue walking until the spreader is empty.
- STEP 6: MAKE A SECOND PASS
Put the second half of the seed needed for 1,000 square feet into the spreader. Make a second pass across the lawn in a direction perpendicular to the first.
- STEP 7: RAKE IN THE SEED
With the seed now applied, lightly rake the soil to work it in. You shouldn’t rake the seed deeper than 1/8 to 1/4 inches, trying to keep approximately 10 percent of the seeds visible at surface level.
- STEP 8: ROLL LIGHTLY
In order to effectively germinate, the seeds will need to have good contact with the soil. A light rolling will ensure that this gets done without compressing the soil too much – use a lawn roller (without water in it) to apply the light pressure needed.
- STEP 9: APPLY MULCH
Applying mulch to the seed will help keep moisture in the soil and prevent erosion as the grass takes its time to grow. You’ll want to use a straw (or other) mulch suitable for your grass, which you can learn more about at a local garden centre.
- STEP 10: WATER TWO TO FOUR TIMES DAILY
If your freshly laid grass seed isn’t watered regularly, it will dry up and die. Water the lawn frequently at the beginning – two to four times daily – ensuring the water gets at least 2 inches deep into the soil. As the grass starts to sprout you can begin to reduce the watering frequency.
- STEP 11: BEGIN MOWING TO THICKEN THE LAWN
Once your grass has reached a mowable height, you can begin clipping it and creating thatch throughout the lawn – assisting in future development. A general rule of thumb is to not take off more than one-third of the leaf blade at a time. As an example, If you have cool-season grasses that are 3-inches long, cut them down to 2-inches.
- STEP 12: FERTILIZE
Once your new grass has reached an age of four to six weeks, you’re ready to fertilize it. Using a slow-release fertilizer at a rate of 1-pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, apply a thorough layer of fertilizer throughout. Following eight to 10 weeks of further development, you can apply a second layer of fertilizer following the same specifications.
Let’s explore some of the most commonly asked grass seeding questions, alongside our recommended answers:
No. In order to ensure that your lawn grows back lush and healthy, you’ll need to strategically measure and apply the seed throughout.
That depends on the type of grass you’re working with. Warm season grasses should be laid in the late spring or early summer, whereas cool season grasses should be laid in the fall.
No. In order for grass seed to successfully root into the soil and grow strong, it will require a freshly prepared soil bed. If you’re looking to assist the growth of your current lawn, fertilizer may be the best option.
No, heavy rain will aid in the watering process of the grass – encouraging healthy growth. The slight adjustment to be made is that if heavy rain occurs, you don’t need to continuously water the lawn, as too much water can be detrimental to the seeds
If you’re looking for expert grass seed planting service and support, Sodding Canada is here to help. With years of experience in the lawncare space, our professional team is ready to help you achieve the lawn of your dreams. Contact us today to learn more!