Creating a new lawn using seeds sounds like a tiresome process, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
If you are well-informed, you won’t have any problems in the long run. Once you learn how to plant a new lawn from seed, you won’t have to rely on purchasing sod and paying for professional lawn services.
Identify the Soil pH of Your Lawn
While some people forgo this step, we highly recommend that either you conduct a soil test yourself or send a soil specimen to a landscape maintenance laboratory and wait for the results. Based on the results, you will know which plants can grow well on your lawn. Most grass varieties will thrive if the soil pH ranges from 6.0 to 7.0, which is the neutral level that balances acidity and alkalinity. Adjusting the soil pH could take months or even years, but it is an important procedure. If your soil has a pH below 6.0, you can lessen its acidity by adding lime products. For a soil pH above 7.0, you should adjust it with sulfur or compost.
Plant at the Right Time
To ensure that your grass grows optimally, you must plant it at the right season.
A significant factor here is to know whether you have cool-season or warm-season grass varieties. If you have cool-season grasses such as perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass, you should plant them either in spring or in early fall.
You could still plant them in summer or even winter, but the grass seeds or seedlings could have problems in root establishment and they might not last due to extremely warm or cold temperatures. If you grow them earlier, they will be strong enough to withstand freezing temperatures.
On the other hand, warm-season grasses such as Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, and centipede grass are best grown during early summer up until September. They require a warm climate in order to germinate properly. Likewise, warm-season grasses thrive in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Since they are made for the warm weather, they have better tolerance to drought than cool-season grass varieties.
Prepare the Soil
If there are some patches of unwanted weed or grass growing in your new lawn, you can remove them using a shovel or a sod cutter. Next, you should inspect your lawn for any sizable rocks and other debris that should not come in the way of your lawn mowers. If soil compaction is prevalent, you must get a tiller or aerator. The soil clumps should be small and the first two to three inches of the soil must be loosened up.
Furthermore, you must ensure that no slopes will appear in your lawn.
To even out the soil surface, you can use a bow rake. Apart from seeing rocks and other debris, you could spot depressed areas where water could accumulate. You could just use the soil from the hilly areas to cover those. We do not commend filling them with new topsoil since they could have weed seeds.
Plant the Grass Seeds
Now that the soil is prepared and you know when to plant, you must now sow the grass seeds. If you have a small lawn, you can do this by hand. If you have a large lawn, you could still use your hand or get the best drop or broadcast lawn spreader to do things quickly. No matter your preferred method, ensure that an even seed coverage is achieved.
Every square inch of your lawn should only have about 16 seeds. You cannot risk putting too many in a given area. Once the seeds grow into seedlings, they will compete for growing area and nutrients. Thus, these patches on your lawn could develop thin and week grass. If you are worried that the seeds won’t grow well, you could use a starter fertilizer before planting them. Remember to read the instructions to avoid fertilizer burns.
Here is a video talking about planting grass seeds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cccB1edQpGw
Cover the Grass Seeds
After planting the seeds, they need to be lightly covered.
In particular, you must lightly drag the soil using a rake so that a quarter-inch think of soil covers the grass seeds. You could also apply a good amount of mulch to keep the grass seeds in place while also providing enough moisture. In addition, mulching will reduce the need to frequently water your new lawn.
Apart from mulching, watering the seeds will help receive moisture and go through germination. Instead of deep watering the area, you should only give the seeds and seedlings light and frequent watering. Just water once a day and do it again if the temperature is hot and dry.
You could water deeper once the grass reaches two inches in height. Once the new grass reaches the mowing height of three inches, you only have to water them twice a week. At this point, the water should reach up to eight inches of the soil to encourage root establishment.
Mow the Grass Properly
When the grass becomes three inches tall, you can cut it with a lawnmower.
However, you only need to remove no more than a third of the grass blades. Otherwise, the grass becomes weakened and weeds could quickly spread on your lawn. Thus, keep the cutting height relatively high to have healthy and thick grass. Also, do avoid walking too much on the lawn while the grass is still growing.
In conclusion, starting a new lawn using grass seeds isn’t difficult. First, you just have to adjust the soil pH level. Next, you need to know when to plant according to grass varieties you want to grow. Afterward, you just have to focus on preparing the soil, planting the seeds, providing water and moisture, and mowing the grass at some point.