Looking for the best way to plant grass seed? Whether filling a few bare spots in your lawn, seeding a large space, or planting an entire new lawn, getting grass seed to take hold and grow can be a challenge for many homeowners.
There is nothing worse than throwing down a bag or two of grass seed and seeing very little germinate. Especially when you consider just how expensive seed can be these days. Like everything else, the cost for a good stock of grass seed has skyrocketed.
Even with the rising cost of seed, planting grass seed is still the most economical choice for creating a lawn. Hydro-seeding takes a lot of specialized equipment, and is usually 5 to 10 times the cost of traditional seeding. Sod can be expensive as well, and requires constant attention and watering for survival.
The good news is that growing a healthy, thick lawn from seed doesn’t have to be difficult. The simple truth is, there is a bit of an art to seeding a lawn. But armed with a few key secrets and tips – you can have great success getting seed to take hold. Better yet, you can save a tremendous amount of money in the process.
With that in mind, here is a look at the simple secrets to planting grass seed for big success!
The Best Way To Plant Grass Seed – The 3 Big Secrets To Success
#1 Timing Is Everything
When you plant your grass seed can play a huge role in how well it develops and fills in. One thing is for sure, if at all possible, summertime should always be avoided.
One of the toughest times of all to grow new grass seed is in the middle of summer. For starters, the hot and dry conditions make it tough for new seed to establish. Not only does it require constant watering to get the seeds to germinate, the tender young seeds often fail trying to cope with the sun’s intense rays.
So what is the best time for planting? Well, there are actually two great times to plant seed – early spring and early fall. Both of these times usually have cooler and wetter than normal conditions, which happen to be perfect for establishing a lawn.
Of the two, fall is the better of the two choices. Not only are the temperatures cool, but the grass does not have to immediately go through the hot summer months. Instead, it can go dormant, and have another cool season of spring to establish with little stress.
#2 – Use Grass Seed Blends – The Best Way To Plant Grass Seed
When plating grass seed, it is always better to select a grass seed blend than a single type of seed. Blends contain a mixture of varieties that grow in harmony to fill in for a thicker, more robust lawn. Even better, blends are far less likely to fall victim to disease.
A single variety of grass seed takes the same set of nutrients from the soil to grow. Unfortunately, that means it can quickly deplete those nutrients and begin to struggle.
In addition, if a single variety is attacked by a disease or a pest, it will decimate the entire lawn. Blends, on the other hand, grow with different nutrient requirements and will have different resistances to disease and pests. And if a lawn is attacked, it won’t attack all of the varieties at once.
More Advantages of Using Blends – The Best Way To Plant Grass Seed
By using a blend, there is less risk of depleting all of the nutrients in the soil at once. There is also much less of a risk of disease or pests destroying the entire yard.
Finally, good blends will have a mixture of seed, some of which have deeper roots, some more shallow. Above the soil, some seed varieties will grow thick and taller, while some will thicken at a lower level. All of this diversity means that your lawn fills in everywhere with better results.
One last note on the topic of selecting your seed – be sure to pick varieties that are designed to grow well in your area. A hot grass designed for Florida or Arizona will not perform well in Minnesota.
Likewise a grass that would grow well in the northern, cooler states could never hold up in the more humid and hot southern states. Product Link : Pennington Tall Fescue Grass Blend
#3 The Biggest Secret Of All, Plant With A Cover Crop – The Best Way To Plant Grass Seed
No matter what seed blend you select, there is one little tip that can really help it establish and grow well in the soil – and that is to add in a bit of annual cover crop seed with it when you plant. This one trick can help your seed blend germinate better, have you watering it less, and keep weed seeds from finding a home early on in your new lawn!
The two best cover crop choices for this method are either annual cereal rye, or annual cereal oats. Both are a larger grain style of seed, and both germinate fast!
Cover Crop Magic
The cover crop seed will germinate quickly in the soil. This not only provides shade for the seed blend to establish, it also helps cover bare soil – making it hard for weed seeds to blow in and establish. By providing the cover, the annual cover crop seed acts as a living layer of straw, holding in moisture and keeping your grass seed protected from the hot summer sun.
As the grass seed establishes, the cover crop continues to help shelter and protect the tender lawn seed as it begins to grow. Then, as an annual cover crop seed will do, after it is mowed a few times, it begins to die off, allowing the lawn to thicken in around it.
Even better, as the cover crop roots and grass die off, they add nutrients to the soil that your lawn can then use to power up even more. It truly is a match made in heaven for starting grass seed!
For best results, mix in 1 pound of cover crop seed for every 3 to 4 pounds of grass seed. It is important to make sure you are purchasing an annual cover crop seed, and not a perennial version. The seed is a much larger grain style seed and does not look like traditional grass seed.
One Final Note – The Best Way To Plant Grass Seed
If you are trying to simply thicken up a lawn, late winter / very early spring can actually be the perfect time to spread a bit of seed – especially if there happens to be a light covering of snow on the ground! Spreading seed on top of a late winter / early spring snowfall can do wonders for thickening up lawns.
The seed melts into the ground with the snow, and has plenty of time to germinate and grow before your first spring mowing. Here is to getting your lawn to grow thick and luscious, and to getting the most bang for your buck from planting grass seed! For more lawn tips, check out our Lawn & Landscape section on the blog.
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