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Seeding a lawn can create a pleasing atmosphere and add value to a home. Planting grass seed is generally considered a simple process that most people can execute successfully on their own. There is a series of simple, effective steps homeowners can use to plant grass seed successfully.
Timing is important when it comes to planting. The best times to plant grass seed are generally in the fall and the spring. If completed in the fall, sowing should be done well before the first frost sets in to allow the seeds to germinate.
Homeowners must first select the grass seed desired. Top quality seeds may be found through an NTEP rating, which is an independent evaluation made by the National Turf Evaluation Program (NTEP). This rating will account for color as well as resistance to variables such as insects, drought and disease. Researching specific types of seed can be conducted on the Internet as well as in local home and garden supply stores.
Once the seed is selected, the homeowner should prepare the soil for sowing. This method will vary depending upon whether the homeowner is intending to plant grass seed in a new lawn, or is over-seeding an existing one to fill bare spots. Either way, following the seeding, a fertilizer should be used; for new lawns, it should cover the entire area, while older lawns may only require bare spots to be fertilized. Weed killers should be avoided both before and after planting grass seed; they may only be used after the grass has required a minimum of three cuttings from its new growth.
To make preparations to plant grass seed in a new lawn, soil should be loosened two to three inches deep. Following the removal of debris, such as rocks and sticks, as well as any children's toys, garden decorations or other objects in the yard, any remaining clumps should be broken up and softened to a size no larger than a half dollar. Areas prone to holding water should be leveled.
For lawns already in existence, preparation is simpler. The grass should be mowed as close to the ground as possible, and only the top quarter inch of spots being over-planted should be loosened. As with existing lawns, debris and other items should be removed, and water-collecting areas should be leveled.
Following these preparations, the homeowner is now ready to plant grass seed. The seed should be spread evenly in small circles by hand. If the lawn is especially large, a mechanical seeder may be utilized. Sixteen seeds per square inch is considered sustainable for optimal growth. Cover the seeds lightly with no more than a quarter of an inch of soil, and the planting is then complete. The seeds should be kept moist to encourage germination to occur; light daily watering is recommended until the grass begins to grow.