Grow grass from seed and save money

June 19, 2015

Planting your own grass with seeds can be both economical and rewarding. Here's how to do it right.

Grow grass from seed and save money

Sewing seeds

  • The trick to growing a great lawn from grass seed is water, water, water. Watering is a key step to a successful lawn.
  • The seeds need to stay moist for germination and for seedling root development. The germinating seeds and the new seedlings are vulnerable to even short dry periods.
  • Seed an area that you can realistically keep moist. It may require watering several times a day.
  • An in-ground irrigation system is ideal, but hoses and sprinklers will work. Water long enough to wet the soil to a depth of 7.5 to 10 centimetres (three to four inches).
  • Monitor the soil's moistness. Be aware of weather conditions; hot sun, high temperatures and wind will dry out the soil quickly. As the soil surface dries, its colour will lighten — a sure sign to water again.
  • You won't harm the seeds with too much water unless you're creating runoff and washing the seeds and soil away.
  • After the seeds have germinated (five to 20 days), water less often but for longer periods. This deeper watering encourages the seedlings' roots to go deep. After the first mowing, you can begin to cut back on the daily watering.

Three key steps

  1. Plant when temperatures are moderate 
    Avoid planting new grass in the summer when you'll be fighting the hot sun and high temperatures. Also don't plant when the soil is too cold, like in the early spring, which prevents germination. A good rule of thumb is to check nearby mature grass. If it's growing (not dormant), then the soil temperature is OK for seeding. An ideal time to plant is at the end of the summer when the soil is still quite warm, but cooler days are ahead.
  2. Choose the right seed for your yard and region
    Talk to a turf specialist (from a garden centre, university or landscaping service) about the right seed for your climate and your specific soil and sun/shade conditions. This is one advantage to growing a lawn from seed. It allows you to fine-tune the type of grass for your yard. Sod, on the other hand, is best suited for those conditions found at the sod farm.
  3. Feed the sprouts
    Lawns eat like teenagers, so feeding is a fact of life. Just before seeding, apply a starter fertilizer. Read the product's directions to determine the amount to spread. After the grass has been cut a few times and is established, move to a maintenance feeding schedule consistent with the climate in your region.
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