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The Best Way to Plant Grass

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017

In climates with hot summers and cold winters, grass is ideally planted in the fall when the seeds will not easily dry up from the hot sun. Spring is the next-best choice. In areas where it is mildly warm all year, plant your grass anytime. Choose seeds appropriate for your climate -- some seeds fare better in cooler climates, while other do better in cooler climates. While each kind of grass seed is different, they can usually be planted in a similar manner.

Remove debris, such as sticks, stones and trash, from your lawn. Also, remove any vegetation, including weeds and grass. Use garden tools, such as a shovel or hoe, to help with this step, or rent a sod cutter. Sod cutters are either manual or gas-powered and are designed to easily remove sod and other vegetation. Always follow the instructions that come with your sod cutter.

Test the soil’s pH levels with testing strips available at local nurseries. Alternatively, take a soil sample to your county extension office for testing. Ideally, the soil’s pH should be between 6.0 and 7.5.

Till the soil with a rototiller. Then level the ground as much as possible by moving soil from one section to another with a garden rake or shovel. Add topsoil in low spots or holes where water may collect.

Add 1 inch of sand and till. Then, add 1 inch of compost and till

Rake in lime or sulfur based on the pH results from earlier. If your soil tested below 6.0, add a layer of lime to raise the acidity. If your soil tests above 8.0, add a layer of sulfur. How much depends on your initial results. Follow the recommended dosing instructions on the label. If your soil is between 7.0 and 8.0, just add 1 inch of peat moss.

Fertilize the area with a starter grass fertilizer. Fertilizers vary, so follow the dosing and application methods on the label.

Spread the seeds evenly with a push seeder or handheld seeder that uses a turn crank. Follow the spread amounts recommended by the seed manufacturer, but in general, apply about 16 seeds per square inch.

Rake in the seeds with the backside of a plastic leaf rake. Rake in short strokes so you do not affect the even seed distribution. Raking will help cover the seeds.

Water the new seeds two to three times a day for about 5 to 10 minutes each time until germination. Thereafter, water once a day in the morning for about 15 to 30 minutes. Do this until the first frost.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Sod cutter
  • PH testing strips
  • Rototiller
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Garden rake
  • Lime, sulfur or peat moss
  • Fertilizer
  • Seeds
  • Leaf rake

About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.