How to Start Grass Seeds


Beginning grass seeds takes time and patience as the new shoots may take several days to appear. Getting your new lawn off to the right start now will bring hours of fun later with outdoor barbecues and games with the kids. A lush lawn will brighten the curb appeal of your home and add value to your biggest treasure.

Step 1

Prepare the area where grass seed is to be started. Remove old grass and sod, using a pointed shovel to remove large rocks from the soil. Turn the soil with a rototiller or hand tiller until it is loose and free of clumps. Level the soil area by filling in low spots with dirt and soil from higher areas. Fill dirt can also be purchased, if needed, at local gardening shops. Inspect the soil for large amounts of clay or poor soil condition. The soil should be a rich color and moist. If the soil needs further attention to make it suitable for planting, proceed to step 2. For healthy soil, proceed to Step 3.

Step 2

Place a 1-inch layer of sand across the soil. Mix this into the existing dirt. Layer 1 inch of compost and again, till into the soil. This will allow for proper germination of the seeds and optimal growth potential.

Step 3

Spread 1 inch of lime and a starter fertilizer across the area to be seeded. Empty the lime into a spreader, preferably a walk-behind one for large areas, and open the control to one-quarter open. Walk, making passes across the lawn, until the entire area has been covered with lime. Repeat this process with the lawn fertilizer, opening the controls to half open. The lime and fertilizer should not be mixed in the spreader, as they need to be applied at different rates. Rake the mixture into the soil using a metal rake, digging the spikes at least 1 inch into the soil.

Step 4

Choose a grass seed appropriate for your climate. Check with a local garden center for recommendations for your climate type. Do not use grass seeds with "quick" or "mixed" in the name, as these are not quality seeds. Fill the spreader with seed and apply to the soil, with the controls open half way. Walk one direction, until the entire area has been seeded, then repeat walking perpendicular to your original path. This creates a cross pattern for better seed implantation.

Step 5

Water the soil and grass seed until the entire area is moist. Do not over water, as standing water will kill the new seed. Continue watering for 10-minute intervals twice daily for seven to 10 days. Grass shoots should begin to appear at this time. Once the grass has reached 2 to 3 inches tall, you may mow the grass. Use a sharpened mower blade. A dull blade will damage the new grass shoots and pull them from the soil. Fertilize the new lawn six weeks after the grass shoots appear.

Things You'll Need

  • Pointed fiberglass shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Metal rake
  • Fertilizer
  • Lime
  • Grass seed
  • Walk-behind spreader
  • Water
  • Hose
  • Sand (optional)
  • Compost (optional)


  • Checklist for Planting Grass Seed
  • Planting Grass Seed
Keywords: grass seed, planting, fertilizer