How to Plant Grass Seed
A well-kept lawn makes us think of the landscaped gardens, which are still the inspiration for the design of gardens and parks. Almost every plot of land has a green area.
Sowing a lawn is one of the simplest ways of garden design. It does not have to be an immaculately maintained lawn. The lawn can also find its lovers as a playground and sports area.
No matter what task awaits your lawn, first and foremost is seeding. This article deals with all issues related to the creation of green areas and their care and maintenance.
What does sowing lawn do?
What would a garden be without a lawn? A green area, which serves as a lawn, playground, or framing of the flower beds, gives the outdoor area face and structure. You don’t need a green thumb to plant the lawn. Seeding a lawn is easy and inexpensive. With a few simple steps, you will soon be able to enjoy a dense lawn and have created the basis for every garden and well-kept outdoor area. Sowing a lawn means first preparing the area for it and then getting a suitable lawn seed and sowing it. When choosing the lawn seed, you should pay attention to quality, so that a dense growth results and you do not have to constantly touch up or completely reseed.
What you should know about seeding the lawn
The foundation for the quality and condition of the future lawn is laid with its establishment. When sowing the lawn, some things should be taken into account. External factors such as weather conditions and wind force have a great influence on the later quality of the lawn.
Below you will learn when is the right time to sow the lawn, what preparations need to be made, and how the sowing is actually done.
What are the requirements for sowing the lawn?
In order for the lawn seeding to succeed, there are some preparations that need to be made. The most important criterion is the preparation of the soil. Turf seed thrives only on deep, well-aerated, and weed-free soil. The same is true for sod. Another prerequisite for the germination of the seed is the external conditions. Turf seed belongs to the light germinators. This means that it is not covered with soil and requires a lot of light and also warmth and sunshine. For the establishment of the lawn, it is further important that unevenness in the subsoil is evened out. The ground should have a slight slope away from the house.
When can I sow the lawn?
Sowing lawn is actually possible around the year because the lawn seed is hardy. The best results can be achieved when germination is rapid.
The seed needs soil temperatures of at least ten degrees and sufficient moisture.
- Spring is planting time. This also speaks for the sowing of grass. However, this should be decided individually, Often in early spring the soil is not yet sufficiently warmed up and this could prevent germination.
- Summer. The months of May to September are ideal for sowing the lawn. The soil is now sufficiently warmed to allow the seeds to germinate quickly, hot temperatures are less conducive to seeding. It should wait for a cloudy and preferably windless day., When sowing in the summer, it is especially important to water the lawn regularly, because the seed must not dry out.
- Autumn. From October, it is less favorable to sow lawn. At night, the first frost can already appear and freeze the soil, If the soil temperature is not sufficient, germination does not take place. Also, the soil is often permanently wet in the fall, which is also unfavorable for sowing.
- Winter. Lawn seed is winter-hardy and theoretically will not freeze, but sowing in the winter months cannot be recommended, The soil is often permanently frozen and thus cannot be worked. The seeds can not germinate in these conditions.
How to prepare the lawn for sowing?
First, you need to deeply loosen the soil. This operation can be done a few weeks before planting the lawn seed. The soil should first be dug up to a depth of one to two spade lengths. Stone roots and weed residues are completely removed in the process. If the soil is allowed to rest for some time before seeding, it has time to settle and can then be leveled before seeding. Before sowing, the area must be flattened.
Firm-ground can also be achieved on smaller areas by using boards instead of rolling. It is important that the subsoil does not sag after seeding and that there are no unevennesses.
The soil preparation step by step:
- Loosen soil
- Remove roots, stones, and weeds
- Level out unevenness
- Level the soil
- Let the surface rest for some time
Finally, determine the pH value of the soil. Corresponding test kits can be purchased in hardware stores for a few euros. The determining pH value should be 5.5. A too acid soil should be limed before sowing. A few days before sowing, the soil receives strong fertilization so that the soil is supplied with sufficient nutrients and rapid germination begins.
How to lawn seeding
What should I look for in lawn seeds?
