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Planting Grass Seed

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

Whether you're starting over or reviving an existing lawn, you'll need to get the yard ready for planting grass seed.

One of the best parts about spring is watching all the brown and gray change to green and color. You're probably looking at your snow-covered or brown lawn and ready to see some green. Bringing your grass back from winter is easy to do, whether you want to revive your current lawn or plant new grass from seed.


One of the best parts about spring is watching all the brown and gray change to green and color. You're probably looking at your snow-covered or brown lawn and ready to see some green. Bringing your grass back from winter is easy to do, whether you want to revive your current lawn or plant new grass from seed.

To revive an existing lawn, you'll still want to overseed to create a healthy, plush lawn. You'll also need to get your lawn ready if you plan to plant new grass from seed. Before planting anything, test your soil pH and dig out any weeds, like dandelions. Mow the lawn as close as possible to the soil surface. Collect clippings in the lawnmower bag and add them to your compost pile. If you're yet to start composting, these clippings are a great way to begin. Next, rake the lawn to loosen up the top half inch of soil.

Using the results of your soil test, amend the soil with lime to change the pH level and add fertilizer to increase phosphorous levels. A 5-10-15 or 6-12-12 starter fertilizer is a good choice for starting grass seed. If you soil has a high clay content, you will need to aerate it, either with a power aerator or a soil conditioner, like gypsum. Either of these make holes that help break up dense clay so the grass can root. Finally spread a 1/2-inch layer of top soil over the area to fill in the holes. The combination of aeration and topsoil dressing will mix with the fertilizers and amendments to create a fertile space for growing grass.Now you're ready to choose your grass seed.

If you are overseeding an existing lawn, broadcast seed at only half the rate recommended for planting a new lawn. A spreader or hand-cranked seeder makes distributing seeds evenly easy. Pour in the amount of seed required for your space and apply the grass seed to the area. When finished seeding, rake over the seeded area lightly to mix seeds with the topsoil.

Grass seed needs lots of water to get started, and the average germination time is two to three weeks. Plan to water the area twice daily for 10 minutes each. Be sure that your sprinklers reach every corner of the new lawn or you will end up with bare patches. Start mowing the new lawn when grass is about 3 inches high. This will ensure light exposure for any late-sprouting seeds.
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