Beautiful greed lawns and lush full pastures of grass are a result of more than just tossing a handful of seeds on the ground. It takes planning, proper planting of grass seeds and the correct timing to achieve a well covered area. It may take more than one year to produce a rich, green lawn, but the final results are worth the hard work involved.
The best time to plant grass seed is in the early autumn from mid-August through mid-September. Planting in the spring has some downfalls. Weed seeds are ready to sprout in the spring, so whatever you do to improve the chances of the grass seed will benefit the weed seeds as well. In the fall, there are fewer weed seeds to compete with. Fall is the time where the days are growing shorter and the nights are growing longer and cooler. This makes it easier to keep grass seeds moist. Grass planted in the fall usually comes back thick and green in the spring.
Control the weeds in the planting area before sowing the grass seed. Eliminate weeds by pulling by hand, digging them up, tilling them under or spraying with herbicides. Be aware that there is a delay in planting time when using an herbicide. The effects of the herbicide must wear off before the grass seed is planted or it will cause the seed germination to fail.
Test the soil before planting to gather information about the nutrient content. This allows you to amend the soil with the knowledge of what is needed. Check the salt level of your soil since grass seed is susceptible to salts damage. Do not apply nitrogen before planting because the weeds can obtain this nutrient better than grass seedlings. Add organic matter to the soil for its slow release of nutrients. The benefits of the organic matter will be available by the time the seedlings need it. Be wary about adding phosphorus to the soil since the unused excess can cause water pollution.
Correct any drainage or soil compaction issues before planting. Fill in low spots that collect water. Till the soil to the depth of 12 inches to break up soil compaction which limits root expansion and water absorption. The surface should be smooth, but do not pulverize the soil into a powder.
Either broadcast grass seeds by hand or by a mechanical device called a seed spreader. Spread the seeds in two directions to avoid leaving uncovered areas. Rake dirt over the seeds to a depth of 1/4 to 3/8 inch. Another option is to cover the seeds with a thin layer of peat moss or potting soil after sowing.