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How to Plant Grass Seeds in Maryland

new growth image by Alison Bowden from

Seeding a lawn is an inexpensive way to establish a green turf area. While the process is time consuming, a seeded lawns roots form deep into the soil making it more durable than sod. According to the University of Maryland, the turf-type tall fescue grass is recommended to plant in Maryland due to the climate conditions. The best time to plant grass seed is late summer through early fall to prevent damage to new growth during the hot summer months.

Contact your County University Extension office to have a soil test completed. The test results will give recommendations for soil amendments and the type of fertilizer best suited for the lawn.

Add soil supplements as recommended by the soil test two weeks prior to planting the grass seed.

Prepare the lawn area by removing vegetative growth and working the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches with a tiller. Compact the soil by using a lawn roller filled with water for weight.

Apply a 1:2:1 starter fertilizer to the surface of the soil. Make sure the fertilizer does not have weed eliminating chemicals as this will prevent seed growth. Do not work the starter fertilizer into the soil.

Sow half of the grass seed using a broadcast spreader and walking in a north-south direction. Sow the remaining half of seeds walking in an east-west direction. This will give a complete coverage of seeds over the lawn area.

Rake the seeds lightly after sowing to set them 1/8 inch into the soil. Roll the seeded area with a lawn roller filled half-full of water for weight to hold the seeds in place.

Water the seeded area immediately after sowing to moisten the soil for germination. Do not allow the soil to dry out during the germination process. Apply 10 to 20 minutes of supplemental water sprinkling twice a day for the first three to four weeks of growth.

Apply clean, seed-free straw mulch over the seeded lawn to retain moisture during the germination process. Remove the mulch after two to three weeks of growth.


Apply the correct amount of grass seed as listed on the package. Most seed types list 16 to 22 seeds per square inch of soil. Spread 10 seeds per square inch when passing over the lawn two times.

Lawn rollers can be rented at garden supply stores or hardware rental stores.

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