If there is anything that will make your garden look lacklustre and, let’s be honest, something of an eyesore, it is thinning, browning, untidy looking grass. Unfortunately, this is a problem that will plague even the most adept gardener at some point or another, but all is not lost.
Thanks to the many excellent and effective grass seeds on the market, it is easier than ever to restore your lawn and get your garden looking green and healthy once again. This can be done either by completely re-seeding the lawn OR top-dressing with seed to enhance your existing lawn.
So that your new grass grows in full and thick without a problem, I have given you some of my best tips below to show you how to sow your own grass seed. There are a few important things that you will need to do, and seeing as it is quite a long process, you really don’t want to have to go through it a second time. Just follow my tips and you will have a great looking lawn in no time!
First of all, make sure you remove all the weeds in your chosen area, you want to limit their access to the surface when the lawn is fully grown, and removing them right at the beginning is a very effective way to do that. The best way to do this is by hand but you can also use a contact weed killer, just make sure you don’t use a residual weed killer as this will prevent the grass from germinating.
With all the weeds removed, level the surface by treading along the area several times in different directions and then rake the area again in different directions. Once it is level apply and rake in 70g per square metre of general-purpose fertiliser.
- Start raking the surface to break and open up the soil to get it ready for seeding.
- Before you actually apply the seeds, you should set a little extra aside. Depending on how you apply the seed, it can be quite difficult for us amateurs to get good coverage without losing and wasting some around the edges of the lawn, like on paths and garden beds. In order to prevent this, you should avoid the edges, to begin with, and focus on the main area, going back and sprinkling the seed by hand around the edge afterwards.
- By working in parallel lines sow half the seed across the entire area in one direction and then go around again using the other half of the seeds in the opposite direction. This ensures that you will get complete and even coverage of the lawn.
- Begin mixing the seed into the soil by dragging a rake across it and then flatten it out using either a light roller or a lawn mower roller. Again, you want to go in two different directions. Alternatively, you can use a rotary or drop spreader to make the job easier. To see my article discussing the different options available, their pros and cons and some advice on how to use them properly click – Best Lawn Spreaders.
- Once the soil is nice and firm, work in some organic matter to help it hold its moisture. Just make sure the organic matter is well-rotted, otherwise the soil surface will sink unevenly as the matter decays.
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To stop the seed from completely drying out, lightly spray water over the entire area
twice a day for the first two weeks. I know this is a little different from you would have been told when watering an established lawn – watering heavily once each week – but this will move or puddle the seed, destroying its distribution. It is important to keep in mind that different types of watering are required at different stages of lawn growth.
If dry conditions continue after the first two weeks, then continue watering until the seeds begin germinating and the young seedlings become established.
During the second two weeks, you should start reducing the number of times you water to about once a day or every couple of days. Of course, if the seeds begin drying out then you can revert back to the previous schedule. After the first month has passed you can reduce this frequency even further to just twice a week and then the second month has passed, start watering once a week.
Once the grass begins to visibly grow, around two or three days after the first two weeks, it is time to cut the grass. You should initially start by removing about one-third of the length.
If you have sowed the seed during autumn then you don’t need to worry about mowing again until the next spring, but if you have sowed during the spring then you want to gradually reduce the height of the grass until you have reached the desired level.
For the first season, try to limit heavy use of the lawn. You will need to be little careful for the first 6 months.
Common Lawn Seed FAQs
Whilst seeding your lawn successfully may seem like a relatively easy task at first glance, there is a lot more to this than you might think so in addition to understanding the sowing and maintenance process, I have also included the answers to some common lawn seed FAQs.
Is Lawn Seed Safe For Pets?
Grass seed can be dangerous for your pets, but perhaps not in the way you might think. Most people question whether grass seeds will be toxic if ingested by the animal and the good news is that they are not.
However, many vets are seeing pets who have rolled on freshly seeded grass and, as a result, have gotten lawn seeds lodged in their skin. This can cause pain and infection, so it might be best to keep your pets off the lawn during the early stages of the process.
If you want to learn more about Lawn care for owners with dogs you can read my article where I talk about lawn strengthening, treatment and repair in more detail.
When Should I Plant Lawn Seed?
There is no right or wrong time to plant your lawn seed, provided that you give it proper care, it should thrive. However, if you want to get the maximum results, in the UK, planting lawn seed is best done in the late summer through to mid-autumn.
How Long Will Lawn Seed Last?
If you don’t use all of the lawn seed in the box, the good news is that it will keep for around 2 years. So you have plenty of time to get reseeding in other areas later down the line.
Will Birds Eat My Lawn Seed?
Unfortunately, our avian friends are partial to a spot of lawn seed. However, most lawn seed suppliers do coat the product with a bird-repellent which will work in most cases, although there are some birds that will overcome this to get a nice meal.
It could be wise to take other preventative measures to ensure that your lawn seed is not interrupted by birds.
How to Sow Grass Seed Video
If you found this post interesting then maybe you’d like to see some of my other garden related articles and tools to help you get the job done, visit easylawnmowing.co.uk