Are you planning to turn your patch of land into a beautiful and healthy landscape?
Whether you want to start a new lawn or overseed your already thinned out lawn, we are here to give you some tips on how to plant grass seed and make it grow – successfully!
Easy steps to plant grass seed
Prepare the seedbed
It all starts with the base! Whether you are seeding for the very first time or just overseeding your existing thinned out lawn, you need to make sure you have a good, solid foundation. Make sure to remove weeds, rocks, sticks and other debris from the lawn. Check any uneven areas so you can try to level the ground before laying down any seed to avoid water collecting and pooling in low areas, which will cause the seed to rot.
Loosen the soil
You will need to loosen at least the top four inches of soil. You can use a tiller, or for maximum success and perfect topsoil, you can mix one-third of black dirt, one-third of sand and one-third of compost. This topsoil is more likely to retain nutrients, allow air flow and will provide a nutrient-rich and fertile bed which will give your seeds the best chance for vigorous growth and great foundation.
You should still till your yard before adding the topsoil to mix organic matter into the soil and extend the richness down into the ground where the grass roots can access it. You do not want to have a layer of healthy soil and a totally different type of soil down below as that can definitely cause problems with growth. Scatter out the topsoil over the lawn and let it serve its purpose. Applying topsoil will also level out the lawn for a nice and even look which will also avoid puddles forming when you are watering.
It is very important to ensure that the ground is firm underneath and not compacted. There is a technique called “heeling and toeing” which is done by keeping your feet together, and applying your normal body weight to the area to firm up the soil. Follow that up by gently raking it in to remove the footmarks, this will give you a nice, smooth surface.
After this, you are ready for the next part – laying down the seed!
Putting seed into the ground
It’s very important to use the right seed for the right area. You should consider the climate in your region and the type of ground your grass will cover when choosing the seed you want to grow.
You can then decide if you want to plant a cool season or warm season grass, as this is determined by climate.
Another factor to think about is the area of the lawn; is it a shady one or one that gets too much sunlight everyday? You must use a shade-tolerant grass seed mix in shaded areas to ensure healthy growth and a sunny seed for the latter. A shade seed planted on a sunny area will germinate and sprout, but then will die over time. The same fate will come to a sunny seed planted in a shaded area.
When laying down seeds into the ground, you must do a pretty heavy application for a brand new lawn and alternatively the lightest coverage for overseeding an existing lawn. You can just use your bare hands or a spreader for larger areas in dispersing the seeds into the ground.
Distribute seeds evenly
When you have too much seed in an area, seed competes against the other seeds, which then kills everything in the area.
For best results, the seed must be worked into the soil, about one-fourth to one-half inch deep. When seed is just applied into the ground surface, it will dry out quickly and will not germinate. It might also get washed away by water or wind. After sowing the seed, use a rake to work the seed into the soil and smooth the surface. You can add another thin layer of hay mulch unto your lawn to improve germination rate by keeping the water from evaporating immediately and keeping the ground moist. This will also help the seeds that have not been tamped to stay on the ground and avoid being eaten by wildlife as much as they would be if left completely exposed.
Water every single day
The final step in successfully planting grass seed is to keep the lawn adequately moisturized all the time. This is very crucial in the process.
If the seed dries out, it dies! After sowing grass seed, they will need constant and frequent watering unlike the “water deeply and less frequently” watering for mature grass. This is to help the seed germinate and develop its root system for a healthy lawn.
On the other hand, overwatering will hinder the germination process as well, so you need to use just enough water to keep the soil moist at seed depth. It should be moist, and not soggy.
You must commit to water the new or overseeded lawn at least two to three times every single day to keep the top inch of the soil moist at all times! The germination time for grass seed ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on the variety or longer in cooler temperatures.
Check moisture levels
Once the seedbed has started to establish itself and sprouts have begun to pop out, continue to check the ground’s moisture regularly. If you notice it getting dry, add some water.
Remember, these new grass seedlings have very short roots and they will still require very frequent watering so the roots can spread out. Steps one and two will just go to waste if the watering part will not be done appropriately, so your commitment is a must!
For after-care, whether you have seeded a new lawn or just filled in a bare spot, start mowing your grass after 8 weeks or until the grass has reached a mowing height. Do not cut it too short and do not cut more than one-third of its height as it will stress out the grass.
There you have it! To recap, create a good foundation for your lawn by preparing a tilled yard and fertile topsoil, choose the right seed and distribute evenly and commit to give your seeds just enough water to keep the top inch of the topsoil moist. Within a period of eight weeks, you can take care of your new healthy and great-looking lawn!