Frequently Asked Questions About Grass Seed
Which grass seed is right for me?
When choosing grass seed, you need to consider location, maintenance requirements, weather patterns, budget and lifestyle. All of these factors need to be taken into account to find the perfect grass seed for you. If you have a bright, full-sun location in a dry area, you're going to need a different type of grass than someone in a humid, shady area.
How much grass seed do I need?
To determine how much grass seed you need, first measure the area. Once you know the size, you can calculate how much seed you'll need to buy. Generally, a 1-lb bag can cover up to 250 square feet.
When should I plant grass seed?
The best time to plant grass seed depends on what type of grass you choose. The timing for planting grass seed is very logical. Cool grasses should be planted in cooler weather, such as early spring or early fall. Warm-weather grass should be planted in the early summer when the soil is warm. Planting grass seed in the wrong conditions will make it very difficult for the seeds to germinate, which is why temperature is so important. Also, cool weather grass, especially when it is new, will not survive hot temperatures, so timing is everything. The grass you choose should have instructions for the optimal planting time on the packet.
How do I prepare soil for grass seed?
As always, read the information provided with your grass seed for guidance and any special instructions. Whether you're planting seeds for a new lawn or an existing lawn, there are just a few slight differences in soil preparation.
If You Are Planting a New Lawn -
Start by testing your soil. You can have this done professionally, and a professional can give you recommendations for how to improve your soil for the best growing conditions. Once your soil is ready, begin by loosening the top 2 to 3 inches. Clean out any rocks, sticks and debris. Break down any large chunks of soil for a bed that has nice small clumps that the seeds will love. If you see any holes or large mounds, try to even those out. Your ideal soil bed will be even, loose and clean.
If You Are Overseeding a Lawn Already in Place -
Mow your grass to as short as possible. Examine your lawn and break up the topsoil in bare spots so the soil is loose. Clean up the area of any unwanted debris, and remove weeds or dead grass. If you notice any spots that are collecting water, level those out with topsoil.
How do I plant grass seeds?
Once your soil is prepped, it's time to start planting. You can add fertilizer before or after you plant seeds, but again, look to your seed packaging for any specific instructions. Depending on the size of the lawn, you can either sow seeds by hand or with a mechanical seeder if it's a large area. Aim to plant roughly 14 to 16 seeds per square inch, being careful not to overseed. This can cause a tough growing environment, as seeds can end up nutrient deficient.
Once you've planted your seeds, you can add lawn food if it's right for the seeds you've chosen. Once you've planted the seeds and added food, cover the area with a layer of soil. You'll need to aim for about ¼ inch of soil cover. You can then add a little mulch or straw to help keep the seeds in place and protect them from washing away. Water the bed to moisten the soil, being careful not to overwater the area.
How long for grass seed to germinate?
Grass seeds have varied germination rates. Depending on what variety you choose, it can take anywhere from five to 30 days. Typically, cool-weather grass growing in cool temperatures will take much longer. If you are growing grass as a cover for between seasons, pay attention to how fast it will grow, as you'll most likely need fast-growing grass.
How often should I water new grass seed?
You will need to water your seeds at least once a day. If you live in an especially hot climate, you may increase the frequency to two or three times a day. You need to keep the topsoil moist but avoid oversaturating the lawn. Once you start to see growth, continue to water as before until grass reaches a height of at least 3 inches. You can then reduce your watering schedule to every other day and then to two or three times a week. As you reduce the frequency of watering, you will need to increase the amount of water used.