Sowing grass seed is the most economical method of starting a new lawn. Though plugs and sod work well, they are more expensive. When purchasing your grass seed be sure to consider where you live and the growing conditions offered so you will get the correct grass for your particular area. Read the label on the grass and select a variety that is 90 percent pure grass seed and has a germination rate of at least 85 percent. As when planting any seeds or plants, site preparation is required for proper germination and growth.
Select a grass variety appropriate for your location. Consider whether you need a cool season grass such as rye or Kentucky blue, or a warm season grass such as St. Augustine or Bahia. Warm season grasses are appropriate for the subtropical and tropical regions of the United States.
Consider the appropriate planting times when sowing your grass seed for the best germination. Plant warm season grass seeds in late spring to early fall and plant cool season grass seeds in early spring or fall. Temperatures affect the germination process.
Clear the planting site by removing any existing grass or weeds from the area, as well as rocks, sticks or other debris. Spray the vegetation with an herbicide designed to kill the plants in question. Allow the herbicide to sit on the weeds for approximately one to two days without watering.
Rake or pull the dead vegetation from the planting site, once it has turned brown and died. Water the area thoroughly, washing the poisonous herbicide from the top layer of soil. Wait approximately one to two weeks before planting your grass seed.
Till the planting site to loosen the soil and then rake the area level. Fill in areas that are low with existing soil or top soil. Water the soil thoroughly before planting the seed.
Apply the grass seed by hand or use a spreader, plant it 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. Spread large seeded grass seeds, such as centipede, at a rate of approximately 4 lb. for every 1000 square feet of planting space. Spread large seeded grasses, such as Bahia, at a rate of 10 lb. per 100 square feet of planting space.
Cover the grass seed with 1/4 inch of top soil. Grass seed requires good contact with the soil for proper germination.
Use a roller and roll over the planting site to firm the area up and ensure the seed and soil make contact with each other.
Water the planting site, thoroughly moistening the seeds in the soil. Continue watering the seed two times per day for approximately 10 minutes, depending on local weather conditions. Slowly taper back the amount of water applied to the area but keep the area moist. Depending on the variety of grass seed, germination will begin in approximately seven to 14 days.