Because grass seems to grow just about everywhere—even in cracks in the sidewalk, growing grass seed may seem to be an easy and carefree task. Two things to note: coaxing your lawn into excellence may not be quite so easy, and investing a bit more time and energy into your grass seed growing project may pay off amply.
If you want to have a seriously good lawn, the first thing you should do as you prepare for growing grass seed is take note of the characteristics of the area you intend to plant. Does the area receive full sun, or is it shady? What kind of use does it get, i.e., do you typically play lawn games on it all summer, or is it never trod upon except when you mow it? What is the area in square feet or square meters that you plan to seed? Finally, what growing zone are you in?
The next step in growing grass seed is choosing seed that will work well, based on the characterization you developed. Mixtures or blends, rather than a single variety, are recommended by some experts because when one type is stressed by unfavorable conditions, one of the others can fill in. You also want to keep non-perennial grasses to a minimum. Some of the types of grass that may be suitable for your area if you need cool season grasses are Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fescues, and if you need warm season grasses, Bermuda grass and Zoysia grass. Getting advice from a local nursery and/or your local extension service is a good idea. Make sure you follow the recommendations for the amount of seed to apply to the area you wish to cover.
Once you’ve got your seed, the next tip for growing grass seed doesn’t involve the seed at all: it involves preparing the soil. In order to properly prepare the soil, you need to know something about it’s current state. This involves a soil test, which will help determine if nutrients are lacking and what the pH currently is, and these facts will help the testing service—whether private or through your Extensions service—guide you to exactly the fertilizer you need. Further soil preparation involves weeding, tilling, and raking.
Timing your planting is an important aspect of growing grass seed. You don’t want to start growing grass seed in the hottest part of the summer, because it is too stressful for young plants. You also want to avoid planting when it’s too cool for seeds to germinate, or when downpours and heavy winds are expected. Experts advise seeding cool-season grass from a week before to a week after Labor Day.
Caring for seed in its early stages involves keeping the ground moist but not saturated with light watering, several times a day. This intensive watering can be reduced once the grass reaches a height of about 2 inches (about 5 cm). Mowing can begin when the grass reaches a height of approximately 3 inches (about 7.5 cm).