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How to Get Your Lawn Lush and Green

Looking for the best tips on how to get grass to grow? Follow our advice to set your lawn on the right path.

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Photo by Bill Grove/iStockphoto

Green, cool, and comfortable underfoot, turf grass is as versatile as an outdoor surface gets. But heavy foot traffic can leave it a bit ragged, though, and any missed fall maintenance—that last dose of fertilizer you were supposed to spread, any bare patches that should have been reseeded—may have caused your lawn to look a little worn out this spring, with thin spots and less color than you remember.

Now’s the time to make amends with a proper feeding schedule and smart troubleshooting tactics to stop budding pest and weed problems in their tracks. Read on for what to do right now and in the weeks ahead to cultivate a hardy, healthy patch of green.

Shown: A thick, well-fed lawn is your best defense against weeds, which can’t compete for space and nutrients. Leaving the grass long, 3 inches or more, encourages roots to grow deeper, where they’ll weather drought better. Taller grass also casts shade, preventing weed seeds from germinating.

Tips for a Lush Green Lawn

Soil Testing

Photo by Webb Chappell

Neglected your lawn last fall? Here are the steps to take in early-spring to get grass off to a healthy start.

A soil test is the only way to identify what your lawn needs. A Cooperative Extension office can perform an analysis for about $25 (search usda.gov to locate one near you). While you’re waiting for the results, rake up any leaves left from last fall; the raking will also fluff up grass tamped down by rain or snow.

Once the grass is dry, mow the lawn to about 2 inches tall. “Mowing the lawn shorter than normal removes brown, dead tissue at the tips and encourages new growth,” says Scotts researcher Phil Dwyer, Ph.D.

Dethatch

Photo by Alison Rosa

Pulling up thatch, a tight mat of dead and living plant material on top of the soil, opens up a lawn so that nutrients and water can reach turf roots. A thatching rake, like the one shown at left ($30; ames.com), has curved tines made for the job and works for lawns up to 100 square feet. For large areas or very heavy thatch, rent a power dethatcher for about $45 a day.

Aerate

Photo by Keller & Keller

Core aeration, removing 3- to 4-inch-long plugs of soil, is usually done in the fall when the chance of encouraging weed seeds is lower. But if you plan to use preemergent weed control with the first dose of spring fertilizer, aerating now is a good way to loosen compacted soil so that oxygen and fertilizer get down to the roots, says Nick Christians of Iowa State University’s Department of Horticulture.

You can manually aerate small areas with a foot-powered core extractor, but consider renting a gas-powered one for about $60 a day to handle bigger lawns.

Shown: For larger lawns TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook uses a walk-behind aerator that pulls out 2½-to 3-inch-deep soil plugs, which will break down naturally by spring.

Fertilizing Facts

Photo by Kindra Clineff

Q: I forgot to fertilize last fall! Am I doomed?

— John Farrow, Boise, Idaho

A: If you didn’t fertilize last fall, resist the urge to double up in the spring. Dumping more fertilizer than the lawn needs in the spring is wasteful and can burn your turf. Instead, spread 32-0-4 grass fertilizer after the first mowing, then again four to six weeks later. Organic lawn food, such as corn-gluten meal or a mix of feather, bone, and blood meals, works more slowly than synthetic fertilizers, so the lawn will take an extra week to green up.

Shown: TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook relies on a broadcast spreader to add fertilizer because it reduces the chance of missing a section, which can lead to unsightly growth patterns.

Spend for Premium Seed

Photo by Alison Rosa

If you need to seed a bare patch or your grass is so thin that you need to overseed, invest in a top-quality mix. Check the bag’s label; a premium blend will name individual cultivars, such as ‘Midnight’ Kentucky bluegrass, while common names, like tall fescue, indicate older, lower-quality seed types. The pros agree: Cheaper seed will never perform really well, no matter how much you fertilize.

You might also consider a custom mix. Online specialty seed retailers, such as SeedSuperStore.com, cherry-pick top-performing seed types (you can research these at the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program’s website, ntep.org) and can create a blend optimally suited to your site, with no weed seeds. Or, if you’re looking for something special, like darker color or finer leaf texture, you can tailor a mix accordingly. Expect to pay more than double what home-center seed costs.

