How to Sow Grass Seed
You have decided that you want a new lawn, either because you have moved to a new property, or the old garden is just not up to standard and it is time to make a change. If you want that new lawn or to improve the condition of your current lawn then read our guide to find out more information on planting that grass seed to create a spectacular lawn.
You want to get that fantastic lawn that you have always dreamed about and made the decision to make a start on it. You have two choices for getting that new lawn, either buy in pre-grown turf to be rolled onto the soil or start the lawn from scratch and plant the seed yourself. There are two advantages to planting the grass seed yourself. Firstly, it is much cheaper than paying for turf. And secondly, and very importantly, it gives you total control over which seed mixture to use for your soil type, and what suits your garden and your needs best. If you do not want to go to extravagant expense for a lawn then you should definitely try planting lawn seed yourself and creating the lawn that suits you best. In general a hard wearing seed mixture with included ryegrass would be ideal for a good family lawn with a touch of ornamental class. If planting your own lawn or reseeding you lawn is your choice then read on below for tips on how to sow grass seed.
Our GREEN GLEN Grass Seed is a mixture of seed which is suitable for hardwearing lawns and ornamental grass. It is a blend of perennial ryegrass and red fescue that is reasonably fast growing. It is fairly tolerant, best classed as medium to high tolerance, of all climate, light, shade and drainage conditions, and produces a strong healthy lawn with fantastic lush green colour. It is a great all-rounder for most gardens in the UK. If you are looking for a hardy lawn that tolerates plenty of usage with great coverage and fantastic colour then GREEN GLEN is the seed for your garden. Our green glen seed mixture is suitable for both seeding new lawns and over-seeding existing ones.
When to Sow a Lawn
What time of year should you sow a lawn? In reality you can plant grass seed at any time of the year but for best results you should plant grass seed from mid-summer into autumn, or alternatively if you miss this timing, you can sow the seed in spring. Most experts recommend planting grass seed from late summer to mid-autumn but you can actually sow the seed from mid-summer for good results. Planting seeds in the summer would require a lot of water, several watering’s daily perhaps, to prevent the seeds dying or the grass shrivelling up and dying.
We will work on the premise that the best time to plant grass seed is just past mid-summer until mid-autumn when the temperature is just right and the ground conditions are almost perfect. The grass seeds will germinate best at this time of year as the soil is moist and warm, the temperature is warm, but not too hot, and there is usually a bit of necessary rain to assist growth. Grass itself will continue to grow in temperatures above 5°C so once the temperature has dropped in the autumn it is difficult to germinate seed. Planting from mid-summer until mid-autumn also means less competition and resistance from weeds.
If you miss this time of year and really need to sow grass seed you can sow the seeds in the spring when temperatures have risen again, preferably to above 5°C. Sowing seeds in the spring will require a regular watering to help the seeds grow. The seeds will definitely germinate a little slower at this time of year though, but come the summer you will have a flourishing lawn. For over-seeding you can probably do this all year round if you are not in a rush to repair the patches in your lawn, though it is certainly the case that the seeds will germinate best in the mid-summer until mid-autumn range, or second best in the spring. They may fail to geminate at all in the summer if very hot conditions prevail.
Choosing the right Seed for Your Lawn
Once you have decided to sow grass seed and chosen the time of year to plant the seeds you should choose the correct seed for you lawn. You should learn what type of soil you have, the pH level, what are conditions for shade and light etc. As we mentioned above our GREEN GLEN grass seed is tolerant to many conditions in the UK and can be used for hard wearing lawns and ornamental lawns in most of the country. If you are not sure about which seed to use then you should definitely do a little bit of research into your soil and regional conditions. You can use an easily available soil tester for pH level and light conditions. Most types of grass like a slightly acidic soil, usually with a pH level between 6 and 7 to grow properly. A pH level lower than 6 may prevent seeds from germinating or the grass from growing well.
Preparing the soil for Sowing Seeds
Now you are ready to start the process of sowing your new lawn the best practice is to follow these steps to prepare the soil. You should do this at least a week before you plan to plant the grass seed.
