Seeding Your Lawn

For grass that’s greener on your side

A beautiful lawn starts with good planning – a little help from the experts at Earl May. For a luxurious green lawn that your neighbors will envy, keep these tips in mind when seeding your lawn.

The best seasons to sow grass seed are the spring and fall with the period between August and September being optimal. There is also an opportunity in late fall to “dormant seed” a lawn by sowing when nature would. The seed works into the soil under the snow where it will sprout the following spring.

Structure Soil ConditionerPreparing for seeding is one of the most important and yet overlooked steps. If the soil is not loosened properly prior to seeding, the roots of your new grass will struggle to get enough moisture and oxygen, resulting in a thin lawn. A little work here means a lusher, greener lawn later.

  1. When seeding a new lawn, use a tiller to loosen the top six inches of soil.
  2. If quality is poor, amend soil with a product designed to permanently loosen heavy soil like Earl May’s Structure Soil Conditioner.
  3. Next, rake your lawn with a garden rake. Be very careful not to rake it so much that the soil is perfectly smooth on top. If it is too smooth, the seed will not work into the soil properly and the soil will puddle too fast when watering. This moves seeds and creates a crust where seeds will not grow.
  4. When over seeding a thin lawn, you should vigorously rake the lawn when the soil is workable. Another option is to rent a verti-cut machine which slices the soil deeper than raking.
  5. After seeding, go over the area with a roller for best results. Rolling a lawn can increase germination by 40 percent.
  6. Consider applying a seed-starting mulch to save time watering and further increase germination rates. Like grass seed, applying more than the recommended amount of mulch is not recommended.

Grass Seed SpreaderA general rule of thumb when seeding is to use the best quality seed you can afford. Quality seed varieties are proven better performers due to their resistance to disease, drought and foot traffic. Over the years, this investment can save you hundreds of dollars in treating and watering your lawn. And of course, the best blends also yield a more attractive, thicker, greener lawn. Most lawns in the Midwest are Kentucky bluegrass lawns. However, varieties of dwarf tall fescue are becoming more popular due to their ability to withstand drought and foot traffic. Bluegrass is slow to germinate so it is mixed with a quicker germinating “nurse crop.”

“Nurse Crops” are composed of fine-bladed grasses that come up quickly and provide cover for the bluegrass. Over time, the bluegrass will overtake the nurse crop and cover the lawn. Sowing straight bluegrass on large areas of new lawn is not recommended but is commonly done when over seeding.

Whatever seed you choose to use, apply it at the recommended rate. Over seeding will look good for a while, but crowded plants may eventually die when water is scarce or succumb to disease.

8-PLY Flexogen HoseEarl May offers a wide variety of watering supplies to help your lawn grow to it’s greenest potential.

Water your lawn on a daily basis, especially when the grass seeds are beginning to germinate and young sprouts are popping up. At this critical stage, consistent moisture is the key to a successful stand of grass. Just a few hours of dry soil, combined with sun and warm temperatures, can kill seedlings. This is why seed starting mulch can be helpful.

Once your new lawn has been mowed once or twice, watering is not needed as often and can be cut down to twice a week. Once established, rainfall of about .05” or watering an equivalent amount about once a week is sufficient. During the heat of summer, however, this may need to be done twice a week. The best time to water established lawns is in the morning. Watering in the evening can cause disease problems, especially to older varieties of turf grass.

Once of the most important factors in how lush and green your lawn is how well it is fed. Fertilizing makes sure that your lawn has all the nutrients it needs to withstand high temperatures, drought, foot traffic and other stress.

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Marvel Lawn Seed is a quick-growing mix of top quality dwarf tall fescue that can withstand heavy foot traffic and drought.

Maypark Lawn Seed is our best bluegrass seed mix, containing high quality bluegrass varieties and a nurse crop of fine-leaf fescues. It is best suited for high traffic applications and in sunny areas.

Shop Earl May Grass Seed

DIY Year-round Lawn Care Advice

icon-calendarMake sure to stay a step ahead in caring for your lawn by viewing our month-by-month seasonal lawn maintenance calendar.

Lawn Care Programs

Earl May’s step-by-step Lawn Care Programs deliver the best weed, disease and pest control with premium products specially formulated to deliver superior results right here in the Midwest.
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Lawn Program Bags

  • Immediate results
  • Proven best for Midwest lawns
  • Designed to deliver more nutrients
  • Eliminates thin spots

Incorporate a Fertilizing Schedule

After seeding, a regular fertilizing schedule is recommended if you want a great-looking lawn year after year.
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If you had crabgrass last year, apply a product like Earl May’s Crabgrass Preventer Plus Lawn food. In addition to crabgrass, it prevents spurge, foxtail and other annual grassy weeds from germinating.
Earl May’s Summer Lawn food will help keep your lawn green and healthy without any risk of burning.
Apply our Lawn Food during this timeframe for quick greening. Watering in is recommending for better uptake.
Our Fall Lawn Food contains time-released nitrogen and extra nutrients your lawn needs to thrive. Apply at the onset of cooler temperatures and fall rains.

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