Drought Tolerant Turf

Photo by Brian Smith

If drought tolerance is the benchmark, some grass types will definitely weather a lack of water better than others. Here’s how they stack up from most drought tolerant to least:

  • •Bermuda grass
  • buffalo grass
  • •zoysia grass
  • •Bahia grass
  • •Saint Augustine grass
  • •centipede grass
  • •tall fescue
  • •fine fescue
  • •Kentucky bluegrass
  • •bent grass
  • •perennial ryegrass

Organic Turf

Illustration by Rose Lowry

Organic lawn care nourishes the soil; the synthetic approach feeds the plants. Grass thrives in soil full of beneficial bacteria, earthworms, and other organisms fed by organic sources of nitrogen. “Studies have shown that root mass increases as more organic matter is available,” says Paul Tukey, founder of the SafeLawns Foundation.

Increasing organic matter in the soil also helps it to hold water, which encourages deep roots in all but heavy clay soil. The deeper root zone of organically treated lawns makes them better able to weather drought, pests, and diseases than shallower-rooted, synthetically treated lawns.

Grass Roots Turf Care

Compost Tea

Illustration by Rose Lowry

Spreading garden compost improves soil biology and structure, but top-dressing a lawn with a ½-inch layer twice annually is labor-intensive—and slow to work. Below, two easier methods for getting compost’s benefits.

Compost tea makes beneficial bacteria and nutrients immediately available to lawn soil and turf roots. To brew it, put 5 cups of loose compost in a mesh sack and suspend it in a 5-gallon bucket oxygenated by an aquarium pump for about 24 hours.

For the simplest delivery system, skip the backpack or pump sprayer. Screw a siphon (we like Hozon’s, $32; amleo.com) between an outdoor spigot and a garden hose hooked up to a sprinkler to pull the tea out of the bucket and through the sprinkler nozzles. One quart of compost tea will cover about 1,000 square feet of lawn. Repeat every four to six weeks.

Granular Compost

A dehydrated version of the traditional stuff, granular compost comes alive in the presence of moisture yet has a shelf life of about eight years. Once wet, the beads of dried manure, straw, food scraps, and sand break down slowly, like traditional compost. But because you can use a broadcast spreader to apply it, you can cover your lawn in a quarter of the time. You’ll need one pound per 100 square feet of lawn. Repeat every four to six weeks.

How to Get Rid of Weeds In Grass

The severity of your response to these invaders should depend on the numbers: When half the lawn is covered with weeds, it’s time to get a soil test and renovate the entire lawn. For a scattering of weeds, a hand weeder or targeted spray is kinder to the lawn ecosystem. The stand-up sprayer above ($20; fiskfarmandhome.com) holds 16 ounces of any weed treatment. Pushing down on the handle dispenses a 3 1/2-inch-diameter mist beneath the 7-inch cone.

Keep Your Mower Blades Sharp

Illustration by Rose Lowry

A sharp mower blade cleanly slices grass tips (left), so they heal quickly and aren’t open to disease. A dull blade tears them (right), leaving weakened, jagged edges that turn brown and are vulnerable to disease. You should sharpen your blade after every four to six uses. If you hit something while mowing, file nicked edges right away.

Common Myths About Lawns

Photo by Brad Wrobleski/Masterfile

MYTH: Clippings cause thatch.

FACT: Since grass clippings are about 90 percent water, they break down too quickly to add to thatch. Lawns develop thatch naturally, but more than a ½-inch layer prevents nutrients, oxygen, and water from getting through.

MYTH: Spiked shoes can aerate a lawn.

FACT: True aeration requires removing 4-inch-long plugs of soil to create voids so that nutrients can get to the roots. Despite the name, slip-on spiked aerator shoes don’t aerate, and golf cleats can actually compact the soil.

MYTH: Hot weather kills grass.

FACT: Turf naturally goes dormant during a drought. A brown lawn isn’t necessarily dead and usually bounces back when watered after temperatures cool. But a lawn that goes from brown to tan to gray is sending out an SOS.

Choose the Right Lawn Sprinkler

“Walking” Tractor

Delivering an inch of water per week isn’t easy when you have an irregularly shaped lawn or have to fuss with setting up a sprinkler in just the right spot week after week. These two hose-end options make the job easier.