Soil Preparation Tasks
|Skim off old grass, remove large stones, debris and weeds, then level the soil using a straight edge such as a length of timber.
|Fork through the soil to help aeration in the area to be sown with seed. Then rake it over until it is a fine soil and level. Remove any further stones or debris that have been dug up.
|Compact the soil until it is firm, either using a roller or your feet to tramp it down. When you can stand on it without leaving imprints it is firm enough.
|Now leave the area to settle for about a week. It may need levelled again if there has been sinkage. Any weeds that are sprouting can be removed again to clear the area for sowing.
|Rake over lightly again to create a fine tilth. If you are using a granular fertiliser or pre-seeding fertiliser now is the time to lightly rake it in to the soil. This will help provide vital nutrients enabling the grass to grow better.
|The soil is now prepared for the next step of sowing the seeds.
Sowing the Grass Seeds
You can now proceed to sow the seeds to start your new lawn. You should have tested your soil type, bought the correct seeds for your purpose, and prepared the soil to perfection ready to plant. Now follow these steps to sow the seeds.
How to Sow the Grass Seed Correctly
|Mark out then area using canes and string to aid a more even distribution of the seeds. It is important that seeds are applied evenly across the area.
|Using a spreader will ensure an even coverage of the area to be sown. Not everyone will go to this expense or level of effort. Not everyone will mark out the area either, many will trust their eyes and hands to ensure even distribution.
|Use the seeds at the stated rate on the packet, normally somewhere between 35 grams and 50 grams per square metre.
|Shake the seeds or the packet up well to ensure they are well mixed up before sowing.
|Weigh or use a scoop or spoon or jug etc that will give the accurate amount which is required for each square metre. Spread half of this amount across each 1 metre square area in a cross sowing method, for instance, going North to South, then spread the other half crossways going East to West. Ensuring that you have covered the area evenly.
|After covering the whole area with the seeds you should now ensure the seeds all have good contact with the soil. To do this roll the area or tramp it lightly to press down the seeds and the soil.
|Lightly rake over the area you have just sown with seeds. If you rake the seeds in by 2cm or so that is fine.
|Water the area you have sown. Grass seed will require moisture, warmth and light to germinate successfully. If it is dry in the following few weeks after sowing then keep the soil lightly watered, which is best done early in the morning and late in the evening. And that is it. Now move on to aftercare procedures after sowing the seeds to ensure good healthy growth.
|Most grass seeds should germinate in between 10 and 25 days depending on conditions, time of year and type of seeds.
Aftercare Procedures After Sowing Grass Seeds
When you have successfully sown the seeds and reached this stage there are some things you can still do to ensure good growth.
- If possible cover the area with netting or other means to keep birds from eating the seeds. Birds will be there early in the morning feasting on your hard work.
- If you used canes and string to mark out your sowing area then it is a good idea to keep these up, or reposition them, to prevent people walking on the area as much as possible. Even put up signs requesting people stay off the area if possible.
- Seed will require moisture along with warmth and light to germinate and seedlings will require moisture. Always check to ensure the area is not too dry. Keep lightly watered if it is a dry spell. If it is dry the area should definitely be lightly watered for first 2-3 weeks.
- Keep an eye out for any weeds that are pushing through while you wait on the grass to grow. Remove by hand or trowel any weeds that appear before they can flower or propagate. Once the grass starts to grow the weeds will be suffocated.
Mowing the New Lawn
Once the grass has started growing you should not mow until it is around 5cm to 8cm high. Now you can start to mow the lawn. Cut the grass to around a height of 3cm and then carefully rake up all the cuttings from the area. You should follow this procedure for at least 4 more cuts of the lawn.
And hopefully when you reach this stage you are well on the way to having a beautiful strong and healthy growth with plenty of colour, and a good hardy lawn that can take some heavy family usage.
Once your lawn is grown you can add some iron sulphate fertiliser which will help green up the grass to give it a nice lush green colour and control any moss that tries to invade the lawn. You can order TRADE FARM NI Iron Sulphate online here.