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Tips on Planting Grass Seed

Updated April 17, 2017

Having a lush green lawn is the goal of many homeowners and starting a new lawn or filling in bare areas by planting grass seed can be a challenge. However, you can avoid disappointing results or a complete crop failure by following a few simple rules used by the experts.

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The Right Time of Year to Plant

Grass seed can be planted in the fall or in the spring. If planted in the fall, it must be planted early enough so the grass is established before freezing temperatures arrive. This may be as early as August in some parts of the country, so daily moisture will be needed. If planting in the spring, plant late enough that a late freeze will not kill the grass. Once again, daily moisture is needed to keep the new grass from becoming stressed.

The Right Variety of Grass Seed

Choosing the right grass seed for your area is the most important part of the seed planting process. Some types of grasses grow in bunches and some spread by roots or rhizomes which affects how the area will look when the grass grows. If you are filling in bare areas you will want a type of grass that will blend in with the existing grass. To find out the best type of grass seed to plant in your area, contact your local county extension office.

Preparing the Planting Area

Prepare the planting area by removing all vegetation that can compete with the new grass. Grass seed needs to have direct contact with the soil. Some grass seeds simply needs to be broadcast over an area by hand or mechanical spreader. However, some varieties need to be covered with soil to a certain depth. All grass seed grows better if the soil is amended with well-rotted compost, peat moss or other organic matter. If this is your first attempt at seeding a lawn, get a soil test done to find out the soil pH and what other amendments you will need to add for success. Your local county extension office can assist you with taking a low-cost soil sample.

Planting the Seed

Plant the seed as directed. The best way to broadcast seed is to mix one part seed with three parts soil so the seed will be evenly dispersed throughout the soil when it is broadcast. If seed needs to be covered with soil, cover at the required depth by broadcasting soil over the newly planted seed. Walk over the seed or use a rolling tool to press the seed into the soil.


Do not add fertiliser to the soil until the seed is actively growing. The nitrogen in the fertiliser will burn the new roots of the grass seed and the crop will turn yellow and fail. Granulated organic fertiliser that cannot burn the roots is the best fertiliser to use as an amendment and while the grass is becoming established. Once again, follow the recommendations of your soil test before adding any fertiliser. If you prepared the planting site properly you will not need extra fertiliser for the first six months while the grass is getting established.

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About the Author

Jay Golberg is a certified Texas nursery professional and professional project manager. He has 30 years of business and farming experience and holds bachelor's degrees in English writing from St. Edward's University and finance from Lamar University.

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