How to Plant Grass Seed for a New Lawn

Planting a new lawn isn’t an easy task—and there’s a lot of room for error. To give your lawn the best chance of success, we’ve compiled a guide explaining how to plant grass. Read on to learn all the tips from the experts, and feel free to give us a call if you need some help.

Select the Best Grass Type

Maryland and Virginia fall into the transitional zone, which means either warm-season or cool-season grasses can do well, or a mixture of the two. Altitude, the amount of sun and shade, and foot traffic all come into play with what type of grass you should choose, but in general, cool-season grasses are the better pick for this area. The major cool-season varieties include Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue, and ryegrass.

Prepare the Soil

It’s impossible to have healthy grass without first having healthy soil. To diagnose any issues, you need a soil test to ensure that your soil’s pH is between 6.0 and 7.5, depending on what type of grass you are looking to grow.

You also need to remove any blockages from the soil, such as rocks, sticks, and leaf litter. Not only does this debris block grass seed from reaching the soil, but it can also damage seed spreaders and other tools.

Plant the Seed

If you’re covering a small area, you can spread the grass seed by hand. To do so, take a small handful of grass seed and carefully sow it, making sure to evenly disperse it and avoid creating mounds of grass seed that can cause a competition for resources. For larger areas, use a seed spreader and walk in straight lines at a consistent pace.

Cover the Area

If you leave seeds sitting on top of the soil, it’s likely they’ll be washed away or disturbed by wildlife. To prevent this, take a rake and lightly work the seeds into the soil until they’re about ¼ inch below the surface. Covering seeds with existing soil works perfectly fine, but you can also use straw or an erosion control blanket for extra protection.

Water Often

Grass seeds need to stay moist, but not constantly saturated with water.

  • You should lightly water newly-seeded areas two to three times a day, stopping once puddles begin to form.
  • Once the seeds germinate and there are seedlings poking through the soil, gradually reduce your watering to once a day.
  • After the grass is three inches high, water it about twice a week. You should be watering more deeply now, soaking the soil 6-8 inches below the surface to encourage strong root growth.

Mow New Grass

Once your new grass is at least three inches tall, you can start mowing it. Remember not to remove more than ⅓ of the grass blade at a time, as any more than that can cause stress to the grass and make it susceptible to drought, disease, and insect damage.

Weed Control

A general rule of thumb is to wait until you’ve mowed your grass at least four times before using any type of weed control. New grass is more susceptible to damage from herbicides than an established lawn is. However, it’s also more susceptible to weed growth.

Consider Professional Lawn Care

Proper lawn care can be tricky—so let us help! If you are looking to plant new grass in your lawn, we can help you identify which type of grass is best for your lawn, perform a pH test, give you tips on watering, and even help protect your new lawn from weeds. Just contact our talented team today to learn more!

FAQ About Seeding a New Lawn

How much seed do I need?

The amount of grass seed that you need depends on what you’re doing. Most seed bags have a recommended range of 250-400 square feet per pound. However, seeding a new lawn or bare spot requires twice the amount of seed that overseeding an existing lawn requires.

How long does it take for grass seeds to germinate?

Most grass seed will start germinating in 10-14 days, but sometimes can take up to 30 days.

When is the best time of year to seed new turf?

The best time to plant warm-season grass seed is late spring to summer, when soil temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees Fahrenheit at three inches below the surface. Cool-season grass should be planted at least 45 days before the estimated first frost, which usually occurs during fall.

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