5 steps for planting grass seed
Planting (or seeding) a lawn is not difficult and can be done successfully by anyone. If you are planting grass seed, follow these five simple steps for best results.
Step 1 – Buy the best grass seed
A great lawn can only be grown from great grass seeds. To find a top quality grass seed, look for an NTEP rated variety, which means it has been independently evaluated and rated by the National Turf Evaluation Program, (NTEP). The NTEP rating on grass seeds means you are purchasing grass seeds that have been specifically bred for superior green grass color, disease and insect resistance and drought tolerance.
The price of grass seed is small compared to the time that will be invested in building a great lawn. To get the best lawn results you need the best grass seed.
Get GreenView Fairway Formula top rated NTEP grass seed today »
Step 2 – Prepare the soil
For planting new lawns:
- Loosen the top 2 to 3 inches of soil.
- Remove debris (sticks, stones, etc), from the area.
- Break up soil clumps larger than a half dollar.
- Avoid too fine soil, small clumps are acceptable.
- Level the areas where excess water might collect.
- Do not use weed killers before or after planting seed.
For overseeding an existing lawn:
- Mow grass as short as possible.
- Loosen the top ¼ inch of soil in bare spots.
- Remove debris and dead grass.
- Level the areas where excess water collects. Use existing topsoil; added soil may have weed seeds.
- Fertilize the bare spots after overseeding with a starter fertilizer like GreenView Fairway Formula Seeding Success
Step 3 – Plant grass seed
- Spread the seed evenly by hand in small areas.
- Use a hand or lawn spreader or a mechanical seeder in large areas.
- Apply approximately 16 seeds per square inch. Too many seeds too close together causes seedlings to fight for room and nutrients. Grass may be weak or thin in these areas.
Step 4 – Cover seeds
Step 5 – Water often
- Keep grass seed bed moist to enhance germination.
- Water lightly (don’t saturate), and frequently (at least once daily), until new grass is two inches high.
- Water new grass regularly to keep roots moist.
When to plant grass seed
Grass seed can be planted in the spring and fall with good results. If you are planning a spring planting of grass seed, do not apply weed control products to the grass. Delay the weed control application until the grass seed has germinated and you have mowed the grass at least 3 times.
For a fall planting of grass seed, follow the same weed control precautions and time the seed planting to allow the grass seed to fully germinate before freezing temperatures arrive in your region.
Learn more about:
NTEP and grass seed ratings »
Selecting a cool season grass »
Selecting a warm season grass »
How to read a grass seed label »