There is a wide selection of lawn seeds, with each type bringing different advantages and disadvantages. You have the choice between:
- Ornamental lawn
- Shade lawn
- Play lawn
The following overview shows the advantages and disadvantages of each type of lawn:
|Lawn seed type||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Ornamental lawn||Dense growth, Closed surface, Roots deeply, Tolerates prolonged drought||Little resilience, Tender blades, Regular maintenance required|
|Shade Lawn||Thrives in low-sun areas, Can contain the growth of moss and weeds||Less dense growth, Less attractive appearance.|
|Play lawn||Fast-growing, Robust, Suitable for playing children and pets||Not suitable as an ornamental lawn, Visually less attractive|
|Turf||Quickly ready for use, No extensive seeding is required||Expensive. Needs intensive care|
In order for the lawn to meet the later requirements, it should be determined before the purchase which requirements the green area is to meet later.
Stay away from cheap mixtures. These usually grow shaggy and irregular.
The mixture should meet the requirements and thus be suitable for ornamental lawns or play lawns or prove to particularly shade tolerant. Only recently on the market are lawn mixtures with micro clover. The small-leaved clover grows luxuriantly and copes quite well with a prolonged drought.
How long does it take to see something?
After successful sowing, the waiting begins. With the image of a dense and lush green lawn in mind, you will have to be patient for some time. When you will see the first small plants depends on several factors:
- Soil condition
- Light conditions
- Quality of the lawn seed
In optimal conditions, the first blades will sprout after about a week. If the conditions are less favorable, you should not give up hope. It can take up to three weeks for the first blades to emerge. Most lawn mixtures contain different types of grass. Since these have different germination times, it can take up to four weeks before all the seeds have actually germinated. Constant weather and adequate watering lead to rapid germination. The soil should be loosened a little from time to time so that the seeds get enough air. If weeds have spread on the future lawn, they should also be removed.
Can I sow the lawn even when it is raining?
It makes little sense to sow lawn when it is raining. The soil should not be wet anymore, because otherwise, it will smear. A cloudy but windless day is ideal for sowing. After that, it is welcome to rain again. This is no problem for the seed and you save watering. Only a heavy downpour immediately after sowing could be dangerous for the seeds. Then the neatly applied seeds are usually washed up into small heaps and hinder each other in growing.
Sowing lawn: the best tips for the start
Once the soil is prepared, the appropriate lawn mixture is selected. Now you will learn exactly how to proceed when sowing the lawn, which tools make the work easier and how the freshly sown lawn must be cared for.
How does sowing the lawn work?
Once the soil is prepared, the lawn seed can be applied. You should follow the package instructions and measure out the amount of seed needed for the new lawn and place it in a tray. In order to spread the seed evenly, you should choose a windless day for sowing. The feathery seeds are carried away very quickly by the wind, and on windy days it is virtually impossible to manage even sowing.
To protect the soil during sowing, you can use small wooden boards, which are attached to your shoes with leather straps. This way your shoes won’t leave any marks on the bed.
Once all the seeds are distributed on the ground, use a rake to lightly work the seeds into the upper soil layers. The expert calls this process “bunking”. This creates the best conditions for the light seedlings to germinate later. Finally, the new lawn is rolled. Lawn rollers push the seed into the soil. If you don’t have a lawn roller and have only tilled a relatively small area, you can also trample the seeds into place with wooden boards attached to your shoes. In order for the roots to develop well, a complete fertilizer is incorporated into the soil at sowing. The lawn needs a lot of nitrogen. Those who want to create a natural flower meadow, do not need to use fertilizer.
How to plant grass seed
Can I also sow the lawn with a machine?
If the lawn is sown by hand, it is not uncommon for it to grow unevenly and show patches of light. If the seed is to be evenly distributed on the ground, a spreader cart or a hand spreader are helpful.
The advantages and disadvantages of sowing by hand and using a spreader or hand spreader at a glance:
|by hand||Ideal for small areas, No additional equipment necessary, Quickly done||Time-consuming for larger areas, sowing is often uneven and patchy|
|with spreader or hand spreader||Easy operation, Convenient method, Can also be used for fertilizing, Regular seeding||Acquisition costs, Space required for storage, Rather unprofitable for small areas|
The lawn seed is placed in the spreader hopper. Usually, it is possible to set exactly how much lawn seed or lawn fertilizer the device should release per square meter.
The purchase of a spreader wagon or hand controller is not limited to the application of the seed, the practical devices are also useful when the lawn is to be fertilized.
The spreader is moved evenly over the ground, similar to a lawnmower, so that the seed is well distributed. The hand spreader practically serves as an extended arm. Wind is an enemy of these practical spreading aids. A windless day is also ideal for machine seeding.
