If you choose to plant your grass seed in the spring, begin in mid-May once the soil is dry enough. This will give your lawn enough time to establish before any hot, dry heat begins. You may choose to apply your seed in the fall instead, around September to mid-October when the seed bedis less likely to dry out. Applying at this time of year gives your seed the advantage of establishing during two seasons (winter and spring) before the summer heat sets in.
Before applying your seed, prep the area. The area should be as level as possible, with a gentle slope away from buildings. If possible, avoid steep slopes and regions where water may pool or wash away topsoil. Rake the surface to rid any depressions that may hold water, and loosen the top 2 to 3 inches of soil. If need be, apply fresh top dressing, such as Adams Twin City Mix or Gro-Turf. For overseeding an existing lawn, be sure the mow the lawn first, then loosen up the soil in the bare areas. Remove all debris and break up large soil clumps.
Choose the variety of grass seed that best suits your requirements. Distribute the grass seed as evenly as possible, and applying in a cross pattern – apply half the seed travelling back and forth, then cross your first pattern at 90 degrees and spread the remaining half. You can spread grass seed with a mechanical spreader or by hand. Rake lightly to mix the soil and seed together, but be careful not to bury the seed. Seed will not germinate without seed to soil contact, but if the seed is planted too deeply, it may fail to emerge – the seed should not be planted any deeper than 2 mm (1/16 inches).
For effective coverage to achieve a thick full lawn, 12 to 16 seeds per square inch should be applied. Too many seeds too close together causes seedlings to fight for room and nutrients resulting in thin or weak grass patches.
You may apply starter fertilizer after applying new seed, which will assist in developing a healthy root system. Do not use weed killers before or after planting seed.
Watering your new seedlings is crucial until they are established. Water lightly and frequently (at least once daily) until the new grass is 2 inches high. The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning. Never saturate the soil, but don’t let the soil dry out either. Once the new grass is established, water the grass regularly to keep roots moist.
Be patient. Depending on the seed mixture, it will take approximately 10-14 days at consistent temperatures (ideally around 20 degrees) for initial growth.