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So you want to plant grass seed? The good news is that planting grass seed isn’t all that difficult, but the bad news is there’s a lot you need to do before you start. Before you fill up your spreader with seed, you need to prepare your lawn, figure out what type of grass seed will work best for your climate, and make sure your soil is in good condition to nurture your grass seedlings while they grow.
If that sounds like too much work for you, don’t worry. This guide will teach you how to plant grass seed quickly and easily with step-by-step instructions. If it still seems like too much work, check out the section on hiring a professional company like TruGreen to do it for you. Spending a little extra on expert lawn care service is the easiest way to seed a new lawn or patch up your current one.
Many people assume that planting grass seed is as easy as buying a bag of seed at your local gardening supply store and dumping some around their yard. Unfortunately, this approach is bound to leave you disappointed. Here are the six steps required to plant grass seed successfully.
The best time to plant grass seed is the fall, which might not be what you’re hoping to hear if you’re looking out the window in July at a scorched lawn. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to salvage a lawn during the summer, but at least you can start preparing your yard for seeding, so you’re ready to go when the temperatures start dropping in early fall.
Fall is a great time to plant grass seed since competition from weeds like crabgrass and dandelions is usually lower. Still, it’s a good idea to remove weeds, preferably by hand, but you can use herbicide if your lawn is overrun. Make sure to choose a herbicide that won’t kill your grass since not all herbicides work for all types of grass.
You should also make any large-scale changes to your lawn, like sloping or leveling it, before planting new seed, especially if you plan to tear up your existing lawn and reseed it from scratch. Leveling an uneven lawn is a big undertaking, so make sure it’s worth it before committing.
Nothing will make seeding your lawn more difficult than choosing the wrong type of grass seed. Not all kinds of grass seed grow well in all climates, so it’s essential that you choose one well-suited to your environment. It’s especially important to select a drought-tolerant seed if you live somewhere with little annual rainfall.
Cool-season grasses grow in the northern parts of the country and prefer lower temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Their growing season is early spring and early fall, with limited growth during the summer.
The most common cool-season grasses are Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue.
Warm-season grasses thrive in hot weather and are common in the south. Most warm-season grasses grow the most during the summer when average temperatures range from 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The most popular warm-season grasses are Bermudagrass, zoysia, and centipede grass.
Preparing the soil before planting grass seed is important if you want a lush, healthy lawn. The steps for preparing soil differ depending on whether you’re growing a new lawn or planting seed in an existing lawn.
Preparing an existing lawn’s soil is much simpler.
Spread the seed evenly using a spreader. Walk-behind spreaders are great for large properties, but a handheld broadcast spreader gives you more control over dispersing the seeds.
If you’re seeding a new lawn, make sure to rake the seeds gently, so they work their way into the soil. Try to avoid creating piles and clumps. Some people find it easier to use the back of a plastic rake.
Planting seed in an existing lawn is called overseeding and is a great way to patch up bare spots and make your lawn fuller. Overseeding can be easier than planting an entirely new lawn, although it can also be a lot of work if your lawn is in bad shape.
Fresh grass seed needs to be watered frequently for it to take hold. You should water freshly planted seed immediately after sowing, but be careful not to overwater. The goal is to keep the soil moist, not create puddles. Use a sprinkler and move it as needed for the best results.
You should water the new seed two or three times per day in short bursts of five to ten minutes for the first one to two weeks. Once you notice sprouts forming, switch to watering once per day for about 30 minutes.
After four to six weeks, your new lawn will start taking shape, and you’ll need to start thinking about how to maintain it. Many people mow a new lawn too early, accidentally pulling up the seedlings before they’ve taken root. You should wait at least four weeks after planting to mow new grass. A good rule is to wait until sprouts cover the entire seeded area evenly to a height of three to four inches.
When it’s time to mow, be careful not to cut your grass too short. Most people recommend leaving two to three inches after mowing to reduce the risk of the grass getting out-competed by weeds. You should also make sure your mower is in good shape with sharp blades since dull mower blades can tear seedlings out of the turf.
Many people are confused about the difference between reseeding and overseeding. The easiest way to remember the difference is to remember that reseeding is used to reintroduce grass in bald spots, and overseeding is used over existing grass to make it thicker.
Some people might use reseeding to mean tearing up a lawn and planting new seed, although it’s usually clear what they mean from the context if that’s what they mean.
Overseeding is a popular way to create a healthier lawn when you notice the signs of thinning or want to protect your lawn from thinning in the future.
Late summer or early fall are the best times to plant cool-season grass seed. High summer temperatures can stifle seed germination, and planting in the spring doesn’t give the fledgling sprouts enough time to mature before the oppressive heat of summer rolls in.
Warm-season grasses usually do best when they’re planted in late spring or early summer. Warm-season varieties prefer higher soil temperatures and will thrive as the summer kicks into gear.
It usually takes about four to six weeks for a new lawn to look like one. Here are some milestones you can look for to assess how your growth is coming along.
It’s important to remember that your lawn’s specific timeline heavily depends on where you live and what grass variety you grow. Some lawns will be mature after just three or four months, while others may take up to a year to become fully grown.
If everything you just read makes you wish you lived in an apartment, hiring a professional seeding service is probably the right move for you. Growing a lawn is a lot of work, especially if you’re planning on tearing up your current lawn and reseeding it from scratch. Luckily, there are professional companies that will do the heavy lifting for you.
TruGreen is a national lawn care company available in every state except Alaska. The company offers year-round lawn care and maintenance services, including pest control, fertilization, soil amendment, and overseeding. You can choose comprehensive plans that include many services as a bundle or purchase individual services as needed.
TruGreen’s overseeding service is the best option for people who want to strengthen their lawn but don’t want to take time preparing the soil and planting the seed themselves. Prices vary depending on your location and property size, but TruGreen’s outstanding customer reviews suggest that it’s worth the money.
Read our TruGreen review to learn more.
If you opt for DIY seeding, consider using Sunday Lawn Care to source your grass seed. The Colorado-based company tests your soil—you have to send it to them by mail—and will send you a good seed for your climate and soil quality. It also sends you a complete lawn-care package, including fertilizers, organic pest treatments, herbicides, and detailed instructions for using them.
DIY seeding will always be more labor-intensive than hiring a professional service, but Sunday Lawn Care makes it as easy as possible to grow a rich, beautiful lawn on your own.
Growing a beautiful lawn sounds easy, but as many homeowners can attest, it’s harder. Behind every thick, green lawn are hours of effort spent testing and correcting soil pH, sowing grass seed, and religiously watering. Whether you choose to expend that effort yourself or have a company like TruGreen do it is up to you, but we know which one sounds better to us.
It depends on the type of grass you grow but about 5 pounds for a new lawn or 2.5 pounds for overseeding per 1,000 square feet.
Anywhere from 3 to 12 months, depending on your local climate, soil conditions, and what kind of grass you’re growing.
A walk-behind spreader is the easiest way to plant grass seed.
Maybe. Too much seed or too little seed can hamper its growth or lead to an ugly, patchy lawn. Using a spreader will prevent you from wasting quality grass seed.
You should plant cool-season grass seed in the late summer or early fall and warm-season in the late spring or early summer.
At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.
Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each lawn care service’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:
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