What is the best way to sow grass seed?

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What is the best way to sow grass seed?

Grass seed can be sown in the UK any time from late March until mid-October, although it is not recommended that you attempt it during the hotter, drier summer months. Many people won’t want to wait and will sow grass seed in the Spring; whilst there is nothing wrong with this, being patient until September has its benefits. The ground is usually warmer after summer and weeds will have germinated and can be removed. In addition, September planting means that young seedlings are less likely to be scorched and killed off through constant watering in the hot sun.

As with all plants, it is important to protect them during the early stages of growth, so ensure that if you experience unseasonably dry weather, the grass is kept moist at all times until it reaches about 5cm (2 inches).

Simply watering on occasion is not enough; the ground must be thoroughly soaked until the grass is established.

Choose the right seed

You may be surprised to learn that there are lots of different types and blends of grass, such as general purpose lawn blends, blends for shade or drought, ornamental fine grass and hardwearing mixes ideal for family gardens, so it is important that you choose a seed mixture that works for your needs.

It also goes without saying that you get what you pay for; choose a cheap garden seed and you may not get the results you want.

Preparation is key

Skim off any old grass, remove weeds and any large stones or pebbles, then roughly level the soil. Make sure you remove any weeds either by hand or using a contact weedkiller, as using a residual weedkiller will stop the grass seeds from germinating.

Fork and then rake the soil level, before firming the soil by walking over the site in different directions. Rake the soil again in different directions to open it up ready for seeding.

A few days before sowing the grass seed, rake in a granular, general purpose fertiliser to aid growth.

Sowing the grass seeds

Mark out the area you are planning to sow into square metres or square yards using garden canes.

Mix up the seeds by shaking the box.

It is important to make sure you distribute the seed evenly. Either follow the guidelines on the seed box or if you have no instructions, 50g of seed per square metre is usually more than adequate. Split the amount per square metre into two containers and scatter half in one direction across the square before sowing the rest of the grass seeds in the opposite direction. Alternatively, you might want to buy a fertiliser spreader to aid in even distribution.

Lightly rake over and water the area well.

Protection

Your new grass seeds will need constant moisture, so for the first two weeks, it is important that you lightly water the area (ideally with a very fine spray as heavy watering may move or puddle the seeds), twice a day if possible.

Grass seeds are not only susceptible to weeds and weather conditions; birds can also cause damage. Protect the fragile seedlings from birds using fruit netting. You might also want to consider cordoning off your newly sown grass seeds to prevent people and pets from walking over the area.

Once the grass has reached a certain point it will naturally stifle weed growth but to begin with, carefully weed the area by hand, making sure you remove any weeds before they have the opportunity to flower and germinate further.

 

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