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How to Plant Grass Seed

Patio, Lawn & Garden
Learn how to plant grass seed in this easy guide! This will help you add some greenery to your landscape.

As the saying goes: The grass is always greener on the other side, but you can change it and add a bit of green to your yard by planting some grass seed.

Not sure where to start with simple gardening and how to plant grass seeds? That is exactly why our experts prepared this full guide for you, with everything you need to know to get your own green pastures.

So let's get ready to garden. 

Choose the Right Time of Year

Choosing the right time of year to plant grass seeds can be confusing as there are many factors to consider before beginning the process. 

Generally, the best time to plant grass seed is in the spring, when soil temperatures warm and days become longer. When seeding at this time of year, it is important to ensure that soil moisture levels are consistent, as this will give the seed an optimal environment for germination. 

Additionally, there may be restrictions in place in your area regarding fertilization and watering of newly-seeded lawns; make sure you understand them before you begin planting. 

For warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass and St. Augustinegrass, late summer is usually the ideal time for planting, provided that temperature and moisture conditions remain favorable. If temperatures drop too low or moisture levels become inconsistent during this period, you may want to delay planting the warm-season grass until spring when conditions improve. 

For cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, early fall is often preferable because cooler temperatures help promote root growth and reduce stress on newly emerging plants. There are also several steps you can take to ensure that your new lawn gets off to a strong start no matter what season you choose. 

When selecting seed varieties for your new lawn, it’s important to consider not only the type of grass most suitable for your climate but also which one will give better results, in terms of maintenance needs and pest resistance over time. 

You should also amend your soil with nutrients prior to seeding if necessary; It will help the turf receives all of the essential nutrients required for healthy growth from the start. 

Finally, it’s crucial to take care of your freshly grown lawn once your grass begins sprouting; cut too short or too frequently at first and you risk killing off young plants before they have a chance to get established.

Prepare the Site 

Start by sloping the area at 1-2% away from buildings, smooth out depressions that could cause wet spots and mowability issues, then go ahead and get rid of old turf. If you're starting fresh - time for some sod cutting or spraying herbicide and be sure to follow the instructions closely. 

Once you're certain all unwanted grass is dead, it's time to break out your rake - clear away those pesky weeds so you can start fresh with beautiful new turf. Adjusting grades may also help ensure lush growth in your perfect grass.

Prepare the Soil

Preparing the soil is important to ensure the seeds have the best chance of germination and healthy growth. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Remove any debris or rocks from the area: Use a rake to clear the area of any sticks, stones, or other debris. You have to make sure the soil is smooth and free of any obstacles that can interfere with the fresh-growing grass. A smooth surface will also help prevent water from pooling in low spots.

  2. Test the soil: A soil test will help determine the pH level, nutrient content, and soil type of the area. It will help you choose the appropriate fertilizer and soil amendments to use. You can purchase a soil test kit from a garden center or send a sample to a lab for analysis.

  3. Loosen the soil: Use a tiller or garden fork to loosen the top 4-6 inches of soil. This will assist the roots of the planted grass to penetrate and establish themselves.

  4. Amend the soil: Based on the results of your soil test, you may need to add fertilizer or other soil amendments such as lime or sulfur to adjust the pH level. Follow the instructions on the product label carefully.

Choose the Best Seed

Choosing the best seeds for your grass will depend on several factors, including the climate in your area, the amount of sunlight the area receives, and the intended use of the newly planted grass (such as whether it will be used for landscaping or a sports field).

Here are some factors to consider when selecting grass seeds:

  1. Climate: Different types of grasses thrive in different climates. Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, are best for cooler climates with temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass, are better suited for warmer climates with temperatures ranging from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Sunlight: Some grass seeds grow in full sunlight while others can tolerate shade. If the area where you will be planting the grass receives partial or full shade, consider shade-tolerant varieties such as fine fescue or St. Augustine grass.

  3. Intended use: Seed germinate used for landscaping may have different requirements than those used for sports fields or other high-traffic areas. For example, turf-type tall fescue is a popular choice for sports fields and high-traffic areas because it is durable and can withstand heavy use.

  4. Soil type: Different grasses also have different soil requirements. For example, some grasses such as Centipede grass thrive in acidic soil, while others such as Buffalo grass prefer alkaline soil. Consider conducting a soil test to determine the pH level and nutrient content of your soil, and choose a grass variety that is well-suited to those conditions.

