Want to know how to plant grass seed? Here, we take you through what to do step-by-step to get a greener yard. Don't make these mistakes when sowing grass seed in your! Tips for Planting Grass in the Fall With its milder temperatures and heavier dews, fall is the perfect time for planting certain types of grasses. Follow these fall grass planting tips to
How to plant grass seed and get a greener yard
If you want a greener yard, you need to know how to plant grass seed. Did you know you can grow your own grass? What’s more, it doesn’t take as much effort as you’d think. And with the right method, you can easily learn how to plant grass seed and make your grass thick and luscious.
If you’re new to planting grass seed, don’t worry. Here, we will take you through exactly what you need to do, answering any questions you might have along the way. We will cover when you should start planting grass seed, which seeds are best to use as well as how to cultivate your land. Here’s how to plant grass seed.
Have moles and weeds ruined your yard? Check out how to get rid of moles without hurting them and how to get rid of dandelions. Once that grass seed is planted, we can also give you tips on how to stripe your lawn to make it look bigger, how to make your grass greener and how to lay sod to upgrade your lawn. Plus, don’t make these 7 common lawn mistakes this summer.
How to plant grass seed
Lawn spreader (optional)
1. Select the best grass seeds — To find the right grass seeds for you, you need to consider what you want to get out of your lawn, as well as which seeds are best suited for your area.
Generally speaking, you should shortlist the seeds by your territory. So the northern states of the United States should pick from cool-season grasses, while the central states should plant traditional grasses, and finally the south should use warm-season grasses.
Once you have a shortlist of seeds, consider how hardy you want the grass to be as well as how much sun it will require for best growth. Some seeds prefer different soil pH levels as well, so this should also be checked.
2. Prep the soil — Now you have your seeds, it’s time to prep your soil. If you’re planting a new lawn, you need to till the soil to about three inches deep. Break up and loosen this top layer, removing any stones and debris. Level out any uneven sections with a rake — this is to prevent water from accumulating in a particular area. It’s essential that you do not use weed killer at any stage of planting grass seed; this can kill the seeds or prevent germination. You can work compost and fertilizer into the soil to help encourage growth.
If you’re planting grass seed over an existing lawn, you first need to mow the grass down as short as possible. You can use a rake to help thin out what remains as well if necessary. Use a metal rake to work and loosen the top ¼ inch of soil on the bare patches, removing any debris as you go. Remember to level out any uneven areas using the soil from your yard and mix in compost and fertilizer to help with growth.
3. Plant and cover your grass seeds — The trick to planting grass seed is to do so evenly. For small patches, you can do it by hand, but for larger areas we recommend using a lawn spreader, such as Scotts Elite Spreader ($118.23, Amazon (opens in new tab) ), for even distribution. Follow the packet instructions for the amount of seeds per area to sew.
Using a rake, carefully drag the top soil over the seeds, covering them until they’re about ¼ inch deep. Once you’ve done this, you can cover the seeds with mulch or compost to help protect them from the wind.
4. Water regularly and maintain — You will want to water the grass seed regularly at first to help its growth, keeping the bed moist, but not saturated. As a guide, water 1-2 times per day to start, and then less regularly once it reaches 1-2 inches in height.
Once the grass reaches about 3 inches in height, it’s time to mow it. Just be sure not to cut it back by more than 1 inch, otherwise you will leave it vulnerable to weeds. If your lawn mower is tearing the grass rather than cutting it, be sure to check out how to sharpen lawn mower blades.
Your yard should now have a whole new lease of life. Remember to use fertilizer once it’s well-established (1-2 months old) to keep it looking vibrant and healthy.
When should you plant grass seed?
This largely depends on the type of grass seed you’re using. If you’re planting cool-season grass, such as Kentucky bluegrass or fine fescue, which you will typically find across northern parts of the United States, you’re best planting in early spring or fall. Whereas if you’re sewing warm-season grass seeds, such as Bermuda grass and centipede grass, you should stick to spring or early summer.
In either case, you should ensure you plant your grass seed after the final frost. Cool-season grass prefers soil temperatures below 65°F, while warm-season grass prefers temperatures of at least 65°F. Check the temperature of your soil for guidance.
For more planting tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our guides on how to plant sunflower seeds (opens in new tab) and when to do it, how to plant potatoes and how to grow tomatoes in pots, and how to grow strawberries. You’ll also want to read how to prune hydrangeas, how to care for an orchid, and how to care for air plants.
6 Big Mistakes When Sowing Lawn Grass Seed
In this article I’m going to be looking at the six most common mistakes beginners make when trying to sow a lawn from seed.
You can avoid these mistakes to get best results, save time and save money from wasting the products that you buy by using the following guide
Tip 1 : What Time of year Should to Plant Grass Seed?
My first tip for seeding a lawn with grass seed is going to be around timing of putting the seed down.
Timing is crucial to getting the right outcome and most people think you can just throw seed down any time of the year and that it will grow and produce good quality high levels of germination.
As a rule of thumb in the spring and the autumn are the best times for growing grass from seed.
This is because you’ve got a more consistent higher temperature range above 10 degrees soil temperature and there’s more likelihood to receive constant moisture.
