Seeding a new lawn or overseeding an existing lawn should result in lush green grass. The type of seed used, the season of planting and soil preparation all play an important role in determining the growth rate of new grass seed. Getting your seeds off to the best start will ensure a healthy lawn.
Here are a few tips to help you out.
When to reseed your lawn
Seeding can be successful any time of year, but spring and summer lawn seeding requires a lot more care and water. In most parts of Canada fall is the best time to reseed your lawn. Weeds that compete with grass for moisture and growing space typically die off at the end of summer. Early fall is preferred because seed can germinate faster in the warm soil and continue to establish itself through the cooler weather of fall and winter. There's also more natural water in the fall so less sprinkling is needed. Fall is also excellent weather to work in without the danger of heat or sunstroke.
Clear the area you are going to reseed of grass, weeds, rocks, and other debris. Loosen the soil and even out the surface, leveling the ground where necessary and breaking up any clumps of dirt by hand or with a rake. If your topsoil seems very poor, you may want to consider adding topsoil before seeding.
After you have prepared the soil, fertilize and water the soil. This can be done with commercial fertilizer, or you can go with organic compost. If you use compost, mix it in well with your topsoil.
Choosing the right type of seeds
Use a high-quality seed that is suitable to your soil and area. A number of different mixes of grass seed are available in the market; each has its own particular characteristics and suits specific uses. A reputable local supplier should be able to advise on the mix to meet any particular need. Different varieties of seed have a different covering capacity, usually ranging from 1 oz per square yard to 2 oz per square yard (35 to 70g per square meter). Take advice from your supplier as to the particular seed you choose.
Seeding a lawn
Once you have prepared the surface, spread the grass seed according to package directions. The grass seed should be distributed evenly and most sources recommend covering the area twice, walking first in one direction and then at a 90-degree angle. Cover the newly seeded soil with straw to protect the seed from birds and wind, and to provide a layer of insulation.
If you're overseeding an existing lawn, remove thatch of grass clippings and dead grass before spreading new seed. Either rake the area by hand or use a power rake to expose the soil. The process for encouraging new seed growth is the same as when seeding a new lawn.
Watering is the most important part of planting grass seed. Water the seeded area for 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times daily for the first two weeks. As the grass begins to emerge, reduce the watering frequency to once a day. Mowing new grass is critical to its healthy growth. Once the lawn reaches 2 to 3 inches in height, begin mowing.
Dealing with weeds
If you've started with a good layer of quality topsoil, weeds should not be a big problem during early growth. Careful hand weeding is the best solution to getting rid of the few weeds that may appear during the first month and a half. You can discourage weeds by planting the right grasses, mowing high, watering and fertilizing with care and overseeding. Reseed all bare spots with grass to prevent weeds from filling the space. To further combat weeds, inquire at your local garden centre about new lawn care products made from environmentally-friendly substances.