Establishing a new lawn from seed means having the greatest selection of grass seed possible. Distributing grass seed properly requires using a drop spreader that is properly calibrated. When the area of the lawn is known, grass seed may be split in half and applied in two runs in opposite directions along the lawn. After grass seed is spread, the correct aftercare is required to ensure the greatest coverage possible. It is integral that high-quality grass seed is used. Grass should have a high germination and very little weed seed inside the mix. Buy grass seed that establishes well in your area of the country.
Measure the area of your lawn and multiply the length times the width to get the area in square feet. Buy enough seed, according to variety, to cover the lawn properly. Some grass seed requires 1 lb. of seed per 1,000 feet, while other seeds require several pounds. Check your variety before applying.
Remove all debris from the lawn, including exposed weeds. Apply a starter fertilizer from a local garden center, and till the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. This aids in root development and breaks up any weed roots.
Set the spreader on the lowest setting, says Purdue University, and spread half of the seed walking slowly in one direction of the lawn. Fill the spreader with the second half of seed once empty and cross the lawn to overlap the first application.
Rake the soil lightly after spreading to work the seed into the soil. Run a lawn roller over the lawn to improve seed contact with the soil, says Purdue University.
Apply a thin layer of mulch to protect the seeds from birds and other predators, as well as heavy rain. Straw is the best to use, as it is light and will not smother new grass.
Water the soil so it is moist to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Check moisture daily.
Mow the grass once it is 2 to 3 inches in height. Ohio State University suggests mowing one third of the grass blade at a time to prevent damage, encourage root growth and prevent thatch, which is the accumulation of dead plant matter.
Apply 1 to 2 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet according to the needs of the specific grass variety, says Outagamie Cooperative Extension.