To grow a healthy lawn, you need to provide it a strong foundation to start from, as freshly laid grass seed can be very temperamental and requires a bit of extra attention and care to help it establish its roots. If it’s your first time sowing seed, you might make the mistake of thinking that dispersing seeds and watering them regularly is enough to kickstart growth. In reality, there are many elements that go into soil preparation and missing one step can quickly result in a seed that fails to launch. To help you, we’ve come up with a guide on preparing ground for grass seed, including our best tips and tricks.
Preparing ground for grass seed: Tips and tricks
Pick the right time
If you can hold off, spring offers the best temperature and growing environment for planting grass seeds. This is because a mild, regular temperature is ideal as it allows the grass seed to settle in before the temperature gets too hot. A new lawn requires a lot of water to establish itself, so planting in summer could result in a thirsty lawn and a high water bill. Conversely, cold winter months are not the best time for preparing ground for grass seed, as it can cause the seed to grow dormant. Any extreme weather condition is not advised for growing new seed, which makes spring an obvious choice for the best time of year.
Remove plants and weeds
Grass seeds require a blank slate, so it’s important to clear the soil of any plants, weeds and debris before planting. This stops anything from competing for nutrients with your new lawn, which will be quite vulnerable in the first stages of growth. If weeds are a problem, a Glyphosate-based weed killer is a good option, as it breaks down before entering the soil. Once sprayed, it’s advised that you wait 2-3 weeks before planting grass seed.
Soil preparation is key
Oxygen is key to growing strong, healthy grass, which is why airing your soil with a rotary tiller or garden fork is vital. This helps drive oxygen deeper into the soil, and to help break up large clumps. You don’t need to go too deep, with roughly six inches being all that’s needed to drive oxygen into the parts of the soil that will host the grass seed roots.
DIY soil testing
If your soil is too acidic or has too much alkaline, it can greatly impact a grass seeds ability to form strong, healthy roots. Testing soil with a testing kit can allow you to work out if your soil needs stabilising with an additive.
How to raise PH levels in acidic soil: If your soil report reads as not acidic enough, adding limestone to the mix is one of the most common ways of raising PH levels.
How to lower PH levels in alkaline soil: You can use several products to help lower PH levels, including sulfur, composted manure, compost, and acidic mulches.
Choose the right grass seed
Depending on where you live in Australia and what season you plan on planting your seed in, some grass seeds grow better in certain conditions. If you’re planting in summer or in a part of Australia that regularly sees hot temperatures, grass seeds such as Kikuyu, Buffalo, Couch and Zoysia are your best bet. For cooler parts, Ryegrass, Fescue, Bent grass prosper and Kentucky bluegrass bode well.
Thinking of entering Brisbane’s Best Lawn competition in 2021?
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our blog about preparing ground for grass seed. If you’re planning on entering our 2021 best lawn competition, be sure to bookmark this blog and check our website for updates and information on future editions of the Brisbane’s Best Lawn competition.