To water an irregularly shaped area or a long, narrow side yard, lay a path with your hose. Then place this 19-inch-long cast-iron tractor on top, screw the couplings together, and watch as it crawls over the rubber tubing at one of three speeds while its rotating sprinkler arms toss water from 15 to 55 feet away. $60; lrnelson.com

In-Ground Pop-Up

Courtesy Watering Made Easy

Dig a hole, place the sprinkler inside and backfill with soil and gravel, and you’ve got a pop-up head without digging up the entire lawn. Set the spray pattern and watch it throw water from 30 to 70 feet away. Connect the hose to raise the sprinkler; disconnect and it falls to grade level until next time. $40; wateringmadeeasy.com

Pests By Season

Spring

Illustration by Rose Lowry

Unseen insects can damage turf throughout the growing season. Three invaders to look out for:

Chinch Bugs: Damage shows up in spring to midsummer as yellow spots in the lawn, signs they’ve sucked the water out of the grass.

Treatment: Dilute rosemary oil, a natural insecticide, with water and spread with a pump sprayer.

Summer

Illustration by Rose Lowry

White Grubs: Peel back a bit of lawn starting in mid- to late August, when they chew on grass roots, destroying the roots’ ability to absorb water. Damaged patches will roll up easily, like carpet.

Treatment: Once soil reaches 70 degrees F, use a pump sprayer to spread beneficial nematodes (microscopic worms) mixed in water.

Illustration by Rose Lowry

Mole Crickets: They’re most active in late summer to early fall, when they feed on grass roots.

Treatment: Dilute neem oil, a natural insecticide, with water and spread with a pump sprayer.

Lawn Edging Tool

Photo by Alison Rosa

Tidy edges upgrade your lawn instantly. But getting straight lines (and avoiding a backache) can require a steady hand and practice. To make the job easier, look for a lightweight cordless string trimmer.

The Worx GT 18-volt string trimmer-edger (left) has a pair of in-line skate wheels to guide it along edges, so there’s no scalping the lawn. An adjustable second handle and a telescoping shaft offer optimal ergonomics. It’s compact and lightweight for storing, too. $120; worx.com

Looking to improve your lawn? Check out these in-depth guides from the This Old House Team.

Sod vs. Seed: What’s the Best Way to Get a Lush Lawn?

Find out the best method for growing a nice, thick lawn in the grass seed vs. sod debate.

By Timothy Dale | Published Mar 31, 2022 1:26 PM

The sod versus seed debate is a conversation that homeowners have been having with their neighbors for years, as everyone has their opinions on which option is better when it comes to their lawns. However, the best way to decide between grass sod and grass seed for your own yard is to examine the benefits and drawbacks of both.

What is sod, and why would it be better than simply growing grass from seed? These are common questions that lawn care and landscaping beginners ask. Sodding essentially involves laying pre-grown rolls of grass onto soil. The rolled-up grass is sold in garden centers and can be used to quickly lay an entire lawn instead of waiting for grass seed to develop.

Read on to learn more about seed versus sod and the best way to get a lush lawn.

Laying sod creates an instant lawn, whereas grass seed takes longer to develop.

Sod is pre-grown, so it already has roots ready to dig into fresh soil for moisture and nutrients. The grass blades are typically left long to help the sod absorb sunlight and grow quickly in their new location. Because of this ready-made nature, you can create a near-instant lawn that will become well-established in just two to three weeks with proper installation and maintenance. After the roots are established, the lawn is ready for entertaining guests or playing with kids and pets.

Grass seed can also be used to grow an entirely new lawn, but don’t expect the grass to sprout up and fill in after a few weeks. It takes at least one full growing season for a seed-grown lawn to become dense and well-established enough to withstand regular foot traffic.

Grass seed can be used to repair an existing lawn, whereas sod requires starting from bare soil.

If you don’t need to replace your entire lawn, or even a large patch of grass, then you have no need for sod. This is because laying sod requires bare soil, so you would need to cut up a significant amount of healthy grass to lay a patch of sod large enough to take root and grow.

Planting grass seed is a more effective method for repairing existing lawns, as long as you make sure to water regularly during seed establishment. When deciding whether to replace your lawn or repair it, compare the portions of dead grass and weeds to the total amount of healthy grass. If the lawn consists of more than 40 to 50 percent weeds or dead grass, then it’s better to start over with new sod. However, if approximately half or more of your lawn appears healthy, it’s likely best to plant grass seed and manually get the weeds under control.

There are more grass varieties available for seeding than sodding.

