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How to seed a lawn: 5 keys to success

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Sod can be a shortcut to a lush lawn, but if you are willing to put in a little more work with seed, you can save a lot of money. Mastering how to seed a lawn can be easier if you bear in mind these five key things to do:

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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  1. Timing. In four-season climates, the optimum time for planting grass seed is from late August to mid-September. A second option is in spring, though competition from weeds is more intense, and you may find yourself itching for a way to exterminate weeds. Killer sprays, however, are a major no-no (which we'll get to shortly). Choose September, and you'll have the greatest odds of success.
  2. Soil preparation. For best results, have your soil tested before you seed your lawn. Then follow through on all the recommended amendments. Fertile soil makes all the difference.
  3. Careful watering. Soak the soil before you spread the grass seed. After you've spread the seed, keep it moist until it germinates, and then continue daily watering. Once the new grass is an inch tall, the Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service recommends cutting back to watering every other day, and then to every third day after two weeks.
  4. Care with chemicals. A word of caution about weeds: killer sprays and solutions of chemicals don't mix well with new lawns. Your best bet is to wait till your new lawn is mature and then use your arsenal to tackle those weeds--killer chemicals, or just killer digging and pulling--either way.
  5. Stay off! You can mow your new lawn when it needs it, but save the football games for next season.

Follow these "how to seed a lawn" tips, and your odds of new lawn success will be that much higher.

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