An easy to follow seeding grass guide for a lawn with lush, dense grass, no bare spots, weed control, and a backyard you can enjoy all summer long The homeowner's guide to seeding from scratch or spot seeding The best of the best in Indiana The very best time to seed your lawn in Indiana is in fall
How to Plant Grass Seed and Grow Your Best Lawn Yet
Landscaping an emerald lawn comes with an important skill: seeding grass. The health of your existing lawn—front yard or backyard—is decidedly linked to the state of your grass. A verdant yard can’t exist on its own, and it’s good practice to reseed every three to four years. The frequency of seeding grass often depends on foot traffic and whether pets have wreaked havoc in your yard and left bare spots. Maintaining your grass not only helps with weed control but will keep larger areas from thinning out. Seeding grass regularly is what gives your lawn that plush density and curb appeal.
“During the 1800s and 1900s, lawns were considered a status symbol,” David Angelov, CEO of PlantParenthood in Swampscott, Massachusetts, says. “Back then, it was really hard to maintain, so if you had a pristine lawn, you were considered in good status.” Whether you want to live like nobility or grow a small patch of new grass, here is the DL on seeding grass.
What is grass seed?
All existing lawns start from grass seedlings at some point. If you skip seeding grass, your yard will look like an unkempt plot. Grass seed is exactly what it sounds like: the seeds from which new grass will germinate. Generally, grass seeds are a light tan color and range in size from a quarter of an inch to three-quarters of an inch, depending on the variety. Angelov points out that the grass lawn is made up of millions of tiny individual plants that are matted together. “When the seed germinates, it spreads the root down,” he says. “Each seed shoots up one blade of grass, and then they spread like a carpet.”
How do you choose the correct grass seed for your lawn?
The best grass seed for your lawn comes down to a few factors: local climate, expected usage, and the aesthetic. First determine whether your lawn is best suited for warm-season grasses or cool-season grasses.
Then, consider foot traffic. Do you plan to entertain or play on your new lawn? Decide if the grass will endure the shenanigans. Look at your existing lawn and landscaping and note the amount of shade your yard is getting. Finally, think about how you want the lawn to look. Outlining these considerations is especially helpful when asking for recommendations when you head to a local nursery or garden store.
What are some common grass seed varieties?
Grass seed comes in many different types, each with its own look and care requirements. For lawns, you’ll usually find turfgrass, which is narrow-leaved grass seed species that you can mow short, about two inches or shorter. This grass seed can tolerate foot traffic well. Generally, turfgrasses are divided into two categories: warm-season and cool-season grass.
Warm-season grasses begin active growth in late spring and are generally more tolerant to heat. Cool-season grasses, on the other hand, begin active growth much earlier in the season, usually mid spring, and grow better in cooler climates. Some common grasses you’ll find as part of a lawn include:
The homeowner’s guide to seeding from scratch or spot seeding
The best of the best in Indiana
The very best time to seed your lawn in Indiana is in fall (late August through early October) when cooler temperatures prevent seeds from drying out, but there’s still enough sun and rain to encourage a strong start before winter hibernation. Because crabgrass and other weeds die off this time of year, seeds also have a better chance for success without a lot of competition. Spring comes in a close second (early March through mid-May) with cool conditions and plenty of moisture. And while timing is of the essence, so is a little research.
This year, we’ve done it for you! Check out this list of Indiana’s most common lawn grasses, their strengths, and potential weaknesses. It all depends on your lawn requirements. Just below, you’ll also find a list of Execu-Turf grass seed blends that bring the best of all varieties together.