How often should I water the lawn after sowing?
You should not lose sight of the lawn after sowing. If germination is to start quickly, daily watering is beneficial, unless it rains.
The amount of water should not be too high. It is much better to lightly sprinkle the seeds several times a day. Waterlogging does not agree with the lawn seed and silting should be avoided.
A little tact is needed when watering. Watering should also be done regularly after germination. If there are small empty spots, this is not a big deal. If the lawn is mowed for the first time about a month after germination, the gaps will begin to close all by themselves.
What soil do I need for the lawn seed?
The lawn develops particularly well in loose and well-aerated soil. Sandy loam soil is very suitable. The two components complement each other perfectly.
While the sand provides the necessary permeability, water and nutrients can be stored well in the loam. The exact composition should be adapted to the existing soil conditions.
The following guide values can serve as a starting point:
- about half compost
- up to 40 percent humus content
- up to 20 percent sand content
- pH value between 5.5 and 6.5
The looser the soil, the better the roots of the grasses will develop. Furthermore, waterlogging is less likely to occur if the water can drain off well in permeable soil.
Trivia: What else you should know about seeding lawns
In this section, we want to clarify a few more questions about seeding a lawn. Among other things, we want to compare a sod with a “real” lawn and help you decide between these two options.
Can I also repair old lawns?
Damaged lawns disturb the overall appearance and should be repaired. This does not only apply to larger gaps in the lawn, which need to be reseeded, also if you remove weeds or have a visit from voles, but unsightly gaps will also appear in the green area. In the resulting gaps, the lawn is reseeded. The soil is first loosened and prepared for seeding. It is advantageous to use the type of lawn that was originally used. Then the fastest way to get a cohesive picture. You can easily apply the seeds by hand, as they are only small areas. Then the seed is lightly worked in and watered. In the next few weeks, do not miss watering. You should not walk on repaired lawns for the first three weeks.
Seed the lawn or prefer ready turf?
If a new lawn is to be laid, in addition to applying lawn seed, there is also the option of opting for a rolled lawn. Both types of lawns require care, and the preparation of the soil is no different. In the case of rolled turf, it is not an artificial product, but natural turf strips, which are rolled out on the subsoil. Similar to lawn seeding, it is possible to choose between the types of lawns just mentioned. Rolled turf is usually delivered directly after peeling and should be installed as soon as possible. Short-term storage periods are best bridged in a cool and shady location.
Anyone who wants to enjoy a well-grown lawn quickly is certainly well advised to use rolled turf. Just a few weeks after its application, the sod can be used for playing and romping and can withstand the first garden party. With sown lawn, on the other hand, up to three months pass until it is fully loadable. However, the turf strips also have disadvantages. The laying of turf can easily become a feat of strength in larger areas. Furthermore, turf is comparatively expensive.
You can see some advantages and disadvantages of both types of turf in the following table:
|Lawn Seed||Inexpensive, Easy application, Good growth guarantee||Slow growth, the lawn needs care|
|Turf||Can be used quickly, Dense growth, Hardly any weed infestation in the first few years.||Expensive, Additional costs due to delivery, Installation on large areas often strenuous, Must be processed immediately, Turf needs care|
Lawns need care, whether they are grown from seed or rolled turf. In the early years, the advantages of rolled turf become apparent.
Turf grows particularly dense and weeds and moss have little chance to penetrate the mesh. After about two years, lawns cultivated from seed and turf are no longer different from each other. If you neglect care now, you have to expect the first gaps in the previously perfect rolled lawn. Soon after, the first weeds sprout. A well-maintained lawn grown from seed will now also grow densely and lushly and any teething problems will be forgotten.
How To Plant Grass Seed-FULL Tutorial – Video
FAQ - Sowing the lawn
You don’t need to turn the topsoil over. Just break it up so the new grass seeds’ roots can easily grow through. If you just have a small area to seed, a digging fork will do the trick. For larger areas, consider a core aerator.
Generally speaking, you can plant grass seed any time of the year, but fall is the best time to seed a lawn with a cool-season turfgrass variety. Spring is the best time to plant warm-season turfgrass seeds.
A lawn starter fertilizer high in phosphorus and quick-releasing nitrogen is ideal for starting a lawn from seed. Regular slow-release fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen is best for planting sod or giving your existing lawn a boost.