Grass Seed: Growing your lawn from grass seed in 6 easy steps

Growing a lawn from grass seed If your spouse keeps telling you the pot is greener on the early slope of the fence, you might want to tackle the naked-earth lawn job you ’ ve been dodging. We ’ ll show you how to plant grass seed in six steps. You ’ ll arrant one of the most satisfy outdoor tasks a homeowner can accomplish ( and possibly save your relationship ) .
here ’ s how to plant denounce seed in six simple steps :

Step 1: Remove the Existing Grass

Is your lawn happily surviving ? If your pot is good, but could be better, you could overseed to plump up the existing lawn. For bare spots, use garden tools to roughen up the dirt first. then spread the supergrass seed over to fill in the bare patches .
If your yard is where huffy weeds go to party and half of your lawn lies naked, you should plan to renovate — remove the old vegetation. New baby grass seedlings can not compete with that mess. If you ’ rhenium starting from rub with a new home build, and establishing a new lawn, you can skip to Step 2.

There are two ways to clean your lawn ’ mho slate :

  • Use a nonselective broad-spectrum herbicide. Follow label instructions carefully and don’t spray on a windy day. 

OR

  • Use a sod-cutter, available at most rental companies. Mark your sprinkler heads before operating the cutter to avoid accidents.

once the weeds and honest-to-god turf are removed, loosen the dirt bed so the raw denounce seeds ’ roots can easily grow through. You can use hand tools ( and your toughest friends ), a stool, or core aerator. You can find tillers and aerators at rental companies, adenine well .
Fill gloomy spots in your cubic yard using a half-and-half concoction of backbone and topsoil. If necessity, grade your yard to keep rain or water flowing away from your home .

Step 2: Do a Soil Test, then Add Amendments

once you have renovated your lawn – exposed and leveled the planting surface – you ’ ll motivation to test your soil for the best grass germination and growth. Test the dirt equally soon as you can. There can be a wait of up to two weeks for results and you could miss your ideal planting window .
At a minimum, you should test for pH. This is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of your dirty. Most grasses like slightly acidic dirty, with a ph of 6.2 to 7 .
A simple moisture and ph tester can be found for $ 10. For about $ 20, you could test for the major nutrients in your dirt. Your results will show the N, P, and K : nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash .
The best dirt tests include major and child nutrients. Your department of state Extension service and individual lab offer these services. Keep in thinker your local Extension office can besides provide great information and insight that individual labs can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate, and normally at a lower monetary value .
here are four very good dirty tests you can buy on Amazon .
The test results should give you a plan and shop list for your local garden patronize. Follow application instructions carefully and add dirty amendments to restore what it lacks. Again, use a tiller or hand tools to work the amendments in to a depth of 1-4 inches .
Map of the United States showing cool-season grass, warm-season grass, and transition zones.

Step 3: Choose the Best Seed for Your Region

Your local anesthetic seed adept will constantly give you the best advice when choosing your seed. local extension offices, sow stores, and agricultural suppliers are experienced and understand the microclimates of your area .
In northern states, blue-ribbon cool-season grass, which grows best when temperatures are 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool-season grasses thrive in the belated form and early fall months in the northern two-thirds of the United States .
People living in Southern states should select a warm-season grass seed. Warm-season grasses thrive from late jump through summer .
Between the North and South is the transition zone where summers are hot and winters are cold. You ’ ll either need to find the most cold-tolerant warm-season supergrass available, or the most heat-tolerant cool-season grass .

Best Cool-Season Grasses for Northern States

  • Bentgrass is a standard grass for golf course putting greens. Colonial Bentgrass is for home lawns and likes a low mow.
  • Kentucky bluegrass is a classic choice for Northern lawns. It likes full sun and isn’t shade tolerant.
  • Fine Fescue is a perennial bunchgrass and stands up in poorly drained areas.
  • Tall fescue mix puts down deep roots and is drought tolerant.
  • Creeping fescue is slow to germinate and spread, but tolerates shade, and is good for large lawns.
  • Ryegrass (annual) can be used for a quick shot of green. The perennial ryegrass variety is best for high traffic and playgrounds.

Best Warm-Season Grasses for Southern States

  • Bahiagrass has a coarse texture, is heat/drought tolerant, and is best for low traffic lawns. 
  • Bermudagrass is hardy and stands up to heavy traffic, but it’s high maintenance.
  • Buffalograss is the only variety native to North America, highly drought tolerant, and needs little care.
  • Centipedegrass grows slowly but has very low maintenance once established. In warm climates, it’s non-dormant, so it stays green year-round unless there’s a cold snap.
  • Zoysiagrass is a slow grower, but one of the most cold-tolerant varieties of warm-season grasses.
  • St. Augustinegrass is sold as sod, as its seedheads are sterile.

