Sunday, November 2, 2014

How to Grow Grass from Seeds

Do you have a brand new lawn, or one riddled with bare patches of dirt? Growing grass in a yard provides ground cover and protects the soil from erosion, in addition to accenting your home with natural beauty. Learn how to pick out the right grass seed for your region, plant the seed correctly, and help it grow into a lush carpet of grass.

1-Research types of grass that grow well in your region. Most common grasses fall into one of two categories: cool season grasses and warm season grasses. It's important to find out which category grows best where you live to ensure you have a healthy lawn all year round.
Cool season grasses are planted in the summer or early fall, and they have a vigorous growing season in mid to late fall. These grasses tend to grow better in northern areas with cold winters and mild summers. Cool season grasses include the following:
Kentucky bluegrass, a fine, dark green grass that grows well in the shade.
Tall fescue, a low maintenance grass that is course in texture.
Perennial ryegrass, a medium-textured grass that grows well in full sun.
Warm season grasses are planted in the spring, and they grow lush and healthy in the summer. These grasses grow best in places with late, mild winters and hot summers. Warm season grasses include the following:
Bermuda grass, a fine grass that does better in full sun than shade.
Zoysia grass, a medium-textured grass that holds up better than most warm-season grasses during the winter.
St. Augustine grass, a course grass that won't survive during cold weather.

2-Decide what type of grass will grow best in your yard conditions. The conditions in your yard will affect the health of your grass as much as the climate in your region. Hundreds of seed varieties have been developed to grow in specific environments. Consider the following variables when choosing a type of grass:
Does your yard have good drainage, or is it prone to getting dried out? Certain seeds have been engineered to survive in waterlogged soil, and others are designed to be drought resistant.
Does your yard have a lot of shade, or does it get full sun? Choose a seed that seems to fit best with your yard conditions.
Are you planting grass for decorative purposes, or do you want to be able to walk outside in bare feet? Some grasses are beautiful but course to the touch, and others are soft and perfect for lounging outside.
How often do you want to mow your lawn? Some grasses grow quickly, and need attention every week or two, while others can be left alone longer.

3-Source your grass seed. You can buy grass seed at home and garden stores or online. Just make sure you buy from a reputable source. To the untrained eye, all grass seed looks alike, and you want to make sure you're getting what you paid for instead of a cheaper type of grass seed or even weed seed.
Calculate how much grass seed you need. Every type of seed provides a different amount of coverage, so after you calculate the square footage of the area where you're planting grass, talk to the salesperson at the home and garden or lawn care store to ask how much seed you'll need to buy.
Some seed sellers provide online grass seed calculators to help you calculate how much seed you need.

Preparing Your Soil for Planting

1-Till the top layer of soil. Breaking up the top layer will make it easier for the grass seed to take root. If you have a large area to cover, buy or rent a soil tiller that you can roll over the lawn to break up the soil. If you have a smaller area to cover, you can use a garden rake or hoe instead.
As you till, break up large clumps of dirt so that the soil is even and fairly fine.
Remove rocks, sticks, and other debris from the lawn.

If you're adding more seed to a lawn with bare patches, use a tiller or garden rake to break up the soil in the bare spots. Mow the rest of the lawn as short as you can.
2-Level the ground. If there are spots in your yard that pool with water when it rains, they need to be leveled out. Grass seed planted there won't survive if it's underwater for long periods of time. Level the ground by adding topsoil to the low places and indentations. Run the tiller over the area to even it out around the edges and blend it with the surrounding soil.
3-Fertilize the soil. Grass grows much better in fertilized soil, especially if you're working with a yard that has been planted with grass many times over the years. Buy a fertilizer specially made to help grass grow.

Planting the Seed

1-Scatter the seed. If you have a large area to cover, rent or buy a lawn spreader or mechanical seeder, which will shoot grass seed evenly across your lawn. If you have a smaller area to cover, spread it over your lawn by hand.
Use the amount of seed the lawn care expert at your home and garden store, or the seed calculator you used online, told you to use. It's important to use the correct amount of grass to ensure your lawn grows evenly.

Don't overseed the lawn. Resist the temptation to use up extra seed by spreading it over the lawn. Overseeded areas will have thinner grass, since seedlings there will have to fight for limited nutrients.
2-Protect the seeds with topsoil. Spread a thin layer of topsoil over the entire seeded area, either by hand or using a cage roller. Newly planted seeds need to be protected from the elements until they take root.
3-Water the soil. Put your garden hose head on the "mist" setting and lightly water the soil. Make sure it gets thoroughly damp.
Don't use a strong stream of water, or you might wash the grass seed away.
Newly planted seeds should be watered every day until the grass has sprouted and grown a few inches.
4-Keep people and pets off the lawn. The seeds should be protected from trampling for the first few weeks after they are planted. Consider putting up a sign or using string or flags to rope off the area. If pets and other animals run loose in your area, you could put up a temporary fence to protect your yard from harm.

Taking Care of the Grass

1-Keep it watered. After the grass has grown a few inches high, it doesn't need to be watered daily. Water it deeply a few times a week, making sure the soil gets thoroughly soaked.
If the grass starts turning brown or looking dry, water it right away to bring it back to life.

When possible, let nature take care of the grass. Don't water it after a heavy rain, or it could get waterlogged.

2-Mow the grass. Mowing grass actually helps it grow thick and healthy. If it grows too tall, it will get reedy and tough. Mow for the first time when the grass is 4 inches tall. Continue mowing when the grass reaches this height.
If you leave the grass clippings on the yard after mowing, they act as a natural mulch and help the grass grow stronger.
Consider using a push reel mower, rather than a power mower. Push reel mowers are better for the health of your grass, since they snip it neatly rather than tearing and shredding it, which leaves it more susceptible to disease. Plus, push reel mowers leave lawns looking professionally manicured, and they don't emit pollution.

3-Fertilize the lawn. After about six weeks, when the grass is healthy and tall, give it another application of fertilizer specifically made to grow grass. This will ensure it continues to grow well for the rest of the season. Plan to fertilize it at the beginning of its growing season every year.


  •  If you're reseeding a patchy lawn, try to determine why grass isn't there in the first place. Is there a problem with soil Erosion? Poor soil? Drought? Flood? The answer to that question could make a huge difference in how you approach the grass seeding process. A locally-based lawn specialist can give you great information on this subject.
  • Birds love to see people out spreading grass seeds. It essentially means that every break you take while seeding is an opportunity for a feast for free. The sooner you get the seed down and under a layer of soil, the better chance you have of keeping seed in the designated area.

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