Seeding

Grass plants are aggressive by nature (think of all the little grass plants that will try to grow between patio stones or driveways), therefore a thick healthy lawn will not leave enough room for invasive weeds like dandelions and clover. Overseeding will help to achieve this by as well as replacing grass damaged by insects.  In our climate seed can be applied in the spring or early fall (mid Aug-early Sept).  One important note to remember is that seed only likes to be covered the same depth as the size of the seed.  If it is too deep, it will not germinate!

Cheap seed is the most expensive seed you can buy!  Seed must be judged by what’s inside the bag.  Look at the tag and see how much weed seed, crop seed and inert matter is in the bag.

If you start your lawn with problem seed, you’ll fight a problem lawn forever.

When to Seed?

  • Ideally new lawns should be started from mid-August through September because the warm days/cool nights and heavy dew help seed to germinate quickly.  Also, there is less competition with weeds that tend to germinate in the spring.
  • Seeding can also be done from early April to late May – but once the seed has germinated it must be protected from the heat/drought of summer with light, frequent watering.  Approx 1 inch per week total – but not at once.

 How to Seed?

  1. A minimum of 4” (10cm) of good topsoil is required – your existing topsoil many be sufficient – otherwise screened topsoil can be added to existing soil
  2. If applying fertilizer to the soil, always use a low nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-15-20 with magnesium (the first number indicates the nitrogen).
  3. If applying fertilizer it should be raked into the soil prior to seeding, then wait 4 to 6 weeks after germination before fertilizing again.
  4. Ensure the area is free of large clumps, rocks or other debris.
  5. Roll and rake the area to produce a firm, level seedbed.
  6. When possible, allow area to settle before applying seed, this will allow existing weeds to germinate and also allow you to find high spots or depressions that can be re-leveled. This is your last chance to have a smooth, good looking lawn that is easy to mow!
  7. Apply seed either by hand or with a spreader.
  8. Divide the seed and sow half in one direction and the other at right angles to it (think of a checkerboard pattern).
  9. After seeding, rake lightly to cover seed to a depth of 1 – 2 mm, just enough to hide it from birds and avoid run-off.  You should still see seeds on the surface.
  10. The area can be rolled again to firm the soil around the seed.
  11. Water lightly and keep the area moist with frequent light watering until grass is established – do not saturate or drown it.
  12. Keep all traffic off newly seeded areas.

When Will it Grow?

Depending on the seed mixture it may take 10 days for a blend or up to 4 weeks for Kentucky bluegrass to germinate.

Now What do I do?

  • Do not mow the newly seeded area until the grass has reached a height of 2  to 3  inches.
  • When mowing,  do not cut off more than 1/3 of the blade at a time (this applies to all mowing).
  • Make sure the mower blades are sharp or the grass seedlings could be pulled out.
  • Don’t apply chemical weed control (like weed & feed) to the area until it’s been mowed at least 2 times.
  • Water frequently and lightly – no more than 1 inch per week.

 Over Seeding an Established Lawn

  1. Rake lawn thoroughly to remove thatch and debris to ensure the seed can mix into the loose soil
  2. Apply triple mix or topdressing material lightly to the entire area, spreading evenly making sure not to smother existing grass.
  3. Apply a light application of a low nitrogen fertilizer (represented by the first number) like 5-15-20 with magnesium before applying seed. If existing grass is established a slow release 28-4-8 can be used one week prior to over seeding.
  4. Spread seed either by hand or with a spreader.
  5. Re-rake area lightly to cover seeds.
  6. Water lightly and keep the area moist with frequent light watering until plants are established – do not saturate or drown it.
  7. Keep all traffic off newly seeded areas.
  8. Do not apply additional fertilizer for 4 to 6 weeks after the seed has germinated.

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