Preparation is the key to a successful lawn seeding, as is the type of seed you choose and the soil where the seed will make a happy home for many seasons yet to come. It took a lot for each glowing blade of grass to grow in uniform with its fellow leaves, so don't expect to throw down a handful of grass seeds and be done with the job. When the steps to plant grass seed are taken properly, a lush lawn is sure to sprout.
Preparing Soil for Grass Seed
The best way to grow grass is to start at the basic foundation: the soil. Before you begin, check the pH balance of the soil. This measures the acid and alkaline in the soil, which ranges from zero to 14. For good grass growing, a pH balance between 6.0 and 7.5 is ideal. If the soil is below 6.0, add lime to bring up the balance of alkaline to the acidic soil. If the pH is above 7.5, it is mildly alkaline, and a little peat moss added to the soil can create the better conditions to grow good grass.
Make sure to till the lawn before seeding. A rake can be used to till the soil before planting grass unless the ground is truly hardened and the dirt is packed. For that, a tilling machine can be rented from big box home improvement stores to turn the dirt over quickly and easily. This can take a few hours or the better part of an afternoon for the average-size lawn. Put down the additives you need when you are tilling the soil so that they get mixed in well with the existing layer of soil. Also include a fertilizer to give the grass a good, strong start.
Choosing the Best Seed
There are more than a dozen grass seeds that are widely available. Warm-season grasses thrive in warm weather, while cool-season grasses grow best when the temperatures undergo more extreme fluctuations. Seed variety types that are best for warm-season grasses include St. Augustine, Bahia, Bermuda and Zoysia. These are also good for reseeding in the winter in warmer-climate regions. Cool season grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass varieties. For a disease-resistant lawn, a blend of several varieties of one type of grass seed or a mixture of a combination of different types is the best choice. This seed blend will also offer a more uniform lawn once the grass has grown.
For small patches of dirt, you can hand sow the seeds. For larger areas, a lawn spreader will allow the seed to spread more evenly. If you have any bald patches once the seeds begin to take root, simply reseed the area by hand. Once the seed is down, cover it with mulch, garden fabric or a layer of straw to keep moisture in and birds and other seed lovers out.
Benefits of a Beautiful Yard
Aside from the aesthetic value of a wide expanse of greenery leading up to your door, a healthy yard offers many benefits. A lush lawn increases a home's value when you are looking to sell the property and can reduce the street noise from cars or businesses that surround the home. The tiny blades waving in the wind actually attract dust and keep it from the air. A wide swath of cool grasses cuts down on heat emanating from a bare patch of land. Those green stalks growing toward the sky also increase oxygen in the atmosphere.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.