Many homeowners and DIY landscapers have a favorite variety of grass that they prefer to grow around their home. This can be based on look, feel, water needs, or rooting system, so being able to find this type of grass for lawn repairs or installation is important. However, sod isn’t always available in a wide range of varieties because it has a short 24-hour transplanting period. So if you plan to replace your existing lawn with a particular type of grass, you may be unable to find the exact one you want.

Grass seed, meanwhile, can be kept for up to three years when stored properly, so you can usually find the grass variety you want if you’re willing to wait for the seeds to grow. This broader range of choice isn’t just beneficial for personal preference, but it also allows you to use seeds designed to grow in your exact soil and weather conditions.

Seeding a lawn is more DIY-friendly than sodding a lawn.

Unrolling lawn sod to quickly and effectively cover fresh soil seems much easier than seeding an entire lawn and maintaining the seeds throughout a growing season—in theory. If you don’t install sod correctly, though, it dies quickly, leaving you with less money in your wallet and an ugly, dead lawn to replace.

Determined DIYers can tackle such a landscaping project, but seeding a lawn is easier, even if it’s ultimately more time-consuming. You don’t need to worry about visible seams in your lawn or a 24-hour transplanting window when planting grass seed. Just be sure to water regularly and carefully monitor the lawn throughout the growing season. Diligent care and maintenance can lead to a lush, healthy seed-grown lawn.

Sod is better for controlling weeds and erosion compared to germinating grass seed.

Spreading seed over fresh, even soil is a great way to grow a new lawn or repair your current one, but if the location that needs fixing is near your home’s downspout, a high-traffic area, or largely comprised of weeds, then sod is a better choice. Grass seed can also be washed away by heavy rain, draining water, or even strong winds, so areas prone to erosion are also better repaired with new sod.

It’s particularly difficult for grass seed to germinate among a large concentration of weeds. It’s more likely that weeds will absorb the soil’s nutrients and moisture, preventing grass seed from growing. For better results, cut out the weed-infested lawn and replace it with sod.

A seeded lawn grows undisturbed, while sod must adapt to different growing conditions once transplanted.

Rolls of sod are cut from large grass fields on sod farms and transported to stores for sale before finally arriving at your home for installation. However, your lawn will probably have a different amount of sunlight, soil balance, and moisture content to which the new sod will need to adapt if it is to grow and thrive. Not all sod transplants are successful, especially if your lawn is very shady—new sod is typically grown in a high level of sunlight.

A lawn grown with grass seed doesn’t face the same risks, as it grows undisturbed after the initial seeding. You will need to water the seeds and monitor the lawn carefully, but the matured lawn never has to adapt to a new environment, improving the chances that the seeds will develop a deep, strong root system.

It costs more to lay sod than to plant grass seed.

A final factor to consider is price. Sod typically costs $0.60 to $1.29 per square foot, while grass seed only costs about $0.24 per square foot. This means you spend approximately $1 extra for every square foot of sod as opposed to growing a grass seed lawn. As mentioned above, if you don’t install sod correctly, there’s also a risk that the grass will simply die, leaving you with more work to remove a dead lawn.

Sod’s high initial cost and the risk that it may not root and grow properly might be a good reason to opt for sowing grass seed instead. If costs aren’t a concern, though, you can hire a professional landscaper to lay your sod and reduce the risk that the grass will die after installation.

7 Best Grass Seed Products to Restore a Patchy Lawn

The winner is the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

Theresa Holland is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, cleaning, and bedding. She shares her favorite life hacks on her blog The Taboo Textbook.

Barbara Gillette is a master gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.

Sarah Scott is a fact-checker and researcher with who has worked in the custom home building industry in sales, marketing, and design.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

The Spruce / Laurey W. Glenn

Grass seed can grow a lawn from scratch, make existing turf thicker, or target unsightly bald patches and brown spots. We researched and tested grass seed from the top brands, evaluating ease of use, effectiveness, and formulation.

Our top pick, the Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix, is a versatile blend that stands up well to drought and disease and can seed up to 8,000 square feet of lawn—an eighth of a football field.

Here is the best grass seed for sprucing up your yard.

Best Overall: Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix

Courtesy of Amazon

Thrives in sun and shade

Holds up in droughts and cold winters

Not suited for Southern lawns

Who else recommends it? Bob Vila also picked Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun and Shade Mix.

