For many homeowners, their lawn is a showpiece. Not only does it compliment their home but it also increases their living space, allowing them to entertain, play, or relax outside. Having a lush green lawn is also good since it helps to reduce soil erosion, it helps to control heat pollution, it helps to reduce noise pollution and contributes oxygen back into the atmosphere.
If your lawn isn't what you'd like it to be -- or maybe you don't have any grass at all -- planting grass seed can help revitalize your outdoor space. Following these helpful tips can increase the chances your seed will take off and do well, growing into lush, green grass.
1. Choose a seed appropriate for your lifestyle and location
Stop and think for a bit how much money you can afford to spend on grass seed, if your yard is sunny or shady, what activities and foot traffic the established grass needs to accommodate, and your climate zone. Using a guide like the one found on the Scotts website, you can determine which type of grass seed is best suited.
2. Time planting to match seed type
For the most part, seeding your lawn can be done successfully in spring, summer, or fall but there are times where it's better to do it depending on the type of grass seed. Cool-season grasses will germinate better in the spring or early fall when temperatures are cooler; warm-season grass seeds prefer early summer when the soil temperatures are warmer.
3. Prep soil
Before spreading grass seed make sure your soil is ready. Remove any tufts of grass or weeds that are lingering as well as any rocks or debris. Use a garden rake to work the soil slightly, breaking any clods down to pea or marble-sized particles and then level the surface to get rid of any high or low spots.
4. Plant seed and apply fertilizer simultaneously
One of the best things you can do for your new seed is to give it a boost of nutrients right from the start so apply fertilizer at the same time you plant grass seed. Some granular lawn fertilizers are specially formulated for new grass to help it get established and healthy quicker. Just make sure it doesn't contain a pre-emergent that is intended to keep weeds from germinating since this will also prevent the grass seed from sprouting.
5. Keep seed moist until fully germinated
Right after spreading new grass seed it's important to keep the top 1" of soil moist -- but not saturated -- all the time. This may mean misting the area at least once a day, perhaps more if it's hot and dry outside.
6. Be gentle until lawn is well established
When your new grass reaches about 3" tall it's okay to mow it for the first time. Remove only 1/3 of the height at any one time. Also try to reduce foot traffic as much as possible, water deeply twice a week to encourage roots to grow down further into the soil (Lawn Care Academy explains why good root growth is important), and avoid fertilizing or applying weed killers for the first 6-8 weeks.