  5. Maintenance requirements: Different grass varieties require different levels of maintenance. For example, Kentucky bluegrass requires frequent mowing and fertilization, while Zoysia grass requires less water and fertilizer.

  6. Cost: Grass seed prices vary widely depending on the variety and quality. Consider your budget and choose a grass seed that fits your budget range.

Plant the Seed 

Once you have selected the appropriate type of seed for your lawn and after you prepared the ground for planting you can begin planting.

You can plant your seed either by hand or with a spreader depending on the size of your existing lawn. When using a spreader, make sure not to overfill it as this may cause an uneven distribution of seeds across your lawn. 

Cover Up

After spreading the sow grass, lightly rake them into the soil before watering them thoroughly until they are completely soaked. 

Keep in mind the newly planted sow grass seed, need plenty of sunlight and regular watering in order for them to fully develop into healthy turf. 

Keep on Watering

Watering appropriately after planting grass seeds is important for the grass seed to grow and establish themselves. 

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Water frequently: Newly planted grass seeds should be watered frequently to keep the soil moist. Watering once or twice a day for the first few weeks after planting is recommended.

  2. Water lightly: Water the area lightly to avoid washing away the seeds. Use a sprinkler or a hose with a gentle spray nozzle to water the area.

  3. Avoid overwatering: Overwatering can cause the seeds to rot or wash away. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. If you notice standing water on the soil, reduce the amount of water you are using.

  4. Monitor the weather: Adjust your watering schedule depending on the weather conditions. If it's hot and dry, you may need to water more frequently. If it's cool and damp, you may need to water less.

  5. Check the soil moisture: To determine if the soil is moist enough, dig a small hole in the soil and check the moisture level. The soil should be moist to a depth of at least one inch.

  6. Reduce watering as the grass grows: As the grass grows and establishes itself, you can gradually reduce the frequency of watering. Once the grass is established, water deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth.

Watering is just one aspect of lawn care, and it's important to also follow best practices for fertilization, mowing, and weed control to maintain a beautiful and healthy lawn.

Maintain Your Lawn

After covering how to water your grass, maintaining it will ensure it establishes a healthy root system and grows into a beautiful lawn. 

Our experts gather some pro tips on how to maintain your lawn: 

  1. Fertilize the grass with a high-phosphorus fertilizer to encourage root growth. It's important not to over-fertilize, as this can damage the grass.

  2. Mow the grass regularly, and don't cut more than one-third of the blade length at a time. This will encourage the grass to grow thicker and healthier.

  3. Keep weeds under control by pulling them by hand or using an herbicide if necessary.

  4. Aerate the lawn periodically to reduce soil compaction and stimulate nutritious root growth.

  5. Keep an eye out for pests such as grubs and chinch bugs, and treat them with an appropriate pesticide if necessary.

  6. Over time, your lawn may develop bare spots or thin areas. To address this, consider overseeding the lawn with additional grass seed.

The best seeds:
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix with WaterSmart Plus Coating Technology, 40 lbs.

Helpful content grass seed option 1

4.3 out of 5 stars
32,434 ratings

Our experts have praised the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix with WaterSmart Plus Coating Technology, 40 lbs, for its ability to grow thick, green grass quickly and efficiently. 

The WaterSmart Plus Coating Technology ensures the seed stays moist, even during dry periods, which helps with germination and establishment.

According to our experts, you will appreciate the convenience of the 40 lbs bag size, which is perfect for large-scale lawns or multiple areas. The mix of sun and shade seeds is suitable for lawns that receive both direct sunlight and shade.

The best offer under $110:
Jonathan Green (10323) Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed - Cool Season Lawn Seed (25 lb)

Helpful content grass seed option 2

4.5 out of 5 stars
1,991 ratings

According to our experts, Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty Ultra Grass Seed is the perfect choice for creating a lush, green lawn if your budget is up to $110. 

This cool-season lawn seed is designed to be used in the Northeastern region of the United States and contains only the finest ingredients. With its unique blend of perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fine fescue varieties, it’s ideal for providing a thick, strong turf that can withstand even extreme weather conditions. 

The 25-pound bag of grass seed provides enough to cover up to 5,000 square feet of the lawn area with just one application. This seed mix is pre-inoculated with beneficial bacteria that help protect against disease and pest infestation while promoting root growth. 

When planted in the right conditions, like sun exposure, good soil drainage, and adequate moisture - you can expect great results within weeks. 

