This is when to plant grass seed in spring, according to an expert
Knowing the ideal time to plant grass seed in spring ensures your lawn will be in tip-top condition for summer
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With the seasons changing it's all too easy to venture into the backyard and start prepping and planting for summer, but tending to the lawn might require a little more patience because knowing when to plant grass seed in spring is not as straightforward as you might think.
Like any form of lawn care, it's all about getting the timing right – waiting for the optimum conditions before pulling on your gardening gloves and trying to recreate the latest garden trends. A fine example of the importance of timing is of knowing when to first cut the grass after winter because mowing too soon can have a detrimental effect on the grass.
If you're wondering if now is the time to plant grass seed the answer will vary slightly depending on the condition of your soil and the weather in your area.
So whether starting from scratch or reseeding your existing plot, if you have visions of a perfectly manicured lawn for your backyard this summer take note of our expert guidance on the ideal time to plant grass seed this spring.
When to plant grass seed in spring, according to an expert
A great gardening tip for beginners is to always know what to plant when and in what conditions because timing is key to anything thriving in your garden – and that goes for any season.
Chris McIlroy, a gardening expert at The Grass People (opens in new tab) explains how getting the timing right is the key to producing a healthy, luscious lawn for the year ahead – explaining why when to cut grass in spring is a variable timeframe, all dependent on the climate.
"Before you start to think about sowing a new lawn, we strongly recommend checking in with your weather app," Chris advises. "New seeds will need temperatures of between 8-10 degrees to germinate."
"So make sure that this is the forecasted weather for at least 2 weeks after you plan on sowing, this includes overnight temperatures. This will happen at different times across the country, so always check the weather based on your precise location."
Chris stresses, "Make sure that you check the weather 2 weeks in advance because as we see often, a cold snap can come around quickly."
In conclusion, the best time to sow grass seed in spring is generally in the period between March and April when the weather conditions permit two solid weeks of steady climate conditions. You can, of course, sow grass seed after this time but you are more likely to be hit with hotter temperatures and therefore might not get the best results as desired.
How to sow grass seeds for a new lawn: 9 expert tips
Once the temperatures are ideal for seeding, you may decide to sow a new lawn from scratch, if you’ve recently moved into a new house or undertaken a renovation project for example. Here are Chris' tops tips for planting your grass seeds into a fresh, grass-less patch:
- Dig the soil over to a depth of 20-25cm
- Remove weeds by hand or use a weed killer.
- Add topsoil if you believe the soil to be poor quality, ensuring it is nutrient rich
- Consider applying a quick-release pre-seed fertilizer to get nutrients into the soil at a faster rate to encourage quicker growth
- Rake the area to get a level seedbed to ensure even distribution for coverage
- Sow the seed at our recommended rate of 50g per meter squared, by using a seed spreader or your hand
- Rake the seed in after sowing so that the seed is in amongst the soil
- Firm down the area to improve seed-to-soil contact, either by foot or by using a roller
- Water well, when sowing a new lawn experts recommend watering your lawn deeply and daily for the next six weeks, avoiding watering on days when there is rainfall.
How to overseed an existing lawn: 7 expert tips
It may be that your existing patch of grass has been lying dormant for the winter months and needs a bit of maintenance to restore it to its former glory.
"You may want to overseed your existing lawn and repair any bare or thin spots after the winter," suggests Chris. If that's the case here are his expert tips for getting the perfect finish:
- Remove any dead grass, weeds, or moss by scarifying/raking the area
- Rake the area enough so that the soil is loose, existing turf can be hard for the seeds to penetrate without the act of loosening the soil
- Sow the seed at our recommended rate of 35g per meter squared, by using a seed spreader or your hand
- Sow between 5mm and 10mm beneath the surface.
- Rake the seed in after sowing so that the seed is completely covered in the surrounding soil
- Firm down to improve seed-to-soil contact, this can be done by foot or by using a specialist roller
- Water well, when overseeding an existing lawn you still need to water well for up to 6 weeks – just keep an area where patches are more in need than others to avoid waterlogging your lawn.
Once your grass has started to grow over the next few months you'll need to ensure you are mowing your lawn frequently enough to keep it looking its best, but not too much that you start to damage the grass blades.
Follow our expert guidance as above and you'll have a backyard bursting with a luscious covering of happy and healthy grass all summer long – ready to show off when hosting your garden parties.
Tamara is a highly experienced homes and interiors journalist, with a career spanning 19 years. Now the Lifestyle Editor of womanandhome.com, she has spent the last 16 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, and it’s with these award-winning interiors teams that she gained a wealth of knowledge and honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing about every aspect of lifestyle and interiors.
With a keen eye for the latest interior trends, there's not a lot she doesn't know about home decor – whether it’s what colour we should be painting our living rooms next season, or if the latest 'must-have' buys are actually worth investing in.
A true homes and interiors expert, Tamara has served as an ambassador for leading interior brands on multiple occasions, including appearing on Matalan’s The Show and presenting at top interiors trend events such as the Autumn Fair and Spring Fair.
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