A Step By Step Guide to Planting Grass Seed

Grass seed in the palm of a person's hand.

One of the biggest aspects of curb appeal is the lawn.  Whether it’s a commercial property or residential home, the lawn is an emerald litmus test for how much the property is cared for and maintained.  This means it’s crucial for property owners to, at the very least, have healthy grass.  

Thankfully, our Lawn Care team has decades of experience with planting and troubleshooting grass growth and maintenance. They have distilled their sought-after expertise into a comprehensive plan for planting, nurturing, and especially watering grass seed that will grow into a lawn that’s always greener than the other side.

When is the best time to plant grass seed?  

Grass seed comes in many varieties, including those that can withstand both hot and cold weather.  However, the most optimal time to plant grass seed, even cool-season grasses, is August through September.  You can also try dormant seeding in the fall and winter.  Finally, spring is the third best time to plant grass seed, per Reinders Lawn Care reps.  Following recommended timelines based on your climate will promote the germination of seeds for a healthy lawn!

Step 1: Prepare the soil 

The soil is the foundation of your lawn.  So naturally, the first step in planting grass seed is to prepare the soil.  Removing debris, rocks, weeds, or dead grass from the area where you plan to plant the seed is essential. 

Furthermore, fledgling grass roots grow better in less compact soil.  Therefore, you will need to loosen it with a hand cultivator or a tiller to a depth of about 2-3 inches.  If you are seeding an entire lawn or a larger area, you can make the job easier with a mechanical tiller to loosen the topsoil up to 3-5 inches.  

Also, it must be noted that if you are utilizing excavating equipment, you don’t have to till the soil, but it is recommended that you add a layer of topsoil, per SavvyGardening.com.

Step 2: Choose the Right Grass Seed 

Many factors must be considered when selecting the best grass seed for your client’s needs, including the climate, the amount of foot traffic, the type of look desired, and the amount of shade in the area.  Additionally, if you live in a climate that receives cold weather and steady snowfall, recovery from plowing and salt is also a big consideration.  

Most of your customers might look for something that’s sturdy, falls in line with their budget constraints, and will stay green or can recover quickly.  Reinders has a decades-long history in the development and cultivation of hearty and beautiful grass seeds.  

Reinders.com offers a variety of different grass seeds, including the following:

Reinders – Deluxe 50 Lawn Seed Mix

This reliable grass seed is designed to be cost-effective, disease-resistant, and lower maintenance, making it a great choice for residential lawns, school grounds, golf course roughs, and more!  

Reinders – Team Tall Fescue Blend

Our Tall Fescue Blend is ideal for residential lawns and even high-traffic areas like parks and sports fields due to its toughness and drought tolerance. 

Reinders – Shade Lawn Seed Mix

This mix establishes itself quickly, grows well in heavy shade, and offers excellent adaptability and disease resistance.

To identify the right grass seed for your application, get in touch with your sales rep!

Step 3: Plant the seed

Once you’ve prepared the soil and chosen the right seed, it’s time to plant.  Spread the seed evenly over the surface of the soil by hand, if you are working in a small area, or use a spreader for larger areas.  Always refer to the manufacturer’s information for how much seed is required for seeding or overseeding and seed depth.  A significant cause of failures with planting grass seed is that it’s simply buried too deeply.  

Step 4: Cover the seed

Now that the seed is planted, it needs to be protected to give it a chance to germinate.  This is an extremely important step that will directly impact the density and health of your lawn.  Our team recommends covering your freshly sown grass seed with straw blankets or EZ Straw to protect it from birds and vermin, wind erosion, and to seal in moisture.  

For commercial crews on a time crunch, this may seem like it takes too much time or is an unnecessary expense, but do not skip this step!  It will save you both in the long run as it will aid in the germination of your client’s lawn!  

Step 5: Water the seed

Watering is an incredibly crucial step, especially in the first 4 to 6 weeks after planting.  The soil needs to be kept moist (but not soaking wet) to encourage growth.  Be sure to water the soil consistently for the first 7 to 10 days during the germination process.  Then, you can gradually reduce the frequency of watering but increase the amount of water per session.  

Art Gruner, Reinders Landscape Sales Rep, explains, “In my experience, one of the biggest reasons why plantings fail is usually because of the lack of consistent watering.  The ground should be moist with no standing water for the first month.  After that, you can scale back.” 

Of course, you have to factor in the weather and the environment and then adjust the cadence of your watering accordingly.  For example, if heavy rain is in the forecast, you can pull back on watering the soil in order to prevent it from becoming too wet.

Also, if you or your crew are short on manpower or need to be more hands-off with watering, you can use wetting agents to help the soil absorb water more efficiently.

Step 6: Feed the Seed

From a business level, you’ve just spent a lot of money and sweat equity on tilling, planting, and watering, so it’s vital to protect your investment by ensuring that the lawn grows into something healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Starter fertilizer will give the soil and seeds receive the nutrients it needs and set a solid baseline for seeds to make use of, promoting faster, thicker, and better growth.

Try one of these starter fertilizers:

Step 7: Monitor the lawn

Once the grass begins to grow, you should monitor it carefully to ensure that it’s healthy or to head off any problems before they become more serious. Watch out for signs of under or overwatering, pests, and diseases.  It must be noted that environmental factors should greatly decrease the chances of disease and insects for a new grow-in, but it’s still good to be vigilant for instances of, for example, Pythium Blight, especially during warm, humid weather, per North Carolina State University

When the lawn is at least 3 inches tall, your crew can begin to mow and maintain it regularly.  This includes fertilizing it every six weeks for a full and luscious lawn.  Also, post-emergent herbicides prevent the growth of unsightly and invasive weeds, so this can be applied as well.  Generally, the rule is to apply it six weeks after planting or per manufacturer instructions from then on.

Fledging grass blades emerging from the soil

You got this!

Ultimately, planting and nurturing a gorgeous lawn for residential and commercial clients is all about patience, care, and quality products.  By following these steps, you can ensure that your client’s lawns grow into healthy and beautiful green spaces. 

Reach out to your Reinders rep for any questions, product recommendations, or seed consultations!  

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