So, tip number 1 is to time your lawn overseeding or new lawn project carefully in the spring or the autumn.
Look out for when soil temperatures are above 10 degrees or as recommended by your seed supplier.
Depending where you are in the UK this is typically going to be from mid march onward and finishing up in the autumn towards the end of September and into October.
There are some special seeds that can grow over the winter time, for example these Cold Start grass seed can get kicking from as low as five degrees.
If you are going to sow throughout the winter months then you need to make sure that you pick the right grass type in order and clear from frost.
Tip 2 : What depth should I plant Grass Seed
Tip number two is around the planting depth of the grass seed.
Some people will bury the seed under lots of topsoil and assume that the seed will germinate from that point.
Whilst this may be okay for planting bulbs and other plants in the garden it is not OK for grass seed.
For grass seed you want to be targeting the seed within the top quarter inch of the soil bed.
If you’re establishing a completely new lawn from scratch this will probably involve tilling over the soil or adding new soil material in.
When this is done, you can bury the seed just less than quarter of an inch in the top layer of the surface.
Don’t bury the seed too deep into the soil bed because it will struggle to germinate and most it could rot or not germinate and you’re going to end up wasting your time and money.
If you are overseeding, you can cut the grass on the lowest setting, remove debris and thatch then apply the seed.
Covering with topdressing will improve the germination rates, help with leveling your lawn, can reduced bird take and lock in moisture during the germination period.
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Tip 3 : How to Water New Grass Seed
Tip number three is all about watering, most people forget this crucial step with regards to sowing grass seed during its germination period especially during the first week or two needs to be kept moist.
This doesn’t mean sitting in pools of water because that’s going to cause the seed to rot.
Conversely it doesn’t mean keeping it bone dry because that’s going to slow down or even prevent the germination from happening.
Keeping the soil moist throughout the first couple of weeks is a really key step this could involve short bursts of water in for maybe five minutes a couple of times a day throughout the germination period.
You can also improve the moisture retention during this period by adding a layer of soil or topdressing over the top which will help retain and lock in that moisture in between the seed and the soil.
One other thing to think about which is a little bit more advanced is the type of soil you have.
For a clay soil this is generally going to be colder and hold more moisture and if you’ve got a sandy soil this is typically going to be more free draining.
Keep it simple, water your new seed for a couple of times a day for the first two weeks and you’ll get great results.
Best Selling Grass Seed
Tip 4 : Choose the Right Seed
The fourth tip is around choice of seed, you really want to choose a seed that’s suitable for your application.
If you need a hard wearing lawn you want to go for a premium hardwearing grass seed mix and suitable for high foot traffic.
Maybe it’s in an area you’ve got to walk across to get from one part of the garden to another and maybe you’ve got kids and pets but if you’ve got high foot traffic probably don’t expect to have a ornamental type of lawn that needs lower foot traffic and maybe different types of maintenance.
There are also grass seeds designed for clay soils such as the Clay King and mixes of grass for shaded areas
Pick the seed type that’s suitable for your application!
Another thing you might want to consider is around shade, now by shady this is going to be things like tall trees making a canopy, buildings or fences whereby parts of the soil or the grass doesn’t get much light throughout the day.
Tip 5 : How Much Grass Seed should I apply Grass Seed
Tip number five is around the seed sowing rate, what I mean by this is how much seed do you need to put down onto your lawn in order to germinate effectively.
Sowing a new Lawn from Seed
If you’re sowing a lawn completely from scratch with nothing but soil you want to target a higher application rate, and by that i mean around 70 grams per square meter.
Over Seed an Existing Lawn
When overseeding an existing lawn to thicken up some patches or repair some areas then you can choose a lower seeding rate, any where between 35 -70 grams per square meter.
If you are new to lawn care I would suggest using the upper range as this can help with any errors during aftercare and application but anywhere between in this range is going to give you results.
In order to really thicken up the lawn you can also lean towards the higher application rates but generally sticking within those two boundaries is going to give you the best results.
Anywhere above that is likely going to waste your money and potentially cause other issues with over crowding.
If you need some help working out how much lawn seed that you need to put down there’s a calculator ->
Tip 6 : How to Prepare the Ground for Seeding
The last tip i wanted to talk to you about is ground preparation, now this is true for both types of scenarios where you’ve got an existing soil bed and there’s nothing there and when you’re starting a lawn from scratch
Preparing the soil for a new lawn
Before applying the seed is the best time to kill off the weeds.
Don’t put the seed down and try to kill off the weeds later because especially in the uk it can be difficult to target some of those types of weeds because there aren’t any selective weed killers for certain weed grasses like POA Aunnua and other grasses you don’t want in your lawn.
Make sure you leave enough time after applying weed killer before planting new seeds and follow the manufacturer recommendations
Till over the soil so you’ve got a nice seed bed for the soil to sit in and refer back to a previous tip which is sit them in the top quarter inch of the soil
Preparing the ground for Over Seeding a Lawn
If you’re looking to overseed your lawn preparation is just as key.
