Garden Advice

When to Sow Grass Seed?

Getting a luscious, green lawn sounds like a lot of hard work, especially if you want to cover a large area. But it doesn’t need to be! When armed with the proper knowledge, you’ll know when to sow your grass seeds, how to prepare your soil, and how to nurture the seedlings afterwards.

So, if you:

  • Had a fence installed and your grass sustained some damage in the process, want to repair it, and wonder what seeds are best for the job;
  • Want to transform your front garden from a square of mud to a beautiful lawn but don’t want to break the bank;
  • Have a lawn in need of weed killing and scarification that will need resowing afterwards, and you wonder whether you still have time or have missed the season,

Then read on!

When to sow grass seed?

Let’s get right to the point. When is the best time to sow grass seed in the UK? It’s between late summer and mid-autumn. That’s when the soil is still warm and damp enough, which is the basis for successful seed germination. 

Harsh weather conditions such as frost and snow are still far away and rainfalls are frequent. Weeds and birds are also far less aggressive during this time, as the former doesn’t thrive so much as in this season, while the latter flies to warmer climates. 

Germination usually takes anywhere between 7 to 10 days. The seedlings will become established before the arrival of the first frost, while the roots will establish themselves during the winter. Mid-spring can also be a good time to sow your seeds if you’ve missed autumn. However, the grass will want to flower before the roots have had the chance to establish themselves. So, take that into consideration.

On the other hand, summer is the worst possible time to sow as the soil is too dry and hot. The seeds will likely shrivel up and die, plus, the weeds will be fighting for resources and space like crazy.

How to prepare your turf for sowing

Before any seed germinates into a luscious, green lawn, you need to take some steps to prepare your soil accordingly. Doing this will give your seeds to best chance to grow evenly. The methods for soil preparation mentioned here also work for laying turf.

  1. Remove any old grass. If you don’t have grass, just skip to the next step. If you do, clear away any weeds, plants, and debris. Borrow a turf cutter and cut the old lawn into strips. Lift them and set them aside. They will make fine compost later on.
  2. Fork the soil over. Grassroots don’t go very deep, that’s why you must cultivate the soil properly. Otherwise, the grass will dry out very quickly. Forking the soil will also help you take out any rocks or stones. The end result should be fluffy looking soil.
  3. Tread the soil. With your heels, shuffle along the soil to make it as even as possible.
  4. Level the ground. After treading, you will notice the soil has bumps and hollows. Using a rake, rake off the bumps into the hollows, making your soil as even as you can. This will make it somewhat fluffy again.
  5. Tread the soil again.

Several days before the actual sowing, rake a small amount of general lawn fertiliser into the soil. This will boost the seeds later on when they’re in the ground.

How to choose grass seed

There are numerous seed sorts on the market, but not all of them will be right for your lawn. The most common ones include:

  • General-purpose grass – This kind grows quite fast and requires regular mowing. As the name suggests, it’s best suited for high traffic areas where children and pets play.
  • Shady grass – If you have a big tree that always throws shade, consider purchasing seeds that still thrive in shady spots.
  • Fine lawn – As the name suggests, this lawn will be very fine, but it will be too delicate to be used as a walking or playing surface.
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How to sow grass seeds

Choose a windless day, so your seeds don’t get scattered in all the wrong places. When the day comes:

  1. Mark out the area in square metres by using canes.
  2. Get a plastic cup and place it on a scale. Fill it with seeds until the scale shows the right weight. Mark the cup so you know how much to fill it next time. The rule of thumb is 50g per square metre; however, the instructions on your seed packaging might say otherwise. 
  3. Sow one cup per square metre. Try not to use too much seed in hopes that it will make for more grass. When seeds are too close together, they might damp off when the weather is rainy.
  4. Give the lawn a very light raking after you’re done sowing. Do not overdo it, as the seeds need light to germinate.

Naturally, some seeds will be eaten by a bird or buried deeper by a cat using your lawn as a toilet. That’s normal, so do not lose sleep over it.

Aftercare tips

Once you’ve sown your brand new lawn, you need to provide some aftercare to ensure it grows healthy. 

  • Keep the soil moist for the next six weeks. This is usually how long it takes for a new lawn to establish itself.
  • Once the grass blades reach 5-7cm in height, you can mow them. At first, the new lawn will look patchy, but after cutting, it will grow stronger and fill the gaps on its own.
  • If you find weeds, remove them by hand and not with a product. Avoid products for at least six months after sowing.
  • As the lawn thickens up with every new mowing, gradually lower the cutting blades of your mower.
  • Try to use the newly sown lawn as little as possible during the first season.

Hire professionals

If you don’t feel like waiting for new grass to grow, but still want to turn your garden into a luscious green paradise, consider hiring professionals. 

Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully equipped landscapers who can give you the lawn you’ve always wanted. With our turf installation services, you can choose the type of lawn you want and when you want it. After that, the landscapers will take care of everything, from soil preparation to the actual installation.

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  • The best time to sow grass seeds is between late summer and mid-autumn. That’s when the soil is moist and warm.
  • Choose grass seeds according to your garden and way of life. If you have a shady garden, look for seeds that will give you a shade-loving lawn. If you have kids and pets, choose a lawn which can withstand the high levels of foot traffic.
  • Prepare the soil before sowing seeds by forking and treading.
  • Wait at least six weeks for your grass to show significant growth. It will be patchy at first, but will even itself out later on, after several mows.

Did you sow your lawn yet? Did you have any difficulty preparing the soil? Let us know by commenting.


Image Source: Shutterstock / natali_ploskaya

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