Growing grass can be a tricky procedure. Grass seed requires consistently moist soil to germinate effectively. Nature can throw a wrench into these ideal conditions. Heavy rain can wash away the seed, wind can blow it away and blistering heat can dry the seeds out. A way to combat these problems is to lay a thin layer of hay over the top of the seed bed. The hay will act as a buffer between the elements and the grass seed.
Prepare the area to be seeded by tilling it to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Rake it thoroughly to remove sticks, rocks and other debris. Raking also smooths the soil out.
Roll the area with a lawn roller if you sink more than 1/2 inch into the soil when walking across it.
Fill your broadcast spreader with grass seed. Read the grass seed bag for the appropriate application rate and set the spreader dial to the correct setting.
Push your broadcast spreader across the seedbed to spread the grass seed. Ensure the entire area gets covered with grass seed.
Bury your grass seed into the top 1/4-inch of soil by raking the seedbed gently.
Fill your broadcast spreader with starter fertilizer and spread across your seedbed at the bag's indicated rate.
Spread a light layer of hay across the top of the entire seedbed. Use approximately 1 bale of hay per 1,000 square feet. You should be able to see 50 to 75 percent of the soil through the hay.
Water your seedbed one to three times per day for 10 to 15 minutes per watering cycle. Occasionally check to see that the seedbed isn't getting too soggy or drying out. Adjust watering accordingly to accommodate local soil and weather conditions.
Mow your grass at 2 1/2 inches when it reaches 3 to 4 inches in height. Slowly change your watering schedule to deep, but infrequent waterings during this time. Aim to apply 1 inch of water once per week.
Apply another application of starter fertilizer to your lawn three to four weeks after germination. Apply at the indicated rate with your broadcast spreader.