12 pointers on how to reseed or resod a lawn for healthier grass

Whether you're ready to start a lawn from scratch or replace a lawn that's been damaged by insects, weeds or bad weather, mid-spring or fall is the best time to do it. Here are some tips for growing lush, healthy grass.

12 pointers on how to reseed or resod a lawn for healthier grass

1. Seed, sod or sprigs?

The answer depends on the type of grass you're planting, the season and how much time you're willing to devote to the project.

  • Sod gives instant results and requires little follow-up care, and it's the best option in midsummer, when high soil temperatures may keep seed from germinating.
  • The best times to start a new lawn from seed or sprigs are mid-spring or early fall.

2. Read the label

Seed labels list the combined seed varieties.

  • To ensure that you're getting good quality seed, check that the varieties are listed by trade name rather than generic name: 'Liberty' Kentucky bluegrass, for example, instead of Kentucky bluegrass.
  • All of the better lawn grasses are sold as named varieties, and cool-season blends and other mixtures should also include variety names.

3. Seeds to avoid

  • Be wary of "bargain" seed mixtures, which often contain low-quality grasses like redtop (Agrostis alba) or rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis).

Such inferior lawn grasses can become weedy and quickly compromise the quality of your lawn.

4. Check and double-check

Seed labels also list the germination rate of each grass variety and the percentage of other ingredients, such as weed seeds and other seeds.

  • Check that the germination rate is high—at least 75 per cent for bluegrass and 85 per cent for most other varieties.
  • Then check the amount of other seeds in the package; each type should be no more than half a per cent.

5. Don’t make sod wait

  • Make advance arrangements to purchase sod so you'll know exactly when it will be delivered to your house or your local nursery.
  • Be ready to plant it as quickly as possible.
  • If the sod is ready before you are, keep it in a shady place covered with a tarp to keep it from drying out.

6. Testing, testing

Get your new lawn off to a good start by determining what nutrients your soil needs.

  • A soil test will also tell you whether you need to adjust your soil's pH.

7. Till the earth

Tilling to a depth of 10 to 15 centimetres not only lets you work fertilizers, amendments and pH-adjusting materials into the soil but also aerates the ground so grass roots can take better hold.

8. Use the rake

  • After tilling, rake the soil well to remove any rocks and debris and create a smooth, level planting surface.
  • Fill in any low spots before you begin planting.

9. Lay sod like bricks

  • Use a staggered pattern so the end seams don't form a straight line; make sure the pieces butt together tightly.
  • On a slope, run the strips lengthwise across the face.
  • Trim off edges with a sharp spade, using a board as a guide.

10. Water, water, water

  • Use a sprinkler to keep a newly planted lawn from drying out.
  • Cover seeded areas with a thin layer of wheat straw to retain moisture and prevent erosion from heavy rains.
  • The mulch will disappear as the grass grows, adding nutrients when it decays.

11. Wait to fertilize

  • Make the first application of fertilizer six to eight weeks after planting seed or sod.

Unless a soil test determines a specific nutrient deficiency, use complete timed-release fertilizer—not fast green-up lawn food that's too high in nitrogen.

12. Know when to mow

To encourage newly sown grass to sprout and thicken, cut it when it reaches a height of five centimetres using a mower with the blade set to 2.5 centimetres.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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