Are you thinking about planting seed in your home lawn? Grass seed can serve several different purposes. You can patch up damaged or bare spots instead of completely reinstalling sod, for example. You can also seed a brand new lawn or overseed your warm season grass so that it doesn’t go dormant and has a continuous green color throughout the winter.
Before diving into this DIY project, it’s important to know the differences between warm and cool season turfgrass. This matters because the ideal time for planting warm season grass seed slightly differs from cool season grass seed. It also helps determine the purpose of your seeding project. If you are overseeding before winter, for example, you are likely overseeding warm season grass like bermuda grass with some variety of cool season grass seed like ryegrass.
Knowing your grass types is also helpful for making sure you plant seed that closely resembles the grass you currently have if you are filling in bare or damaged spots. A lot of homeowners with St. Augustine lawns search for St. Augustine grass seed online or in stores. If this is the case for you, you may want to use St. Augustine grass plugs as an alternative because there’s no such thing as St. Augustine seed. In the meantime, check out some of the various seed projects below.
How to Seed a New Lawn
There are a couple of important steps to take before immediately planting seed for a completely new lawn. First, it’s highly recommended that you test the soil to create an optimum environment for your seed to flourish. Soil tests aren’t that expensive and don’t take up a lot of time. They also tell you a lot about what your soil needs. Learn more about the importance of a soil analysis here.
Next, you’ll want to select and purchase the grass seed you’re looking for. Selecting a type of grass seed can be fun, but be sure to choose seed that fits the environment and climate you live in. You’ll also want to measure your planting area so that you know how much grass seed you’ll need to purchase. This will help you determine which product provides the most seed for the right price.
The next step is to prepare your soil before planting the grass seed. Give your lawn any nutrients it is requiring from the soil analysis you’ve previously received. After this step is complete, you can begin planting your grass seed and covering it from birds or weather. For more details, visit our step-by-step grass seed planting guide here. Take a look at some of our popular grass seed products below:
Pictured above: Lawnifi Santee Centipede Grass once the seed has established and germinated.
How to Plant Seed in Bare or Damaged Spots
If your lawn is in good shape and you just want to repair a few bare or damaged areas throughout, we still recommended you complete a soil analysis because it could provide you with information about why there are damaged or bare spots in the first place. When it comes to choosing the type of grass seed for these areas, you’ll want to select something that closely resembles the grass you currently have if it’s not the exact same type. The goal is to have a uniform, lush lawn. If you have several different grass types growing in your lawn, it gives off an inconsistent, patchy look.
Be sure to rid the lawn of any problems that may exist before planting the grass seed. If insect damage is what caused these bare spots to occur in the first place, for example, you’ll want to treat the areas with a systemic insecticide before planting. Otherwise, the insects may damage your newly sprouting grass seed, which results in a waste of time and money. For more details, visit our grass seed planting guide. Although this mostly consists of directions for seeding a new lawn, most of the instructions can be applied to seeding bare or damaged spots.
How to Overseed a Lawn for Winter
Our blog on How to Keep Your Lawn Green During the Winter goes into detail about turfgrass dormancy and why overseeding is a frequently sought out project for homeowners. The idea is while warm season grass goes dormant and turns brown in the winter, cool season grass doesn’t. A lot of homeowners overseed their warm season lawn with cool season grass seed so that it stays green year-round.
It’s important to overseed at the right time of year, though. This typically takes place 30 days before the first frost for your area. This timing will vary depending on where you are located, but generally, the first day of frost in the southern two-thirds of United States occurs around the first few weeks of October. To overseed, you will need to purchase grass seed and apply at the recommended rate on the bag with a broadcast or drop spreader.
The Best Time to Plant Grass Seed
The best time to plant grass seed depends on the type of grass seed you use and where you’re located. Generally speaking though, fall is the best time of the year to seed a cool season turfgrass variety whereas spring is the best time to seed a warm season turfgrass variety.
The Worst Time to Plant Grass Seed
The absolute worst time of year to plant grass seed is during the winter and summer. Even if you have a cool season variety of grass seed, the chances of it sticking around and not being washed away in the snow are pretty low. It’s not recommended during the summer because warm season grass seed will be establishing itself in extreme heat. You will spend a lot of time and money irrigating it. Cool season grass seed, on the other hand, is dormant during the summer. Learn more about the best and worst times to plant grass seed here.
While planting your grass seed, a tool that might come in handy is our Scotts Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader. Once your grass seed is planted, be sure to fertilize it with the proper nutrients that will help it establish. Sod University recommends the Lawnifi® New Lawn Starter Box for newly seeded lawns, repaired areas and overseeding projects because the fertilizer is heavy in phosphorus, which promotes root growth so that the seed establlshes itself in the soil properly. The New Lawn Starter Box comes with three liquid fertilizer bottles designed to give your new seed the nutrition it needs to flourish. Learn more about Lawnifi’s family of products in Why Use Lawnifi Fertilizer?.