Some things to pay attention to is the amount of thatch in the lawn, you can take a sample of the lawn by cutting a little section out or get into the seed bed and take a look.
If you have a lot of thatch in your lawn, think about the grass blade standing up and layer of thatch in between the soil.
With that thatch layer ‘barrier’ sitting on top whenever you drop seeds into your lawn for over seeding if they’re going to sit on that thatch layer they’re going to struggle to germinate as well as they would if they’re sitting into the soil bed.
So, preparation by scarification of the lawn to remove debris and thatch is a great process to use before overseeding. I’ve actually made a full video step by step on all the steps you can take to do a lawn renovation and i’ll link that below if you’re interested.
The other thing scarification is really interesting to do before overseeding is it creates little furrows especially if you do two passes one in each direction.
These little channels can help the seed sit in and promote a better seed to soil contact and giving the seed somewhere safe to grow.
The last step which is often overlooked is around rolling or treading in the seed, if you think of the seed it wants to be in contact with soil so after you’ve dropped the seed down rolling the lawn or treading in the lawn is going to help compress that seed into the soil bed and give it a better seed to soil.
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Get our easy to follow lawn care calendar that includes lawncare treatments, products to use and receive updates on seasonal advice.
Tips for Planting Grass in the Fall
With its milder temperatures and heavier dews, fall is the perfect time for planting certain types of grasses. Follow these fall grass planting tips to establish a lush, healthy lawn.
First, Should You Be Planting Grass in the Fall or in the Spring?
The answer depends on the type of grass seed you’re planting. Early fall is the best time to plant cool-season grasses, such as Fescue, Rye and Bluegrass. These grasses grow best when the temperature is between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and benefit from the shorter days and cooler nights. There is also less competition from crabgrass and foxtails.
Warm-season grasses, on the other hand, should be planted in late spring/early summer, after the last frost date. These include Bermuda, St. Augustine and Zoysia.
Timing Is Everything
The best time for fall grass planting is right around Labor Day. This will give the new seedlings enough time to get established before winter, while avoiding the hot summer temps.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast. A heat wave or cold snap will make it difficult for newly planted seeds to germinate. Rain showers will help get your seeds off to a strong start, but if you plant just before a line of heavy thunderstorms moves in, you may find your seeds washed away in the downpour.
Also take into consideration any weed control products you’ve used in the planting area. Check the product label to ensure that you allow an adequate waiting period before seeding.
Prepare the Soil
Follow these three steps to create an ideal growing environment for your grass seeds:
- Remove all debris, wood or stones from the planting area.
- Use a spade and garden rake to scratch the soil 1-2 inches at the surface. If your soil is compacted or has large amounts of clay, you’ll need to go a step further and till the soil to allow for proper drainage.
- Add seeding soil to the top of your existing soil and smooth it out with a landscape rake. Make sure you fill in any sunken areas and level out any higher areas, making the planting surface as even as you can. Ideally, you want about 3 inches of good, rich soil for the seeds to take root in. If you choose not to use seeding soil, which contains fertilizer, you can instead add starter fertilizer on top of your existing soil using a spreader.
Plant the Seeds
A healthy lawn starts with good seed, so purchase the highest quality seed you can afford.
Measure the planting area, and refer to the seed packaging for the amount to use per square foot. As a general rule, you’ll need about 4-8 lbs. per 1000 square feet. It may be tempting to apply extra seed in order to get a thicker lawn right away, but this harms more than it helps. It leads to overcrowding as the grass matures, choking growth.
A spreader is required for uniform growth of the new grass. Use a broadcast spreader or drop spreader on large areas for uniform coverage. For small areas, you can use a hand spreader.
Following these three steps will help protect the seeds and encourage sprouting:
- Use a lawn roller weighted with water or sand to tamp the seed down. This helps prevent erosion, as well as birds eating the seeds. Many lawn & garden and home improvement stores have lawn rollers available to rent.
- Mulch with a thin layer of straw to help protect the seeds from washing away in heavy rainfall. Don’t use too much—you should be able to see the seedbed through the mulch. On slopes, you may want to use a seed mat for extra protection.
- Sufficient watering is the most important factor in a successful fall grass planting. The soil should remain moist throughout the germination process, and you should water enough that you get soil penetration of 6-8 inches. Morning and night are the best times for watering. If you’re experiencing a dry fall, you may need to water 3-4 times a day. Water with a gentle sprinkler or hand sprinkler to avoid washing away the seeds. Don’t rush—the water needs time to soak into the ground, or you’ll end up with a lake in your yard.
Once the Grass Sprouts
Cool-weather grasses usually sprout within two weeks. If it’s been more than two weeks and there are few or no grass sprouts, you’ll need to reseed and try again.
Once seedlings are visible, continue your daily watering schedule until the grass is about a half-inch high.
Once the grass it tall enough to mow, reduce the watering to a rate of 1 inch per week. At this stage, it’s more important to water deeply and less frequently than to water every day. This will help the roots establish, so your grass will be ready to survive the coming winter.
If you have questions or would like help with your fall grass planting, contact the experts at Reddi Lawn Care at 316-858-0736 today.
Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Reddi Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.