Seeding the lawn: correct timing& instructions in 6 steps

In the fall, lay out or reseed the lawn [Photo: Eag1eEyes/ Shutterstock.com]

Seeding a lawn is still the most popular way to create a lawn. And even with already existing areas should occasionally resort to lawn seed. It is especially important to choose the right time and the right grass seed. Watering and further care after sowing are also crucial. And even years after the lawn is seeded, reseeding may be necessary to restore the lawn to its former glory. Therefore, in the following we present all important information and tips concerning the sowing and reseeding of lawns.

Beginning with the question of when it makes the most sense to seed your lawn, below are six steps to successfully seeding your lawn. In addition, we present some maintenance tips to make your lawn healthy and strong after seeding.

1. When to sow lawn?

Generally, you can sow lawn from April to October. The ideal times are early fall and spring, when the soil is warm enough. For germination, most grasses need a minimum soil temperature of 8 °C (46 °F); 14 to 25 °C (57 to 77 °F) and sufficient moisture are optimal. These conditions are most likely to be present in late summer or early autumn, which is why this time of year is best for sowing the lawn. However, it should not be too late in the fall, otherwise the seed may be incomplete or uneven due to the cold weather.

Tip: The small grasses sown in early autumn are just as frost resistant as the older lawns. Only during the sensitive phase of germination and emergence should soil temperatures not be below 8 °C – soil frost is therefore a major risk factor.

Lawn care in the year in the overview

In our overview we show when which lawn care measures are due in the year

In addition to autumn, spring is also suitable for sowing lawns. From mid-April to early May, the soil temperatures are optimal, only care must be taken to ensure sufficient moisture. Periods of intense heat in early June can easily harm young lawns.

At a glance: When to sow lawn?

  • Lawns can be sown either in the fall (September) or in the spring (mid-April to early May)
  • Soil temperatures at germination should be at least 8 to 12 °C
  • At sowing the soil should be dry, but soon after it should be watered

2. What should be considered before sowing the lawn?

Before planting the lawn, all work in the garden that could stress a young lawn should be completed. Once the fruit trees have been planted and the beds, paths or garden ponds have been laid out, you are ready to go.

Digging up the ground before sowing the lawn

For any area where the lawn will later grow, soil preparation begins with digging over it spade-deep with the help of a spade or digging fork. On large, contiguous areas, a power tiller or power hoe can make the work much easier. Suitable equipment lends, for example, many hardware stores. Autumn is the best time for digging, when the soil is well dried and crumbly, and the following winter promises a good frost proofing of the soil. During the digging, all foreign bodies, weeds and large stones should be removed from the soil, so that the necessary soil improvement can be carried out. What soil improvement is needed in your place, you will learn later in this article. It is optimal if there are a few months between digging and sowing, so that the soil can settle and there is no later depression in the lawn.

Digging the soil with a spade

Digging around removes foreign objects, weeds and large stones from the soil [Photo: Georgy Dzyura/ Shutterstock.com]

Tip: If the later lawn is overgrown with root weeds such as couch grass or goutweed, the zones overgrown with these weeds should not be milled under any circumstances. Their rhizomes would be broken up by the tiller and spread over the area. So these are the areas you’re better off digging up by hand, meticulously removing every root in the process.

Prepare the soil for lawn seeding

The soil under the lawn will have to perform at a high level for years, because a lawn needs a lot of nutrients, depletes the soil and makes it dry easily. Therefore, regardless of fertilization and preparation during the actual sowing, the soil must also be prepared. We will now explain which soil should be treated and how.

Prepare normal soils for sowing lawns

Normal soils are prepared by an application of mainly organic fertilizer. A soil activator with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi, such as our Plantura Organic Soil Activator, works particularly well. The high content of organic matter provides a loose soil structure and increases the humus content. Alternatively, compost or manure can be applied as fertilizer: 10 to 15 liters per square meter are worked into the upper 10 to 20 centimeters.

Prepare very heavy and loamy soils for grass seeding

Heavy soils are clay-rich and are characterized by becoming as hard as stone when dry and sticking to your boots in greasy, heavy clods when wet. Such soils provide lawns with plenty of nutrients, but not enough available water and oxygen to the roots. Extremely heavy soils can be modified with up to 50 liters of sand per m², such as our Plantura Premium Lawn Sand, so that the establishment of a lawn is possible. Alternatively, lava or expanded clay are also suitable. In addition, as on normal soils, primarily organic fertilizer such as Plantura Organic Soil Activator or compost is incorporated.

