Everybody wants a lush, green, well-manicured lawn. Having a nicely maintained lawn is a great way to expand the green space around your property and improve the overall look of your house. You might be a bit intimidated to try and start your new lawn or revitalize your existing grass, so let’s talk about the best way to spread grass seed.
Choose the Best Time to Plant
When it comes to planting grass, your climate plays an important role in knowing when the best time to scatter the seeds is. You’ll want to buy a grass seed type that grows best in your climate, and plant it at the proper time of year to help ensure your grass seed will germinate, grow quickly, and remain healthy while the new seedlings become established in your lawn.
Cool season grasses grow best in the northern states where it gets below freezing in the winter. Spring or early fall are the ideal times to plant cool season grass seeds because the ground is still warm enough to let the seeds take root, but the days are cool and sometimes rainy to help prevent the plants from overheating or drying out.
Warm season grasses grow best in the southern states where the weather does not get below freezing. The spring and early summer are the best times to plant warm-season grass because the grass seed needs the soil to be warm before it will germinate. Wait to plant these grasses until the threat of a spring frost in your area has passed to make sure the seedlings don’t freeze and die.
Prepare your Soil
Now that you’ve chosen the best sort of grass for your lawn, it’s time to start the real work. Whether you are seeding for the very first time or adding seeds to your thin grass, you need to make sure you have a good, solid foundation to ensure that your new grass will flourish.
First, take a walk around and inspect the area, making sure to remove weeds, rocks, sticks, and other debris. For healthy grass growth, the soil needs to be loose and contain sufficient air to retain the nutrients and moisture grass needs. Debris, very sandy soil, or compacted soil affect seed germination, growth, and the overall health of your lawn.
Second, you will need to loosen the top three inches of soil. You can use a tiller or rake. Your goal is to break the soil down and make any remaining clumps as small as possible to allow for airflow.
Next, Check any uneven areas and level the ground before laying down any seed. Divots will create puddles when you water your seed, and the collected water will sit and cause the seed to rot. Go over the area with a garden rake to make the surface as even as possible. You can also apply topsoil at this point to level out the lawn to help you avoid puddles when you are watering and create a nice even look to your yard. You may also add nutrients to the soil. Mixing in compost, topsoil, or fertilizer with your soil can help create or restore optimal nutrient levels for healthy grass growth.
Spread and Feed Your Seed
Now it’s time to spread the seeds. Check your bag of seeds to make sure you’re choosing the right setting for your spreader, as different types of grass seeds require different settings for the best results.
To ensure even coverage, spread the seed to the perimeter of your lawn first to make sure you don’t miss the edges, and then sow the remaining area in an overlapping/criss-cross pattern, spreading half the seed in one direction, and half in the other.
When spreading seed for a new lawn, it’s best to be heavy-handed to ensure that the grass grows thick and has no patches. A lighter coverage is needed when overseeding (adding grass to an existing lawn), adding more seed in thinner areas to promote growth. Once you finish spreading the seed, use a rake to lightly cover them with soil. Don’t bury the seeds too deep, as grass seed needs adequate light to take root. You can also protect the grass seed by adding a layer of straw to help keep your seeding from being blown or washed away and hello cut back on water use.
Your new grass has been planted, so now what? The next step is to keep maintaining your new lawn to ensure everything grows in smoothly and quickly. The most crucial part of this is to keep the ground moist, but not wet. Too much water and the grass seed will rot, but too little will cause it to wither and die. Water two to three times a day to keep the top inch of soil damp to ensure your grass germinates and grows a healthy root system.
Within 7 to 30 days, the seedlings will begin to sprout. Once they do, slowly start to water less frequently but more heavily. When the grass is taller and more mature (about an inch tall) you can taper off watering as often. As the seedlings reach an inch in height, go over the area to search for bare spots or thin areas. Reseed, and repeat the process as needed until the new seedlings are thick and you’re satisfied with the results.
Research the recommended mowing heights for your type of grass. Most grass can withstand being mowed when the grass reaches around 3 inches. If you live in a cool season area and plant your grass in the fall, your first mowing may need to wait until the following spring. During your grass’s first season, avoid as much foot traffic as possible to keep from trampling the seedlings.
Enjoy your New Lawn
The last step is to take a step back and be proud of your new lawn which is bound to be the envy of the neighborhood. You did it!