1. Read the Instructions!
This is by far the most important step. Following the directions that come along with your seed is the best thing you can do for success. Keep them handy even after you’ve completed the seeding process. It never hurts to have a point of reference even after you’ve planted the seed.
2. Remove the Bad Stuff
Great soil is essential to seeding a lawn, especially with your tiny grass seeds competing for nutrients and seeking the power to shoot up. Remove any existing vegetation, dead grass, and debris from your lawn.
3. Apply Fertilizer
Follow the directions to determine what kind of fertilizer and soil amendments you need for your lawn. If you’re in the Southeast, we recommend Soil3 organic compost and an application of fertilizer according to the results of a soil test.
4. Even Out the Lawn
Rake or till your soil amendments in to make sure they’re well mixed and the soil is level. Use a landscape roller to level out the lawn. They’re inexpensive to rent from your local equipment rental store and easy to fill with water to get to the optimum heaviness. Leveling the lawn now with a roller is easier than going back and correcting any uneven areas.
5. Divide Your Seeds in Half & Spread
In order to distribute your seed evenly, you’ll want to divide the bag of seed in half and spread half going North to South, then the remaining half East to West with a rotary spreader.
6. Rake the Seed In
Now ensure your seed is just below the surface of the soil so it can still receive the amount of sun necessary to thrive. 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep is ideal, and you don’t want to bury the seeds any deeper.
7. Water At Least 2 Times Per Day
Here’s the important part. (Another important part? I promise it’s not overkill. It’s crucial!) Because you chose seed over sod, you saved a lot of money. Congratulations on being frugal. Clark Howard would be proud. However, you’ll need to invest a little extra in your watering practices because of the seed’s fragile nature. For the first 21 days after seeding, water lightly at least twice per day to ensure the seed bed stays moist. Sometimes in the heat of summer more water will be necessary. Keep an eye on how moist the soil is.
8. Wait 3 Weeks for Sprouts to Appear
And now the hard part. You won’t see sprouts until about three weeks out, and even then they will be very, very small. Take heart! This isn’t the end of the world. Your lawn will grow in slowly but surely. It will take a few months before you really feel like you have a yard, and it can take a couple of growing seasons for this warm season lawn to fill in all the way.
9. Rake in the Awards
Luckily, the wait is worth it. If you are patient, you’ll be enjoying the “Lawn of the Month” sign before you know it, and your neighbors will be asking you for landscaping advice. Just have patience!
Ready to grow your own lawn now?
Topics: How-To, lawn from seed, Warm Season Turfgrass, DIY, Seeding Best Practices, soil preparation