Best Grasses for Transition Zone States

The transition partition is a blend of temperature highs and lows, humidity, summer deluges, and drought .

  • Bermudagrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Tall fescue
  • Zoysiagrass

Single Variety, Blend, or Grass Seed Mix?

In accession to high-quality grass seed to match your climate, you besides need to consider your lawn ’ s singular properties .

  • Is it in full sun, shade, or a mix? A shade mix is great for dense shade.
  • How much moisture will it get?
  • Is the area heavily trafficked?
  • How much time and effort do you want to spend maintaining the lawn?

Knowing your terrain will help you home in on the conceptualization of seed you want. Seeds are sold as pure seeds of one diverseness, blends ( multiple types of the same variety ), and mixtures ( seed blends of different varieties ) .
Pure seed will give you a unite search. Blends will be less consistent, but one variety may cover up for the weaknesses of another. Grass seed mixtures provide the most biologically diverse lawn : the eatage plants won ’ metric ton look identical, but your lawn has a better prospect of surviving diseases and droughts .

Step 4: Best Time to Plant Grass Seed

For cool season grass seeds, either form or descend are the prefer times, since these northerly varieties of grass prefer strong dirt and aplomb air .
In the South, warm-season grasses can be planted from late leap to mid-summer. Wait until the last casual of a recently frost has passed, and the day temperature is in the 80s .
One of the biggest keys to success is picking a high-quality semen that is right for your climate .

Federal Seed Act Ensures Proper Labeling

When it comes to selecting seeds, the Federal Seed Act requires seed sellers to provide consumers with valuable information on the semen ’ second label .
Under the law, the label must tell you :

  • The name of the grass variety (or varieties).
  • Its purity, that is, the weight by percentage of each type of seed.
  • Germination percentage. The percentage of the seeds that you can expect to germinate. This is not a number the seed companies can fudge. The federal government expects seed producers to run regular germination tests and keep careful records.
  • Weed seed percentage. Look for a seed that has less than 0.5 percent weeds.

Pure Grass Seed or Fertilizer/Mulch Mix?

You have one final examination decision to make. Are you going to purchase a seed that incorporates fertilizer and mulch, or leverage fertilizer and mulch individually ? The all-in-one products are more expensive but are convenient .
Measure your lawn sphere in square feet, and buy adequate seeded player to cover that area. normally, seed bags are marked as the number of pounds needed per 1,000 squarely feet. If possible, buy a short more than needed in case you want to reseed some bare spots .
If you are fertilizing individually, broadcast the fertilizer according to the manufacturer ’ randomness instructions .

Plant your Grass Seed and Fertilizer

To plant denounce seed in small areas, hand-seeding is fine. For larger areas, seeders and spreaders provide more accurate coverage. You can find hand-cranked spreaders, chest-mounted, or push-from-behind seeders. drop seeders drop seeds directly below the unit. There are more expensive commercial sow options as well .
Follow the instructions on the seed bag. If the seeder ’ s lowest set up seems excessively generous with the seed, thin it out with sand or vermiculite .

  • For large lawns, fill the push spreader with seed.
  • Spread half of the recommended seed north to south.
  • On the second pass, spread east and west for even coverage.
  • Rake the top ⅛-inch of the seeded surface lightly. Using the back of a leaf rake side-to-side makes this an easy job.
  • If you have access to one, roll an empty lawn roller to improve germination.

“ We call it ‘ the seed-soil contact, ’ ” said University of Illinois Extension position educator Richard Hentschel. “ You want estimable seed-soil contact. If the source and land are not in familiar touch, the little root radicle may die out before it hits the soil. ” The radicle is the first settle to emerge from a seed .
If you have cragged areas, seeds will tend to wash away to a low point. One electric potential solution is hydroseeding : broadcast medium seeds that are suspended in a fertilizer-mulch slurry. professional landscapers frequently offer hydroseeding services, and there are some hose-end sprayers for the do-it-yourselfers .

Lawn-Starting Fertilizer: Watch the Phosphorus

You need to find out if your state restricts using fertilizers containing phosphorus. Most laws carve out an exception and allow restrict application of phosphorus on new lawns, but turf experts say to let your land test be your guide. If it says that your dirt lacks phosphorus, then it ’ sulfur acceptable .

Step 5: Aqua and Attention

Keep a careful eye on your fresh grass seeds. They lone get one shot to germinate, so what you do now is critical. That means water. Keep in judgment that unlike grass plants germinate at different times, sol if you have a assortment of grass seeds, you ’ ll need to keep watering them until the slowest-germinating species emerges .

