Whether you are renovating a space in your yard or simply over-seeding, there are some things that would be advantageous for you to know before beginning, especially if you have never worked with grass seed before. Laying down grass seed is certainly less expensive than laying sod. It will take a little more time and effort with the grass seed than with simply putting in sod.
Grass seed is used to start new lawns from scratch, to over sow existing lawns, or to simply reseed a bare spot in the landscape. There is a little disagreement as to the ideal time for sowing seed. It will certainly depend on the part of the country that you live in, as well as the type of grass seed that you are sowing. It is preferable that the temperature to be at least in the 70’s and not too hot. In colder climates, people are usually ready to sow seeds in April when the soil is just warming up.
The other optimum time to plant is in August or September. In the southern states August would still be too hot to plant seed, so this will vary according to your location. The warm weather, along with the proper amount of moisture, will be prime seed planting time. This is when seeds can germinate quickly. By growing in the fall the grass can establish itself before the drought and wear and tear of the following year’s summer. If you plant in April, you will need to water more often and will have to deal with traffic on, or around the seeding site.
Choosing the right type of grass
There are many different kinds of grass each with its own specifications. If you live in a cool, or temperate zone, you should choose cool-season grasses such as fine fescue. If you live in a mild climate you can choose a warm-season grass such as bermuda or bahia.
Before over-sowing or reseeding, be sure to clear off the area that you are going to seed. All weeds should be cleared. Make sure you level the ground and break up the soil. Then, you should apply a special fertilizer that is for starter grasses. This will be labeled on your fertilizer so be sure to read the directions to make sure of the application amount. You can use a small spreader or, for a small patch or area, you can do it by hand.
Spread the seed by whichever method you choose. Water your seeded area to get it wet enough, but not so much as to have the seeds float to the top of the soil. Your newly seeded area will need to be watered everyday until the grass reaches about 2 inches tall. It is very important that the soil not dry out. If your soil is dry, your seed will dry up and you will have no grass develop from the seed.
You might find that you will only need to reseed areas, such as bare area next to a path or coming off of a deck or patio. Over-sowing is sometimes needed in places where there is still some grass,but where it is sparse. These areas, may be next to your canvas gazebo, or pergola, or where ever the traffic has damaged existing grass.
Reseeding is used for bare spots or small areas that has no grass. Rake or fork through the soil to get it cleaned and level. Then, add a starter fertilizer and then your seed. Water lightly and cover with a netting or material that is specific for helping seeds to germinate. This type of material can usually be purchased from a lawn and garden center or a hardware store. Be sure to water daily and not let the soil dry out.
Let grass reach 2” before mowing. Wait a while before you add any other fertilizer. This will allow time for your grass to become established. Trying to add regular lawn fertilizer too soon will result in burning your grass seed because fertilizer will be too strong for the young plants and could even kill your grass.