Fastest and Best Ways to Plant Grass
If you’ve been dreaming of a lush, green lawn, you can make that dream a reality with a little hard work and the right method. Sometimes, it feels like it takes forever for grass to grow. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are tips and tricks that you can use to grow a full lawn or fill in the bare spots to make your yard look like new. Here are 5 tips on the fastest and best ways to plant grass for your lawn.
Tip #1: Select the correct grass variety. Every type of grass grows differently, looks and feels a little different, and needs different conditions to grow quickly.
You will need to know two things:
- Your climate map zone
- The difference between cool-season and warm-season grass types
You can figure out what zone you are in by an online search or reaching out to your local extension office (a garden center might also be able to help).
Cool-season grasses are those that do well with a cool spring and fall and a moderate summer, so typically in the more northern part of the U.S. Warm-season grasses do well in the south, with hotter summer seasons and less cold winters.
Other factors that might influence your decision is the humidity in your area and the elevation at which you live.
Be aware of the germination rates for the type of grass you chose, if you are looking for a speedy growth rate! The typical range for seed germination is 3 to 28 days, depending on the type you choose. Ryegrass can grow in as little as 5 days, and Kentucky bluegrass can take up to two weeks.
Tip #2: Plant at the right time of year. This will depend on the type of grass you have selected.
Typically you will want to plant in the spring or fall, because of the overnight moisture levels and generally favorable temperatures. Warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass are often planted in the late summer or spring. Most other grasses are planted in the early fall, when the soil is warm but the nighttime air is cooler.
You can search online for details about that grass variety, or the bag may even have some information on it.
Tip #3: Prep your lawn properly. Before actually planting any grass seed, you should make sure your lawn is ready so the seeds have the best conditions possible.
Soil aeration makes it so your seeds have room to settle and the roots have space to grow. It allows water and nutrients to get into the soil, so that the seeds can access them. It also makes it so you have good seed to soil contact, which is the best way to ensure germination. You can use a shovel or rake, or rent or buy an aerator to help break up the soil so you can make sure it’s ready.
You also need to make sure the soil has the correct composition, which can be done with a simple soil test from your local garden center. This will allow you to learn what nutrients the soil is lacking, so you can use the right fertilizer for your lawn’s unique needs.
Tip #4: When you are ready to plant, be sure to use the right tools. For a small area, hand seeding should be fine. But if you are doing a large area or your entire lawn, you may want to consider a seed spreader. There are many spreaders to choose from, including hand-cranked, push from behind, drop spreader, etc. You can see what your garden center has in stock and choose what will work best for you.
As you begin seeding, you should make two passes over the lawn, and drop seeds according to the instructions on your bag for that variety (usually this is 15-20 seeds per square inch). On your first pass, go north to south over your lawn. Then on your second, go east to west. This will help you more evenly spread the seed.
Don’t forget to lightly rake the seeds into the soil so they have good seed to soil contact that will allow for faster germination.
Tip #5: After you have planted the grass seeds, you will need to give the ground a good watering. If the seeds dry out before they germinate, they can die before they even have a chance to grow.
For the first few weeks, you will want to keep the lawn moist. If you live in a very warm area, you may need to water two or three times a day. If some areas are shadier than others, those may need less water, so keep an eye on it.
After the first two or three weeks have passed and you start to see good germination, you can cut back to just a few days a week. When the lawn is about two inches tall, you can reduce your watering further to about once a week.