Starting a lawn by sowing grass seed is the most commonly used method for growing a new turf, according to Purdue University. Budget-conscious gardeners will also find grass seed to be cheaper than buying sod sheets. Gardeners can ensure a lush, established lawn by following a few success-boosting lawn seed tips and management strategies.
Not all grass species are alike. Some are better adapted for certain climates than others, and numerous regional cultivars developed by universities help counter area-specific problems with climate or soil conditions. Select a grass seed that will thrive in your yard. Contacting a regional Cooperative Extension Service office (see Resources) can help you narrow down your options when choosing grass seed.
The date that you sow your grass seed can have profound effects on germination rates and seedling development. Grass seed germinates at its optimal rate when the outdoor temperatures range between 60 degrees F and 85 degrees F, according to Oregon State University. Typically, gardeners encounter such temperatures at the end of summer or the start of fall.
Amending the soil maximizes the grass seed's ability to grow into a lush and dense lawn. Break up the soil into loose chunks to a depth of 6 to 7 inches to give the grass seedlings appropriate space to grow a deep root network. Mix in approximately 2 to 3 inches of compost, increasing the soil's moisture retention abilities and level of organic material. Follow this with a lawn starter product that's high in phosphorous. The best starter fertilizer has a nutrient composition of 16-22-8, according to Purdue University.
Grass seeds need the right amount of water to develop. Improper watering is the chief reason that grass seed fails to germinate or root properly, according to Ohio State University. The university recommends regularly misting the seed bed with water four to five times a day to keep the area consistently moist until the seeds sprout.