Lawn Seeding How To: Tips For Seeding A Lawn

A beautiful lawn doesn’t just happen. Unless you are hiring professional help, you’ll have to prepare the space for seeding, then do all the follow-up and maintenance. Only then do you get to bring out the lawn chairs and umbrella. Read on for tips for seeding a lawn.

Lawn Seeding Tips

If you are seeding your first lawn, roll up your sleeves and prepare to put in more than a few hours. Every task takes time and must be done carefully.

If you don’t know what you are doing, follow a lawn seeding how to that will walk you through the necessary steps. The first step is preparing a lawn for seeding.

Preparing a Lawn for Seeding

This is the biggest step, since it requires the most physical effort. First, you’ll need to work the soil to loosen it and allow you to remove weeds and rocks.

This is a task that requires careful attention. Grass seed will not grow in compacted soil, so plan to really dig into the soil where you want to spread grass seed.

If the soil is loose and moist already, clear of weeds and rocks, you’ll make short work of it. If it’s hard, compact, overgrown or rocky, it will take longer.

Use a shovel and a hard rake to break up the soil when you are preparing a lawn for seeding. Dig deep, at least 4 inches down. If you have a rototiller, this is a good time to use it.

Once you’ve broken up the soil and removed weeds and rocks, it’s time to improve the soil. Add compost in a level layer on the prepared lawn soil, then rake it in or turn it in with a shovel.

It may be tempting to leave the compost on top of the existing soil and hope for the best. But you really need to mix it in thoroughly. When that’s done, rake through the soil to remove any remaining rocks and pieces of wood.

After you have finished preparing a lawn for seeding, it’s time to seed. Consider the grass types that grow best in your area and ask your garden store expert about the pros and cons of different grasses before you buy.

The appropriate time to seed your lawn depends on what type of seed you purchase, so take this into account when you are making your selection. Follow instructions about how much seed to use and how to sow it.

Seeded Lawn Care Tips

Once the lawn is seeded, you’ll do best to follow a few important seeded lawn care tips. The first is to mulch the seeded lawn lightly with straw. Cover about 75% of the ground. A light layer of straw holds in moisture and prevents the seeds from blowing away.

Irrigation is also very important. Keep the soil damp at all times, but never provide sufficient water to wash away the grass seeds. Different types of grass seeds require different amounts of irrigation.

For example, a seeded Bermuda grass lawn must be lightly watered three or four times a day. On the other hand, perennial rye seeds need water twice a day. It may be necessary to water with the hose until the seeds germinate.

Seeding and sodding home lawns

When establishing a new lawn, a common question asked is, "Should I seed or sod?" Both have advantages and disadvantages. With new establishments, there are three important steps to consider:

  1. Selecting the turfgrass
  2. Preparing the site
  3. Caring for the new lawn

Timing and site-specific conditions may also influence your decision. For example, sodding will provide an immediate lawn to protect the soil if the site is susceptible to erosion, but it is more expensive than seeding.

For troubles beyond normal thinning, test your soil and make corrections before overseeding. Follow test recommendations for using soil amendments and repairing bare lawn spots. If needed, take time to dethatch and core aerate compacted lawns so air, moisture and seed can get to the soil. Pennington One Step Complete products combine premium seed with a stabilized-release fertilizer and wood mulch to simplify lawn repairs.

Will Grass Seed Grow if Not Covered?

All grass types will struggle if they are seeded and left uncovered. Sowing seed without proper lawn preparation and leaving it without protection results in poor germination due to lack of soil contact and exposure to scavengers. To prepare your lawn and seed properly, follow these steps:

  • Use the right type of seed depending on your region.
  • Seed at the right time for your grass seed type.
  • Mow existing grass low and bag the clippings, so the seed can reach the soil.
  • Rake your lawn to loosen soil and remove thatch.
  • Cast seed by hand or with a seed spreader.
  • Cover seed with 1/4 inch of soil or top dressing.
  • Use a starter fertilizer to provide new lawn nutrients.
  • Implement a grass seed watering plan to keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout.

By improving soil conditions and getting rid of barriers that keep seeds from reaching the soil, you lay the groundwork for success. Covering grass seed with soil or a top dressing is essential for giving grass seed what it needs to grow to maturity. Do not skip this important step and do not leave grass seed uncovered when seeding your yard.

How to Level and Seed a Lawn

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Making a level lawn area is simple although does require some physical effort for the initial digging. Once the area has been dug over, the rest of the procedure is straightforward and easy.

It is wise to wait several weeks before seeding a newly graded area, especially if a lot of filling has been done, because the soil will settle and may form hollows. Any hollows that form must be filled and allowed to settle again or tramped down to ensure that the area is fairly level. To hasten the soil settling, give it a thorough and deep soaking with the hose. [1] X Trustworthy Source Royal Horticultural Society Leading gardening charity in the U.K. providing resources for identifying, growing and caring for flowers and other plants Go to source

Sowing seed when making a lawn is likely result in patchy stands of grass unless it is done systematically. See how best to do this below.

Soil preparation should be the same for seeding or sodding.

  • Do a soil test. Follow sampling procedures for representative results.
  • Make amendments as prescribed by the soil test.
  • Firm the soil slightly with a roller or cultipacker.


  • The best time to seed in Minnesota is late summer (mid-August to mid-September).
  • Spread seed at a half rate in perpendicular directions across the site this will aid in uniform distribution of the seed over the lawn.
  • Lightly rake allowing about 10 to 15% of the seed to show.
  • Use a roller or cultipacker over the area to ensure good seed-soil contact.
  • Water to a depth of 4 to 6 inches and then follow a light and frequent watering program by applying light irrigation up to 3 to 4 times per day. Minimize irrigation during rainfall events.
  • After germination, reduce the watering frequency as roots grow into the soil.


  • Ideally, fresh sod should have been cut no more than 24 hours prior to delivery. It should be laid as soon as possible, or within one day after delivery.
  • Lay the sod on slightly moistened soil, staggering the seams so they are offset.
  • On a slope:
    • Lay the rolls across the slope.
    • Stake each piece to hold it in place.
    • Fill any cracks with soil to prevent edges from drying.
  • Use a roller about one third full of water to ensure the roots of the sod have good contact with the soil.
  • Keep the sod moist but not saturated until it is firmly rooted in the soil (a few days), then gradually reduce watering.
  • After about 10 to 14 days perform a “tug test” by gently tugging the sod in a few areas to make sure that it has firmly rooted into the soil. If the sod has resistance, it is rooted in and can be treated as an established lawn.

Sam Bauer, Bob Mugaas and Brad Pedersen

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