Helpful Tips for Seeding a Lawn
So you want to plant some new grass from seed, but feel unsure about how to go about it. No problem. Even owners of trophy lawns have been in your situation at some point. The fact is, growing a beautiful lawn from seed can be easy. Just follow these simple pointers.
Use Quality Seed
That seems like a no-brainer, but many people think they can grow a showpiece lawn with bargain-basement grass seed. Bargain seed contains empty seed hulls, stems, and too many weeds. Quality seed, such as Scotts® Turf Builder® Grass Seed, is the product of extensive research, and gives you grass that can withstand the extreme conditions in your area. Starting with quality seed simply means less work later.
See our article on quality seed versus bargain seed
Loosen the Soil
You want grass seed to make good contact with soil. So you need to rough it up a little. Loosening the soil also helps tiny seedlings to take root. So rake your lawn, and remove any dead grass in the process, before seeding.
Apply the 3 S's: Soil, Seed, Starter Fertilizer
Before you seed, mix a thin layer of Scotts® Seeding Soil with your lawn soil. This will improve the soil in your yard and help your grass grow in well. Spread your grass seed with a spreader, using the proper spreader setting listed on the bag. After you've spread it, gently run the back of your rake over the soil to create better contact with the seeds. Then go over your lawn with Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter Fertilizer. This will give grass the food it needs to grow strong and develop a deep and dense root system -- your lawn's source of strength -- to help it stand up to tough conditions and thrive.
Don't Apply Too Much Seed
Grass is like any other plant. It needs soil, moisture, light, and nutrients to thrive. That's why seedlings need some room to grow. While it's tempting to pile a whole lot of grass seed on a lawn or bare spot, doing so just creates a free-for-all. What grass manages to grow will be weaker than it would be if you had given it some space. Just use the spreader settings on the seed bag for good results.
See our video on using a spreader.
Proper Watering is the Key to Success
You've loosened the soil, seeded, added starter fertilizer and seeding soil. The only ingredient you need now (besides sunlight and warm weather) is water. Without consistent moisture, seed dies and can't be revived. Water gently, but not deeply, to keep the soil moist. Lightly water twice a day until the grass reaches 2 inches in height. Then you can cut back to watering when necessary.
See our article on the right way to water your lawn
When to Mow
Once your grass reaches regular mowing height, rev up your lawnmower. Be sure to set your mower at the tallest setting. This will allow the grass to grow deeper roots to find moisture and nutrients. If you cut your lawn too short, the grass can't grow deep roots, and you'll waste a lot of time and money watering it to keep it green.
What's Next? Fertilizing
Once you've mowed your lawn about 4 times (or about 6 weeks after you've seeded), it's time to feed your lawn. Scotts® Turf Builder® and Scotts® Southern Turf Builder® are designed to provide slow, even feeding to keep your grass growing strong. You can feed your lawn every 6-8 weeks with these products during the growing season. Make sure that you are using a straight fertilizer and not a weed and feed product as it can damage or kill young grass. Always make sure to read product labels for instructions.
See our article on when to feed your lawn