Grass seed is the most affordable way to create a new luscious green lawn, and nearly every team member here at TurfOnline has had to grow their lawn from scratch with grass seed at one time or another. They have offered advice on how to seed a lawn, how to use grass seed and guidance on how long grass takes to grow.
How to Use Grass Seed to Grow Your Lawn in 8 Steps
- Clear the area of vegetation and debris
- Dig or rotovate the soil to a depth of at least 15cm. Bring in fresh topsoil if necessary
- Rake and level the surface until you have a fine tilth
- Incorporate some pre-seeding/turfing fertiliser
- Choose the right type of grass seed for your lawn
- When sowing the grass seed, apply an even layer that isn’t too thick. Grass seeds generally take between 5 and 30 days to germinate (as long as the conditions are right and the lawn area is prepped efficiently)
- Keep the soil moist and protect it from birds until germination has kicked in and the grass seeds are growing strongly
- Cut the lawn for the first time once the grass reaches around 7.5cm tall.
Clear the Area of Any Vegetation & Debris
Firstly, any plants, weeds and remains of an old lawn need to be taken away before you can create a new lawn by sowing grass seed. Either use a sharp spade to lift old turf and plants from the surface, or apply a systemic weedkiller like Roundup Optima+. If you choose the latter option, it will take 3 weeks or so to kill the roots and leaves of the plants.
A family lawn needs to cope with all sorts of activities. Choose a grass seed that will grow into a hard-wearing lawn.
Dig or Rotovate the Soil
For a really strong, healthy lawn, the grass plants need to be able to send their roots deep into the ground. Digging the soil breaks up any compaction and opens up the structure so that water can penetrate and roots can grow. Do this and the time it takes for grass seed to grow and dig its roots deep into the ground properly will improve significantly.
Rake and Level the Soil Surface
A bumpy lawn will be difficult to mow and bumps make it difficult to seed a new lawn, so this stage of ground preparation is crucial for a beautiful lawn in the future. Before sowing grass seed, remove any large stones and old roots.
Once your lawn-to-be is nice and level, firm it down with your feet. A fluffy seed bed will sink whenever you walk on it. Unless the area is firmed down at this stage, you’ll end up with footprint-sized depressions all over your lawn.
Preparing soil for grass seed
Incorporate Some Pre-Seeding Feed
Apply a granular feed to the surface of your soil and gently rake it in. This will ensure there is plenty of goodness in the ground to help your new grass plants to thrive. The TurfOnline team recommends Rapid Roots pre-seeding feed which is bursting with essential plant nutrients and will guarantee that grass seed germination is completed with premium results. Use this, and the grass seed should grow in record time.
Products That Can Help…
Choose the Right Type of Grass Seed For Your Lawn
The market today is flooded with different types of grass seed, and all that choice can be quite confusing. When choosing the best one for a family lawn, we have a few criteria to look out for. Make sure to select a seed mix that contains:
- Perennial ryegrass for durability
- Fescue grasses for a velvety texture
- Smooth stalked meadow grass that has self-repair capabilities
TurfOnline’s premium grade Jubilee grass seed is ideal for a hard-wearing lawn, and is our best-selling lawn seed. Meanwhile, if you have a partially-shaded garden, Shadesman +is a good choice of grass seed that has a greater degree of shade resistance.
Sow Seed Evenly But Not Too Thickly
The biggest mistake that most people make when sowing grass seed is to put too many seeds in too small an area. Grass seeds do not need to be slathered on thickly, as each seed will make a plant and each plant needs room to grow and plenty of daylight. When plants are too close together, they become sickly and weak, and sometimes a fungal disease will attack crowded seedlings and kill them. Just like salt on your chips – it’s better to go sparingly and then add later if you think it needs it.
25 – 30 grams per square metre is the recommended sowing rate for grass seed. Lightly run the rake over the surface to partially cover the grass seed. Grass seed does not need to be buried deep in the soil, a couple of millimetres deep is plenty.
How Long Does Grass Seed Take to Grow?
It depends on the weather, but provided the soil is damp and warm (above 6 degrees Celsius), you can expect to see green shoots within 10-14 days. Grass seeds take between 5 and 30 days to germinate.
It takes around 6 months until the plants are strong enough for heavy traffic, so please be gentle with your lawn in the first few months.
Keep the Soil Moist Until the Grass Is Growing Strongly
It should be common sense that all plants need water. As soon as you have finished sowing grass seed, give the soil a good soak. Use a sprinkler attachment on your hosepipe – the water needs to fall gently onto the soil, otherwise it could wash the seed away. If you need a hosepipe or sprinkler attachment, TurfOnline has a range of reliable and affordable watering equipment available.
Make sure not to let the soil dry out until the grass is growing really strongly. If you’re lucky, Mother Nature will help you out with some rain.
When to Give Your New Lawn Its First Cut
Mow your new lawn for the first time when the grass is about 7.5-8.5 cm long. It is important that your mower blades are nice and sharp and that you only cut off the top 1cm of growth. Collect the clippings for the first few cuts as they could suffocate the young plants if left on the surface.
Help & Advice
The team at TurfOnline are always happy to answer your questions on any aspect of a lawn growing. Feel free to contact us here.