How to Grow Turf Grass

Overview

The two main categories of turf grasses are cool season and warm season. Cool-season grasses should be planted in areas that have average temperatures of 65° to 75° Fahrenheit. They do well in temperate, cooler regions. Warm-season grasses are perfect for climates with temperatures between 80° and 95° Fahrenheit. Cool-season grasses tend to be planted in the northern part of the U.S., and warm-season grasses are found down south. When planting turf grass, it is essential to properly prepare the site.

Step 1

Seed warm-season grasses in the spring after the soil is warm enough for germination. Cool-season grasses should be planted in the late summer or early fall.

Step 2

Remove debris from the planting area. Grass seeds need direct contact with the soil to germinate. Get rid of weeds, stones and sticks. Break up any clumps of dirt.

Step 3

Till the ground to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Loosening it up will add air pockets, which the grass roots need to spread and develop.

Step 4

Apply a starter fertilizer to the surface. Choose one with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio of 12-25-10. Spread 5 to 8 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If your soil is poor, use a blend with more phosphorus, such as 18-46-0.

Step 5

Set a spreader to the seeding rate indicated on the turf grass package. Use a hand spreader if you're seeding a small area and a mechanical spreader for large areas.

Step 6

Disperse the seed over the soil surface. Make sure it's an even amount to avoid gaps or competition for nutrients. Rake the seed gently into the top 1/8 inch of soil.

Step 7

Add a 2-inch layer of mulch to the top of the planted turf grass. Straw or other types of mulch will keep the soil moist until the seeds are established.

Step 8

Water the turf grass immediately after planting to ensure successful establishment. The roots are not developed enough to get water on their own. Give turf grass 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Pay careful attention to the moisture level (using a touch test) on warm, windy days.

Step 9

Add water to the turf grass in the morning hours. Watering in the evening keeps the turf wet for a longer period of time because there is no sun to dry it out. This invites disease and fungal problems.

Step 10

Mow turf grass to the best height for the specific type of grass. Cool-season grasses, such as fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, should be cut between 1.5 and 3 inches tall. Cut warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass to 0.5 inches or taller. Carpetgrass, Bahiagrass and centipedegrass thrive when they are between 1 and 3 inches tall and St. Augustinegrass should be kept at a height of 3 to 4 inches.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Rototiller
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Spreader
  • Turf grass seed
  • Mulch
  • Lawn mower

References

  • The United States National Arboretum: Turfgrass Questions and Answers
  • American-Lawns: Types of Grasses Found in America
  • Spring-Green: Lawn Seeding Tips
Keywords: grow turf grass, plant grass seed, plant turf grass

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.