Best spreader:
Chapin 8622B, 150-Pound Tow Behind Spreader with AUTO-Stop and Hitch Pins, Black

Helpful content Best spreader option 1

4.1 out of 5 stars
1,708 ratings

According to our experts, the Chapin 8622B 150-Pound Tow Behind Spreader with AUTO-Stop and Hitch Pins is a great spreading machinery.

This spreader has an impressive capacity of up to 150 pounds, allowing it to disperse large amounts of material. The auto-stop feature means it automatically stops the flow when the load runs low so no material will be wasted. 

It also comes with two hitch pins for attaching it to any tow vehicle, making it easily transportable. The black powder-coated steel construction ensures maximum durability and longevity. 

Best spreader offer under $150:
Scotts Elite Spreader

Helpful content Best spreader offer option 2

4.6 out of 5 stars
28,788 ratings

The Chapin 8622B is a high-quality tow-behind spreader designed for efficiently spreading fertilizer, seed, salt, and other granular materials over large areas. 

Our experts find the spreader features a durable, corrosion-resistant hopper that can hold up to 150 pounds of material. It also comes with an AUTO-Stop feature that automatically stops the flow of material when the spreader is not in motion, preventing waste and uneven application.

Our experts and users find it simple to operate. The spreader attaches easily to a variety of vehicles, including lawn tractors, ATVs, and utility vehicles. 


When is it too late to plant grass seed?

The best time to plant grass seed depends on the type of grass and the climate in your area. In general, it's best to plant grass seeds during the optimal growing season for your specific type of grass. Planting outside of the optimal growing season can result in poor germination and slow growth.

For cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, the best time to plant is in the fall or early spring, when temperatures are cooler and there is plenty of moisture in the soil. Fall planting is usually recommended, as the soil is still warm from summer and the grass has enough time to establish itself before winter.

For warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass, the best time to plant is in late spring or early summer, when soil temperatures are warmer and there is plenty of sunlight.

If you missed the ideal planting time for your grass type, it's still possible to plant later in the season. However, planting too late in the season can result in poor germination, slow growth, and susceptibility to disease and pests. As a general rule, it's best to plant grass seed at least 8-10 weeks before the first expected frost in your area.

If you're unsure when the best time to plant grass seed is in your area, consult with a local gardening expert or a reputable lawn care professional. They can guide on the best planting time based on your location and grass type.

How do you plant grass on a slope?

Planting grass on a slope can be a bit of a challenge, but it is possible with the right preparation and care. 

First, the slope should be graded properly so that the soil is level and drains well. In addition, it is important to till or loosen the topsoil to ensure that water and nutrients can reach the roots of the grass. Adding compost or other organic matter to the soil helps improve drainage and add necessary nutrients. 

Once the surface is ready, grass seed or sod can be planted. Make sure the seeds you are using  are appropriate for your climate as some varieties are better suited for certain areas than others. Mixing in fertilizer when planting can also help give your grass a head start. 

Can you sprinkle grass seed on top of soil?

Yes, you can sprinkle grass seed on top of the soil to start a new lawn. 
Grass seeds are usually spread using a spreader or by hand. Make sure the seeds are spread evenly and not clumped together in any one area. 

Grass seed should be mixed with some topsoil before being applied; this helps ensure the seed has enough nutrients to grow successfully. 

The soil should be lightly raked to ensure even coverage and then watered thoroughly. After applying grass seed, it is important to keep the seeded area moist until it is established; watering frequently and deeply will help promote germination. 

Additionally, mulching the area may help reduce water evaporation from the soil and will protect young grass plants as they become established.

How far apart should you plant grass seed?

The distance between seeds when planting grass seeds depends on the type of grass you plant and the method of planting. 

Here are some guidelines for spacing grass seeds:

  1. Broadcast Seeding: The grass seed should be spread evenly over the soil surface. A recommended rate of 5 to 10 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet is typical for most lawn grasses.

  2. Row Seeding: The seeds should be planted in rows spaced 6 to 12 inches apart. The suggested seed rate is 3 to 6 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

  3. When overseeding an existing lawn, it's recommended to use half the normal seeding rate or about 2 to 5 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

  4. Customized Planting: Some grass species like centipede grass may require more spacing between the seeds. The advised seed rate for centipede grass is only 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.


All in all, planting grass seeds requires some research, preparation, and like all gardening tasks - patience. 

Our experts hope you find this guide useful. By following it, you can improve your backyard and turn it greener and better. 

The sooner you start, the sooner you can enjoy a lush, green lawn that enhances the beauty and value of your property for years to come.