Seeding applies primarily to cool-season grasses. Lawns started from seed are best planted in fall, early enough in the season to give the grass time to establish before cold weather comes. The next best time is spring, after all danger of frost is past and before weather turns hot.

When you prepare the soil, don’t cultivate it too finely—it may crust, forming a hard surface which emerging seedlings cannot penetrate. Ideally, aim for pea-size to marble-size soil particles. Do final leveling with a garden rake.

Other tips include:

  • Pick a windless day and sow seed evenly
  • Apply a complete dry granular fertilizer
  • Cover the seeds
  • Water thoroughly
  • Mow for the first time when the grass is one-third taller than its optimum height
  • If weeds emerge, don’t attempt to control them until the young lawn has been mowed 4 times.

Click here to download the full Lawn Starting Guide.