Best Methods for Seeding a Lawn
by Barb Hopkins
A lush, green lawn not only offers curb appeal to a home, but like the right carpeting enhances a living room, the lawn grass often is a main attraction in your outdoor living space. Seeding a lawn can be a more economical choice than laying sod. Seeding your lawn may be your best option if you have bare spots in high traffic areas or from where your pet has worn away the grass.
According to Tom Cook, associate professor of Horticulture at Oregon State University, the best time to plant a lawn from seed is when the temperatures are prime for rapid seed germination and grass growth. Generally, the best range of temperatures for grass seeding is between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In most areas of the United States, the best time to plant lawn seed is about mid-August through mid-September. However, in some of the southern states where the temperatures are moderate to very warm year-round, consider seeding in the spring when rains are plentiful.
Preparing the area before seeding the lawn is important. Be sure to remove all debris, including any small stones, pinecones or sticks. Loosen the soil—you don’t have to go deep, about 2 inches. If you have a large lawn, a tiller or aerator attachment for your garden tractor/mower can be ideal for preparing the soil. Check out Kmart.com for several choices for aerator attachments. After loosening the soil, use a broadcast spreader to apply starter fertilizer to the entire area. Level any areas where rainwater might collect with a rake to avoid standing water issues after storms.
Spreading lawn seed
The best method for seeding a lawn is to use a drop spreader or broadcast spreader, especially when seeding large areas. Kmart.com offers spreaders in a range of capacities, including a 75-pound capacity drop spreader and a 10,000-square-foot broadcast spreader. It’s important to spread your grass seed evenly. Too many seeds in one spot means the seedlings will be overcrowded and forced to fight for nutrients, which can cause the grass to grow in thinner in those areas.
The University of Minnesota Extension Office recommends spreading seed in two applications, each at a half rate and in perpendicular directions across the yard. Spreading in this pattern will help you to seed the lawn uniformly, reducing the chances of bare spots or over-seeded areas. After the lawn seed has been distributed, lightly rake the entire seeded area.
Watering newly seeded lawns
Newly seeded lawns need water, but soaking the lawn is not necessary. During the first week, water two to three times daily, just until the soil appears to shine from the moisture but not until water pools on the surface. Watering at this rate should help the seeds germinate in about five to 10 days if weather conditions are favorable. Once little, green shoots appear, reduce the watering sessions to once or twice daily.
A professional lawn service may use hydroseeding. This process combines seed with fertilizer, water and other ingredients to create a mixture that is sprayed onto the soil with a large hose.
Kmart.com features several varieties of premium grass seed, including tall fescue blends, shady mixes, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, Bermuda blends and more.