What do buyers say? 82% of 29,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix thrives in scorching sunlight or densely shaded conditions, making it our top choice. This fine-bladed grass mix can even hold up in droughts and cold winters. It begins to grow in five to ten days; you can mow it after blades reach three inches in height. For optimum growth, water your lawn twice daily for three weeks.

Each individual seed, wrapped in a special WaterSmart Plus coating, absorbs twice the amount of water as its uncoated counterparts. The coating also protects your seedlings from various lawn diseases, and feeds them essential nutrients to jump-start growth. Although this mix tolerates extreme weather changes, Scott’s does not recommend using it in Southern states.

Sun Tolerance: Dense Shade to Full Sun | Climate: Drought, Cold Winters | Size: Up to 8,000 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Shade: Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas

Courtesy of The Home Depot

Formulated with mulch and fertilizer

Great for spot treatments or larger areas

Suited for Midwestern lawns

Not for warm-season lawns

Pennington One Step Complete blends the brand’s Smart Seed with mulch and professional-grade fertilizer, allowing the lawn to thrive in densely shaded areas. This all-in-one grass seed sprouts seedlings in as little as two weeks, even in the tricky corners of your lawn that don’t see more than two to four hours of direct sunlight a day. Whether you’re growing a lawn from scratch or just looking to patch up sparse areas, this ultra-absorbent mixture is a quick and easy solution for achieving a lush, spot-free yard.

Sun Tolerance: Dense Shade | Climate: Cool-season | Size: 125 square feet | Grass Texture: Medium

Best for Full Sun: JB Instant Lawn Signature Sunny Premium Lawn Seed

Courtesy of Lowe’s

Works with new and existing lawns

Comes in various sizes

Not suited for Midwestern lawns

JB Instant Lawn’s Sunny Blend is formulated for direct sunlight. It loves clear skies and flourishes in non-shaded areas with daily sun exposure of six or more hours. The brand’s signature perennial ryegrass seed produces thick, sod-quality lawns with fine blades and a deep green hue. You can plant it with your existing grass, or use to grow a lawn from scratch with a germination period of seven to ten days.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun | Climate: Cool-season | Size: 1,000 square feet (max overseeding coverage area), 600 square feet (max new seeding coverage area) | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Cool Season: Barenbrug Winter Wonderlawn Super Over Seeding Grass Seed

Courtesy of Tractor Supply

Thrives in sun and partial shade

Stands up to heavy traffic

Not suited for Northern lawns

For the chillier season, keep a bag of Winter Wonderlawn on hand. Containing a blend of Italian and perennial ryegrass, the mixture is ideal for overseeding your lawn during the coldest months.

This grass seed establishes quickly and germinates within four days, even in fall and winter. After a few weeks, expect a dense growth of fine-bladed grass, with a deep green color.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun and Partial Shade | Climate: Southern | Size: 2,500 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine

Best for Warm Season: Water Saver Lawn Seed Mixture with Turf-Type Tall Fescue and RFT

Courtesy of The Home Depot

Thrives in sun and shade

Tolerates drought conditions

Not suited for Southern lawns

Water Saver contains a mixture of turf-quality tall fescue and RFT (rhizomatous tall fescue) seeds. The blend has a gorgeous color, a nice texture, and stands up to various diseases.

This lawn seed establishes quickly, roots deeply, and retains water, allowing it to tolerate high temps and drought conditions. It thrives in the sun or shade, and thanks to its deep roots, you can mow it shorter than other varieties.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun and Partial Shade | Climate: Hot and Dry | Size: 1,000 square feet | Grass Texture: Coarse

Best Fast-Growing: Vigoro Fast Grass Seed Mix

Courtesy of The Home Depot

Great for spot treatments

Thrives in sun and shade

Only for existing lawns

Anytime you need speedy ground cover, erosion control, or want to repair patches in your yard, this is your best bet. Vigoro Fast Grass Mix germinates impressively quickly, and sprouts in as little as three days.

The seed works in sunny and shady areas, and produces lush, green grass with semi-fine blades and virtually no weeds. It’s ideal for temporarily filling in bare spots and, depending on when and where you plant it, you might see continued growth.

Sun Tolerance: Sun and Shade | Climate: Any | Size: 750 square feet | Grass Texture: Fine to Medium

Best Bermuda grass: Sta-Green Grass Seed Bermuda grass

Courtesy of Lowe’s

Grows back annually

99 percent weed-free

Longer germination period

Bermuda grass is a warm-weather perennial , meaning it flourishes in spring and summer, and grows back annually. This grass seed from Sta-Green contains a premium blend of 99 percent weed-free Bermuda grass.