Prepare compacted soil for lawn seeding

Compacted soils have been compressed so tightly by high pressure and unfavorable soil properties that they hardly absorb or allow water and air to pass through them. They benefit greatly from a green manure. In late summer, sow strong-rooted plants that will die back the following winter, for example, lupine (Lupinus) or oil radish (Raphanus sativus var. oleiformis). By next spring, the plant debris weathers and largely decomposes to the point of seeding the lawn. Alternatively, heavily compacted soils can be aerified, i.e., aerated. Finally, in both cases, sand and a primarily organic fertilizer such as our Plantura Organic Soil Activator or compost should be incorporated.

Lupine is a good green manure, but doing so prevents the beautiful flowers [Photo: Alla Sheptiienko/ Shutterstock.com]

Prepare very light soils for lawn seeding

Very sandy, nutrient-poor areas are not optimally prepared for lawn growth. In such areas, nutrient retention and water holding capacity must be improved. Green manuring with nitrogen-collecting legumes is highly recommended. In addition to green manuring, the incorporation of a primarily organic bio-fertilizer with a long-term effect, such as our Plantura Organic Soil Activator, should take place. Alternatively, 20 to 30 liters of mature compost or three to five kilograms of mature manure per square meter can be incorporated a few days before seeding.

Tip: Soils that are light and sandy from the outset cannot be fundamentally turned upside down, even with the above-mentioned improvements. Therefore, later the use of an adapted lawn seed mixture for dry locations is the best choice. That’s why we’ve developed our drought-tolerant Plantura Dry Lawn.

Plantura dry turf

Two months before sowing the lawn measure the pH value

Use a soil pH test to test the pH of your soil. Most grasses like a value of about 5.5 to 7. We explain everything about lawn liming and lawn fertilizing in our special articles.

One to two weeks before sowing the lawn, prepare the soil

Rough unevenness must be smoothed out, we say: the rough subgrade is created. Because this can be laborious with a shovel and rake and may require the use of machinery, a specialist should be asked for help if necessary.

The last step before seeding is to level the future lawn evenly and carefully. To do this, use a wooden rake to work connections to edges of paved areas flush or with no more than 2 cm of undercutting, and also press them down carefully. This step is also called the creation of the fine subgrade.

Tip: Maybe you were a little late with the digging and the area has not yet been able to settle properly? In this case, the fine subgrade must be preceded by rolling or pressing with footboards. If the area sags unevenly in the process, these unevennesses can still be compensated for.

At a glance: What to consider before seeding a lawn?

  • All work that would stress the young lawn must be completed
  • Before seeding the lawn, the soil is dug or tilled spade-deep; root weeds must be carefully removed during this process
  • On heavy clay and loam soils, sand, lava or expanded clay are brought in
  • Very light soils can be improved with plenty of compost or green manure
  • Heavily compacted soils are prepared for seeding by green manuring or aerification
  • All soils benefit from the application of a primarily organic fertilizer such as our Plantura Organic Soil Activator
  • Two months before sowing the lawn, the pH value of the soil is measured and adjusted if necessary
  • No more than four weeks before sowing, the rough subgrade is carried out
  • If the soil could not settle long enough after digging, it is rolled or pressed down
  • Finally, before seeding, the fine subgrade is created with a wooden rake

3. Choose the right lawn seed

Lawn seed is sold in seed mixtures. After all, lawns are not composed of a single type of grass, but form a mixture of different grass species, each of which contributes its part to the perfect, dense surface. With the choice of the lawn seed mixture you have a decisive influence on the quality and shape of your later lawn. Because these vary depending on what use is intended. After all, a play and sports lawn must withstand quite different stresses than an ornamental lawn that is barely walked on. And fortunately, there are adapted seed mixes for shade lawns or dry lawns for gardens where a normal lawn could not otherwise grow. Our Plantura turf family includes turf seed mixtures for various applications and also provides you with all the important information about application and care.

We recommend a so-called regular seed mixture (RSM). This seal is tested and thus promises quality in terms of germination capacity as well as a good composition of grass species. Spend a euro more on high-quality seed – the result will definitely speak for itself later on. Our Plantura lawn seed mixtures are of course also RSM-certified.

At a glance: Which lawn seed is the right one?

  • Depending on whether you want to reseed, create lawns in the shade of trees or play and utility lawns, there are different seed mixtures to choose from
  • Here it is worth investing in high-quality rule seed mixtures (RSM)

4. Spread lawn seed correctly: By hand or with a spreader truck

The perfect weather for sowing lawn is warm, not hot, in addition, light precipitation should be registered – alternatively, the lawn sprinkler will do the job. The soil should also be well moist. If this is given, it can go to the sowing. If you fertilize your lawn primarily organically, you should apply 100 grams per square meter of our Plantura organic lawn fertilizer immediately before sowing. For the subsequent seeding, the correct seeding density is of great importance. If the optimum seed quantity is not applied, this can lead to an uneven lawn appearance in the long term. Seeding is done either by hand or also with a spreader truck.