Indiana’s Common Lawn Grasses
- Spreading growth habit
- Good wear tolerance and recovery
- Excellent color, density, and texture
- Slow germination and establishment
- Heat intolerance
- Excellent for shade and low-maintenance lawns
- Good establishment
- Attractive leaf that tolerates lower cutting height
- Heat and drought tolerant
- Medium germination, between blue and rye
- Sensitive to traffic and wear until established
- Excellent germination, establishment and wear tolerance
- Good disease tolerance
- Compatible with bluegrass and fine fescue
- Excellent for overseeding thin/damaged turf
- Fair shade tolerance
- Underperformer in low fertility
- Best heat and drought tolerance
- Longest green
- Tough, excellent wear tolerance
- Requires less water and fertilizer
- Not as attractive as blue or perennial rye
- Doesn’t spread as quickly as blue
Execu-Turf Grass Seed Blends
- 20% Stellar Ryegrass
- 20% Apple Ryegrass
- 20% Pangea Ryegrass
- 15% Milagro KY Bluegrass
- 15% Impact KY Bluegrass
- 10% Jackpot KY Bluegrass
- FOR NEW LAWNS: 4-5lbs/1000sq ft or 220lbs/acre
- OVERSEEDING: 2-3lbs/1000sq ft
- 20% Perennial Rye
- 20% Kentucky Bluegrass
- 20% Creeping Red Fescue
- 20% Chewing Red Fescue
- 20% Hard Fescue
- FOR NEW LAWNS: 4-6lb/1000sq ft or 225lb/acre
- OVERSEEDING: 2-3lb/1000sq ft
- 30% Aquavita Tall Fescue
- 30% Rhambler SRP Tall Fescue
- 20% 2nd Millennium Tall Fescue
- 10% Jump Start Kentucky Bluegrass
- 10% Rainwater Perennial Ryegrass
- FOR NEW LAWNS: 8-10lbs/1000sq ft or 425lbs/acre
- OVERSEEDING: 4-5lbs/1000sq ft
- 34% 3rd Millennium SRP Tall Fescue
- 33% Firecracker SLS Tall Fescue
- 33% Cochise IV Tall Fescue
- FOR NEW LAWNS: 8-10lbs/1000sq ft or 425lbs/acre
- OVERSEEDING: 4-5lbs/1000sq ft
- Blend of Kentucky Bluegrass
- FOR NEW LAWNS: 3lb/1000sq ft or 130lb/acre
- OVERSEEDING: 4-5lb/1000sq ft
Starting from Scratch
A few tips for those of you moving into new homes or renovating an entire lawn:
- PREPARE THE SEED BED: Turn soil, remove rocks or debris, and rake smooth. Top-dress with a light covering of nutrient-rich topsoil, which will give your seed direct contact with fertile soil.
- ENGAGE SEED: Gently rake seed into the top 1/2-inch of soil for rapid, uniform germination.
- APPLICATION: Use a broadcast or drop spreader to apply Elements fertilizer, a gentle option for new seed. We love this stuff for the way it breaks up clay soil and helps transport a power protein shake of nutrients to seeds.
- PROTECT SEED: Apply EZ Mulch or straw to prevent seed loss and to help with germination and moisture retention.
- WATER: Thoroughly water, being careful to avoid water run-off or puddles. Then water everyday for 15 minutes until seeds germinate . The goal is to keep the soil consistently moist. In the event of extreme temperatures, more than one daily watering may be necessary. After your seeds germinate, water every other day for 15 minutes to keep the roots sufficiently moist. After about week 5, your lawn should be established and require only 1” of water/week.
A simple, 4-step approach to RESEEDING PATCHES:
- RAKE: Remove dead turf.
- PREPARE: Apply a thin layer (approx. 1”) of topsoil and the recommended amount of Elements lawn starter fertilizer over entire patch/area.
- SEED: Spread your grass seed blend by hand or with a spreader (based on size of area) at the recommended rate.
- PROTECT SEED: Apply EZ Mulch or straw to prevent seed loss and to help retain soil moisture.
- WATER: Thoroughly water, being careful to avoid water run-off or puddles. Then water everyday for 15 minutes until seeds germinate . In the event of extreme temperatures, more than one daily watering may be necessary. After your seeds germinate, water every other day for 15 minutes to keep the roots sufficiently moist. After about week 5, your lawn should be established and require only 1” of water/week.
A simple 3-step approach to LAWN OVERSEEDING (where turf exists but is thin):