The germination period is longer than other species (about two to three weeks). But thanks to a special QuickGrow2X coating, the mixture grows faster than other Bermuda grasses and resists disease. Soon enough, you can expect a beautiful lawn, with medium-textured grass that’s dense, lush, and feels good between your toes.

Sun Tolerance: Full Sun | Climate: Southern, Dry | Size: 5,000 square feet (max overseeding coverage area), 2,500 square feet (max new seeding coverage area) | Grass Texture: Fine to Medium

Best for Heavy Traffic: Jonathan Green Black Beauty Heavy Traffic Premium Grass Seed Mixture

Courtesy of Amazon

Stands up to heavy traffic

Resists weeds and insects

Comes in various sizes

Not suited for densely shaded areas

If you have kids, pets, or an otherwise busy household, we recommend Jonathan Green Black Beauty. The brand’s Heavy Traffic Premium Mixture contains a healthy blend of fescue and perennial ryegrass seeds. Fescue emits an amino acid that naturally acts as a herbicide, so it curbs emerging crabgrass and broadleaf weed seedlings. Not only that, but this reliable formula stands up to abrasion and naturally resists insects.

Sun Tolerance: Partial Sun | Climate: Hard Wear | Size: 1,200 square feet | Grass Texture: Coarse

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix is the best grass seed overall. The seeds’ special coating makes them more absorbent, allowing your turf to thrive year-round in sun or shade. However, if you have pets or kids and want something that can grow with heavy foot traffic, Jonathan Green Black Beauty Heavy Traffic Premium Grass Seed Mixture might be a better choice.

What to Look For When Buying Grass Seed

Climate

One of the most important things to keep in mind when buying grass seed is the climate, as some blends do better in certain regions. For instance, Bermuda grass is native to the southern hemisphere, so it thrives in the South and the Southwestern United States.

That being said, some grass species (such as fescue and ryegrass) can grow in a variety of climates. Be sure to check the product description before purchasing grass seed to confirm it can grow where you live.

Sun Exposure

Another thing to consider is the level of sun exposure your seedlings get. Species such as Bermuda grass and some types of ryegrass need at least a few hours of sunlight a day to thrive, whereas fescue can grow in densely shaded areas.

Some mixes are formulated to grow in sun or shade, any time of year. Check the product information before buying grass seed to make sure it’s suitable for the amount of sunlight your yard gets.

Maintenance

If you’re in the market for low-maintenance grass seed, look for an option that contains fertilizer. That way, your seedlings have the nourishment they need to grow quickly and flourish. Some blends also contain mulch, which helps keep the soil healthy, retains water, and prevents weed growth.

Speaking of weed growth, you may consider grass seed that specifically indicates it’s a weed-free (or 99 percent weed-free) formula. Additionally, some seeds are individually coated with a special substance that makes them more absorbent, meaning you don’t need to water as often, and disease resistant.

The best time to plant grass seed depends on the type of seed and the climate. However, since most mixtures germinate when temperatures aren’t too hot or cold, planting in the fall for a cool-season grass and spring for a warm-season grass is typically ideal. Seedlings thrive in semi-warm soil, with moderate daytime temperatures and slightly cooler evenings.

To prepare the soil for grass seed, start by removing any sticks, large rocks, and weeds from the surface. Then, break up the soil with a spade, hoe, garden fork, or core aerator, continuing to remove rocks and debris as you go. If your grass seed lacks fertilizer, add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting.

The goal is to keep the top layer of soil moist at all times, so water grass seed once or twice a day until it germinates. How much and how often depends on where you live and what the weather is like. When your seedlings reach about an inch tall, you can switch to watering every other day. After a few weeks, when the grass has established, weekly or bi-weekly watering should suffice.

Why Trust The Spruce?

The Spruce contributor Theresa Holland is an experienced commerce writer, with several years of experience covering home improvement. She’s spent countless hours researching yard care and landscaping products, not only for the content she writes but also for personal use. You can see more of her home-related stories on MyDomaine.

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

The Best Grass Seed for the Northeast of 2022. Bob Vila. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-grass-seed-for-northeast/

Rocha, Inês et al. Seed Coating: A Tool for Delivering Beneficial Microbes to Agricultural Crops. Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 10. pp. 1357, 2019. doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01357