How to Sow Grass Seed

Find out how to sow grass seed with our expert guide which will help you get it right first time.

Getting your seed bed right

Like decorating, prep goes a long way to a good finish.

Good soil and a bit of work will help get better results.

The seed bed needs to be at least 150mm. You can do this by digging the soil over with a spade or using a rotavator.

Remove stones

Remove weeds – like dandelions that will reappear if not dug out completely.

Let it settle for a while, a week is good but a couple is better.

This lets you tackle the weeds you missed. The less of those the better when trying to sow seed.

Firm the ground by doing a bit of penguin walking or shuffling in small steps, then with a soil rake, go over in several directions.

Now is a good time to add slow release fertiliser and rake in.

When to sow seed

Good healthy plants are ones that have grown stress free.

A good guide is to sow in April, May, June or late August and September.

July and August are warm but can be very dry so you must be prepared to water properly if you do sow. Warm is good but seed will need access to correct supply of water.

Germination can be quick if conditions are good. You should see growth from 7 to 14 days when conditions are right.

Grass may take more weeks to appear if seeds do not have access to those conditions. Seeds will wait in cold and dry for the right time.

Sow the seed

You must sow at the correct depth.

Buried too deep the plant will run out of energy trying to reach the surface.

Left on the surface, it may dry out, get too much sun or grow with no good anchor in the ground so may break. Hungry birds may come and eat it if they spy breakfast laid out on your soil.

Spreading the seed

By hand, spreader or seed drill.

Dividing the area into sections is helpful as it prevents you using too much and running out of seed too soon.

You can use sand or string to mark it out.

Follow instructions – they are there to give you the best outcome.

TIP: Weigh out how much you need per metre and put in a plastic container. Draw a line to represent amount and scatter evenly for every marked metre.

Sow between 5mm and 10mm. That’s about 3 pound coins deep.

Rake lightly until the majority of seed is covered with soil, then tread LIGHTLY to firm in.

Good contact with the soil and snugly surrounded by soil is best. Remember it needs air too, not compacted in too tight

Water the seed

Little and often is best, don’t flood the soil.

A good guide is if a few particles stick to your hand, not mud.

Cutting for the first time

Wait until the seedlings are at least 50mm, 70 – 80 mm is better.

Go lightly for the first cut.

You should aim to take a third off with the mower.

Set height at 35mm if you can or just put at highest height you can, better to take less off rather than chop hard and cause stress.

You should ideally gradually reduce the height over a period of weeks.

First time feed

A spring sown lawn will benefit from a quick release pre seed fertiliser.

This will last up to six weeks.

A slow release is recommended as:

  • They are more efficient and more cost effective in the long run.
  • It feeds the grass consistently and uniformly over a 12 week period.
  • Stops large rushes of growth.
  • They reduce nitrogen leaching in soil water into water systems.

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