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How to Plant Grass Seed in the Fall

By Jenny Harrington ; Updated September 21, 2017
Healthy grass

Fall is the time to seed your lawn to ensure it is lush and green next summer. Mid-September is the prime date to give the seeds a chance to germinate and become established, but any time before the ground freezes over works as well. Whether you are seeding an entire lawn or reseeding just a few thin and bald patches it is much cheaper option than laying sod, though you must wait until spring to see the improvement.

Prepare the ground for seeding. Remove weeds, stones and any other debris from the area. Till the top 3 inches of soil if seeding an entire lawn or aerate the patch you are repairing. Work to make the seeding area as level as possible when preparing it.

Adjust the settings or your seed spreader or a fertilizer drop spreader to the setting recommended on the seed bag. Fill the spreader half full with the grass seed.

Push the spreader in horizontal rows across the lawn walking at a steady pace so it spread evenly. Repeat the process in vertical rows so that all areas are seeded twice and no portion of the lawn or bald area is missed.

Protect the newly laid seeds. Lay a ΒΌ inch layer of organic mulch, such as peat moss, over the entire seeded area.

Push a lawn roller over the entire seeded area to ensure that all the seeds are in contact with the soil. Rent lawn rollers at hardware and home improvement stores.

Water the entire seeded area using a mister attachment on your hose so the seeds aren't washed away. Water until the soil is moist to a depth of 6 inches. Continue to water daily so that the soil stays moist and that seeds are able to germinate quickly before colder weather comes.

Lay a 1 inch layer of straw mulch over the newly seeded lawn to retain moisture and protect the seeds from bird depredation. Remove the mulch once the grass begins growing.


Things You Will Need

  • Rototiller
  • Aerator
  • Seed spreader
  • Mulch
  • Lawn roller
  • Mister attachment
  • Straw


  • Mow the grass as short as your lawn mower allows before over-seeding an existing lawn.
  • Patch kits are available for small lawn repairs.
  • Apply a starter fertilizer to help the new grass plants get established quicker.


  • Avoid using chemical weed control products for at least 14 days prior to seeding your lawn. Do not use them again until after the grass is fully established in the spring.

About the Author


Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.