Part three of our lawn care video series; Great Lawns Made Simple explains how to prepare your soil for the perfect seedbed that will make for a beautiful lawn.
No matter what soil type you have, to prepare your seedbed for sowing and to give grass seeds a healthy start it is worth putting in a little extra effort at this stage.
1. Tackle weeds
The more you do at this stage the less work you will have in the future. Grass can quickly be taken over by a variety of weeds that can spread, cover your lawn and are difficult to get rid of. To remove them properly for a fresh seedbed, dig them out completely as the roots can grow back again or use a weed killer. Remember you will still need to remove the dead weeds.
If you plan to use weed killer it should be applied following all instructions on the label and usually takes a matter of days before you see the dead weeds. You can apply using a watering can or a pump sprayer for larger areas.
If you have plenty of time you can lay a heavy covering over the ground (like an old carpet) as this will block light and all weeds will die after a few weeks. It’s less effort initially and the soil will still need digging over to remove the weeds.
2. Get a fine seedbed
Ideally after removing any weeds and debris, let the soil cultivate for a few weeks. This allows you to remove any new weeds that appear which can be then pulled out easily.
You can dig by hand using a spade and fork if you have a small area but if it’s a large garden you will more likely need a machine called a rotovator to dig over your soil. You can hire one for this purpose. Dig the site to a depth of at least 15cm. This breaks up the soil, adds oxygen and helps prepares the soil for sowing. Remove any large stones, weeds and roots you come across. It is useful to have a bucket or wheelbarrow nearby for putting them in.
3. Fertilise your soil
Fertiliser can be used in two ways when sowing grass seed. One option is to apply a fast-acting pre-seed feed just before sowing. This will boost the soil and kickstart your seed. Alternatively, you can apply a slow release fertiliser a few weeks after sowing which will ensure steady growth for 8-12 weeks. View our range of fertilisers here.
Final steps to good soil
It’s really important to prepare a good surface for sowing seeds. The ideal seedbed has no weeds, no big stones or debris and has been raked to level it out. Next, you need to tread the ground to get rid of air pockets. Take small shuffle steps over the surface to even out the soil. Think of it like doing a penguin walk. Do this in rows to make sure all the areas are covered. You now have a prepared seedbed.