  • Keep the top layer of soil moist (but not soggy) down to 1/2 inch. (Too much water is as bad as too little, and overly vigorous watering could wash the seeds away.) 
  • Water at least once a day in the morning and perhaps again in the afternoon if the sun and wind have dried out the soil.

A obscure attachment on your hose can cut down on the amount of coerce you use. share of your lawn may be shadier, separate may have more porous dirty, or part may be sloped. Adjust your watering according to your lawn ’ sulfur needs .
Grass Seed Germination Rates, by Grass Type

  • Bahiagrass seed: 10-28 days
  • Bermudagrass seed: 7-28 days
  • Kentucky Bluegrass seed: 14-21 days.
  • Buffalograss seed: 7-10 days.
  • Centipede grass seed: 14-28 weeks.
  • Fescue grass seed: 10-14 days.
  • Annual ryegrass seed, perennial ryegrass seed: 5-10 days.
  • St. Augustinegrass: Rarely grown from seed, propagated by plugs and sod.
  • Zoysia grass seed: 14-21 days.

even if you planted just one turfgrass variety, the grass seeds won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate all pop up at once. Some will be buried a bit deeply or have a different rate of water concentration. Stay with your watering regimen until you ’ rhenium sure the seeds have germinated .
Keep foot traffic to a minimum. You could consider putting up “ Please keep off the new supergrass ” signs to discourage accidental trample by your kids and neighbors ( and their dogs ) .

Step 6: When to Give your New Lawn its First Mow

hurrah ! Your newfangled lawn is green and it ’ sulfur growing good .
here ’ s how improbable your denounce should be before you mow for the first meter :

  • Bahiagrass: 2-2 ½ inches
  • Bentgrass: 1 inch
  • Bermuda: 1½-2 inches
  • Bluegrass: 2-2½ inches
  • Buffalograss: 2-3 inche
  • Centipede: 1½-2 inches
  • Fescue: 2-3 inches
  • Perennial Ryegrass: 2-3 inches.
  • Zoysia: 1-2 inches

Treat your New Grass like a Baby

Take advice from the ‘ 70s band, The Eagles. Slow down and take it easy the first few times you mow your new turfgrass. The roots won ’ thyroxine be long or well-established, so it will be easy to by chance rip up the young plants .
here are a few tips to ensure a successful first mow :

  • Sharpen the mower’s blade so you cut, not tear, the tender plants. 
  • Start the mower off the lawn and minimize the number of turns you make with the mower. 
  • Don’t remove more than a third of the grass blade in one mow.

After the first hayloft, cut back on frequent shallow watering, and switch to watering a couple of times a week, profoundly. Water six or eight inches deep to encourage your new lawn to root profoundly. once established the lawn will start spreading to cover any gaps .
After eight weeks, your lawn should be well-established. Hit it with a little more fertilizer to encourage deep roots, and take down your “ Please keep off the new supergrass ” signs ; your new lawn is ready for playfulness .

FAQ

Does Grass Seed Grow if I Throw It on the Ground? It ’ s improbable that grass seeds will grow on top of flat, bare territory. The seeds may germinate but the roots won ’ t be firm adequate to penetrate the land. It ’ sulfur best to rough up the soil before sowing for the best seed-to-soil contact. Does Grass Seed Need to be Covered? Don ’ t binding denounce sow with topsoil. The seed needs unhorse to germinate. To protect the seed from birds and washing away, use straw ( weed-free ) or an erosion-control blanket. How Long Until My Grass Pops Up? Expect to see bantam denounce blades in 10-14 days. other varieties of seed may take up to 30 days.

DIY or LSE (Let Someone Else)?

Some homeowners and renters love being weekend warriors, but some of the rest of us prefer anything else .
If you ’ re like me, and you would rather reap the rewards of big grass person else sowed and mowed, consider hiring a lawn concern pro. Give them a bid early on so they can begin testing and sowing seeds at the proper plant meter for your sphere.

* Editorial note : LawnStarter participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an consort advertise platform. LawnStarter may earn gross from products promoted in this article .
LawnStarter writer Penny Warner updated this article .
Daniel Ray

Daniel Ray

Daniel Ray is LawnStarter.com’s former editor in chief. He is an award-winning writer and editor who previously was editor in chief of the personal finance websites Bankrate.com and CreditCards.com, but with 30 years of gardening experience, he’s well qualified to help consumers grow a different kind of green. Posts by Daniel Ray
Daniel Ray is LawnStarter.com ‘s early editor program in foreman. He is an award-winning writer and editor program who previously was editor in chief of the personal finance websites Bankrate.com and CreditCards.com, but with 30 years of gardening experience, he ‘s well qualified to help consumers grow a different kind of k .

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