Planting grass seed is an economical way to expand the green space around your home or improve your existing lawn (overseeding). In order to enjoy successful grass establishment , follow these six steps to grow a lush, inviting green lawn:
Choose the Best Time of Year
Prepare the Site and Soil
Plant the Seed
Monitor Seed Establishment
Mow and Maintain
1. Choose the Best Time of Year
The time of year you plant grass seed has a direct effect on its success. Proper timing helps ensure your grass seed will germinate properly, grow quickly and remain healthy while new seedlings become established. Typically in the Eastern Idaho and Western Wyoming region it is best to seed from April 1 to September 15 as temperatures are more favorable. Should you seed after the September 15 date you risk impacting the germination of the seed or shallow root base due to freezing temperatures or early winter season.
2. Prepare the Site and Soil
Proper grading of the site prior to planting is important, as it helps ensure water drains away efficiently and allows for easy mowing. Sloping the lawn area away from buildings at a rate of 1 to 2 percent is recommended. Avoid creating steeper slopes, as they tend to cause lawns to dry out too quickly. Smooth the site well to avoid depressions, which can create wet spots that are hard to mow and prone to disease or pooling of water.
Remove rocks and other debris that may be in your soil base. If your ground is rocky or seems like gravel, it is recommended to put down around 5 inches of top soil to create an effective base of soil for a root system to establish. Fertilizer is also recommended for establishing nutrients or to neutralize the pH balance of the soil thus encouraging quicker and stronger germination of the seed.
3. Plant the Seed
There are different applications used to apply the turfgrass seed to your prepared site. A drop spreader drops seed straight down in a path the width of your spreader as you move across your lawn.
A broadcast or rotary spreader comes in walk-behind and hand-held types that spread seed by fanning it out in all directions, providing more uniform coverage.
Once you finish spreading the seed, use a rake to lightly work it into the soil at a depth of about 1/4 inch. Don't bury the seeds any deeper; grass seed needs adequate light to germinate quickly. After raking, pass over the area with a roller, which helps ensure the good seed-to-soil contact your new seed needs.
Overseeding is the process of planting grass seed into an existing lawn. This is done to improve your lawn's overall look and health, thicken your grass, minimize weeds, fill in bare or damaged areas, or convert to another type of lawn grass. When overseeding, broadcast the seed over the lawn, and water it in well, following the same instructions as for new lawns.
4. Water Appropriately
Keeping grass seeds and seedlings constantly moist but not soggy is critical to successful grass-seeding efforts. Water newly seeded areas two to three times a day with a light spray to keep the seeds moist. Stop watering when puddles begin to appear on the soil surface. Once the seeds germinate and grass seedlings begin to grow, gradually transition to watering less frequently but more heavily. Taper off watering as the grass becomes taller and more mature.
5. Monitor Seed Establishment
Germination may take anywhere from five to 21 days. Expect your new grass to take another four to 10 weeks to root well and become established. It will take a full season for most grasses to mature to the point where they're ready for steady foot traffic.
Once your new seedlings reach about 1 inch in height, examine the newly seeded area for any bare spots or places you may have missed. Reseed the bare areas, and repeat the process as needed until new seedlings are thick and you're satisfied with the results.
6. Mow and Maintain
Once your grass reaches 3 inches high, it's ready to withstand mowing. Never remove more than one-third of the grass blade in a single mowing or you can stress your grass and invite lawn disease, problem weeds and weak growth.
During the first season of establishment, young grass is still tender, so avoid as much foot traffic as possible. Keep your grass growing strong with regular maintenance. Water as needed to supplement rainfall so your lawn receives about 1 inch of water per week under normal conditions. Begin fertilizing lawns four to eight weeks after seed germination.
Quality Products, Great Service, at Competitive Prices
Idaho Sod offers the option to seed your new lawn or to do sod and seed. We sell our custom blend of turfgrass seed as an option to combine for a more economical option to establish your lawn.
Our seed is packaged in 10 pound bags that will cover approximately 3,000 square feet or 25 pound bags that will cover approximately 8,000 square feet. Pricing on the bags of seed are:
10 pound bag - $50 plus tax
25 pound bag - $125 plus tax
Looking to do a combination of sod and seed? We can do that! Call us to look at options to fit your budget and lawn establishment needs.
What do I need to know for seeding my new lawn?