Plantura organic lawn fertilizer

Spreading lawn seed by hand

If you have a rather small area to seed and want to do it by hand, follow these steps: Measure an area of one square meter and weigh out the correct amount of seed (the seed mix usually indicates the amount per square meter). Distribute the amount evenly over the area. This will give you a feel for how close the seeds should be next to each other. Divide the remaining area into pieces or strips and measure the seed in each case to fit the area. Sow your entire future lawn in longitudinal and transverse rows.

Seed the lawn with the Spreading with a spreader

The use of a spreader cart simplifies the accurate distribution of lawn seeds over large areas. This is how to proceed if you have a spreader truck at your disposal.

Expert Tip: How to perfectly adjust the spreading strength of the spreader: Lay out a sheet or cloth several square meters in size and run the spreader over it for a test run. Fill the spreader wagon and drive so far that the traveled piece of film corresponds to one square meter. Now pour the seed from the foil into a container and weigh it. Depending on how far your result is from the recommendation of the amount per square foot of your seed mix, adjust the seed rate of the spreader.

Crosswise application of the lawn seed as a guide with text

This is how to proceed when sowing the seed

After seeding, either cover the lawn seed thinly with our Plantura Lawn Soil, which creates optimal starting conditions for the young lawn. Alternatively, use a rake to work the seed shallowly – 0.5 to 1 cm deep – into the soil to protect it from drying out and bird predation. The soil is then sealed: The seed must be in contact with the soil in order to absorb water for germination to occur. This is accomplished with a light roller or treaders.

At a glance: How to spread lawn seed correctly?

  • The soil should be moist, yet surface-dried and crumbly.
  • Primarily organic lawn fertilizer such as our Plantura Organic Lawn Fertilizer is distributed directly before seeding.
  • Depending on the seed mixture used, a certain seed density indicated on the package is recommended. For example, our Plantura sports and play turf requires 20 grams of seed per square meter.
  • It can be sown by hand or with a spreader truck. The spreader cart provides a more uniform result on large areas.
  • Seeding is followed by covering with a special turf soil or working in and then pressing the seed down.

5. Water the lawn after seeding

After seeding, a continuous supply of moisture ensures that the germination process begins and stays on track. For about a month you should water daily, unless it rains. However, the soil must not be submerged, because otherwise the oxygen supply of the seeds will be jeopardized. In dry weather, it is recommended to water two to three times a day for about 10 to 15 minutes at the finest sprinkler setting.

Lawn is watered with sprinklers

Don’t let your lawn dry out completely [Photo: topseller/ Shutterstock.com]

At a glance: How to properly water the lawn after seeding?

  • Ideal for the lawn is a continuous supply of moisture, without putting the lawn under water
  • The freshly sown lawn is still fragile, so be careful with hoses and the like

6. Maintain lawn properly after seeding

With conscientious preparation and seeding of the right lawn seed mix, you can lay a significant foundation for a beautiful, dense lawn. And to maintain this beauty, proper lawn care is essential.

Lawn care also includes regular mowing. Mulching or mowing ensures that the lawn is continually stocked from below. The vast majority of weeds do not tolerate constant heading and will be suppressed. However, stubborn guests such as couch grass, dandelions or ribwort should be pricked out.

The first cut is made when the grass grows to a height of 6 to 10 cm and at a cutting height of 4 cm. Make sure you use sharp mowing blades, because dull ones pull the young grass seedlings out of the soil. After the second or third cut, organic fertilizer should be applied – however, pay attention to the time of year: after October, organic fertilizer is not applied either.

TipMow better so regularly that the grasses do not become too long. Otherwise, the fast-growing species take the light away from the so-called undergrasses, so that they perish. A lawn that has become thin in this way should be revived with reseeding, otherwise weeds can easily take the place of the undergrasses.

As a heavy grower, your lawn needs a high nutrient supply to be healthy and competitive with weeds. For this reason, fertilizer is normally applied two to three times a year. Primarily organic fertilizers like our Plantura Organic Fertilizers, however, have a naturally long-lasting effect, so you can even take care of lawn fertilization in an emergency with just one large application a year.

Plantura Organic Autumn Lawn Fertilizer Spreading Box

The practical sprinkling box makes it easy to evenly distribute our Plantura Organic Autumn Lawn Fertilizer

Tip for lazy lawn owners: Basically, regular, sufficient fertilization with primarily organic lawn fertilizer is the perfect prophylaxis against moss and lawn felt or weeds. This even saves you regular scarifying or sanding – both of which are an avoidable expense. Our Plantura organic lawn fertilizer keeps soil life active year-round, loosening soil, providing nutrients and eating away at lawn thatch. The counterpart for autumn is our Plantura Organic Autumn Lawn Fertilizer, whose increased potassium content ensures frost-hardy grasses.

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