Home » Sowing the lawn – when is the best time? Ideal temperature?

Sowing the lawn – when is the best time? Ideal temperature?

Sowing the lawn - when is the best time? Ideal temperature?

The lawn is the carpet of the garden and the dream of many hobby gardeners. Regardless of whether you decide on an ornamental, flowering, sports, and play lawn or a shaded lawn.

However, in order for a dense and lush green lawn to be able to develop and remain so in the long term, there are a few things to consider. Starting with a high-quality seed, through optimal soil preparation, to sowing the seed and subsequent care.

Best time to sow the Lawn

In principle, lawns can be sown all year round, because lawn seed is hardy. Spring is often recommended as the best time for sowing. Most hobby gardeners choose to sow seeds either in late spring between late April/early May or in early autumn around August/September.

Nevertheless, one should preferably use autumn for sowing, then the conditions are optimal and the germination period is significantly reduced.

Autumn

In autumn, in particular, the conditions for achieving good rooting and a high density of grass are optimal. The most important growth factors sun, light, and heat are available in sufficient quantities. This applies to the new installation of a complete lawn as well as to repairing bare spots.

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Ideal Soil temperature

Fast germination will give the best results. It depends on sufficient soil moisture and the temperature of the soil. If you sow too early, it is still too cold and the seed will not germinate or will not come up. Accordingly, the floor should be at least 10 degrees (50F) warm. Such temperatures are not reached before the beginning of May.

spring

In addition, pronounced heat and dry periods can already occur in spring, which makes it difficult to keep the soil constantly moist. The result can be that no uniformly dense lawn develops. Failures are more common with spring sowing than with autumn sowing and germination time is longer early in the year.

autumn

The main advantages of autumn sowing are that the soil has retained the warmth of the summer and more frequent precipitation makes it much easier to keep the germination bed moist.

Air and ground temperatures are well above the 10-degree (50F) mark. It is neither too cold nor too hot during the day or at night. The problem of the night or early frosts does not exist either.

Prepare lawn

The better the area in question is prepared, the easier and more evenly the lawn seeds can germinate. Compacted soils and those with poor structure must be processed and prepared accordingly before sowing.

  • to enrich very sandy soils with mature green compost
  • work deep into the soil
  • Compost should not contain bark
  • it improves the storage capacity of water and nutrients
  • then leave the floor to rest for several weeks
  • This protects against sagging and possible bumps that occur later
  • Optimize the permeability of heavy, loamy soils by adding sand
  • Thoroughly loosen the soil to a depth of approx. 20 cm (7.8 inches)

Pay attention to high-quality seeds

The best soil preparation is useless if the seed is of poor quality. Good seed is an important factor when it comes to a beautiful, dense, and lush green lawn. The respective properties of the grasses are already genetically determined in the seeds.

Good lawn mixtures are more expensive than poor-quality ones. They contain many cheap forage grasses and do not form dense turf. Even with the most intensive care, it is not possible to produce a high-quality lawn from it.

Commercial lawn mixtures are suitable for lawns that are walked on or played on a lot. They are characterized by low maintenance and high drought tolerance.

Playground and sports turf are particularly robust and resilient, but also somewhat more complex to look after. Decorative lawns such as English lawns require the most care. Then there is the shaded lawn, which is suitable for areas where only a few rays of sunlight penetrate.

Instructions for sowing

When sowing, the seed should be distributed as evenly as possible. The best way to do this is with a spreader. It always delivers the right amount of seed, preventing under- or over-dosing. Sowing by hand, on the other hand, is very uneven.

If too many seeds are spread in one place, the grasses can hinder each other’s development. This can promote fungal diseases that damage the grasses. Too few seeds can lead to gaps in the lawn.

  • The application rate of cheap mixtures is relatively high
  • with high-quality mixtures, significantly less seed is required
  • for a dense lawn, 20 – 25 g per m² (10sf) is sufficient
  • apply a phosphorus starter fertilizer immediately after sowing
  • it supplies young grasses with important nutrients in the first few weeks
  • now go over the entire surface with a rake and work in the seed
  • Seeds are then anchored about 1 cm (0.39 inches) deep in the ground
  • they have the best possible ground contact

At this point, it is often recommended to compact the surface with a roller. However, this is not advisable, because the compacted surface means that the seeds remain on the surface, where they can be washed away or dry out. The remaining seeds take up to two weeks longer to push through the compacted surface.

Tip

 Biodegradable fleeces are now commercially available, into which both the seed and a starter fertilizer are woven. They only have to be laid out and watered accordingly.

Irrigation

The most important step after sowing is watering. If this is not done consistently, the seed can die off in the germination phase. This in turn leads to large gaps in the lawn. To counteract this, water should be used in the first 3 weeks after sowing, depending on the weather, and the soil should be kept evenly moist.

On sunny days, this means that the lawn area can be briefly sprinkled with water up to 5 times a day. This is all the more important for the small plants that have just germinated because they have not yet developed a sufficient root system and are dependent on a regular water supply.

Once the seeds have dried out, you can water them however you want, the seeds will no longer germinate.

After sowing

Depending on the seed and the weather conditions, it can take between one and three weeks before the first results can be seen after sowing. As soon as the grass has grown 8 – 10 cm (3-4 inches), it is mowed for the first time. It is important that the blades of the mower are sharp in order to be able to make clean cuts.

Blunt knives could easily rip the insufficiently rooted young grass out of the ground or leave frayed leaves. This in turn offers a possible entry point for pathogens. The first lawn cut should not be cut deeper than 5 cm (2 inches). From now on it should be fertilized annually in spring and autumn, regularly whitewashed and scarified.

Problems with sowing

Despite all care, one or the other problem can arise when sowing, whether it is insufficient germination, a patchy lawn, or excessive weed growth. If a poor germination rate is not due to the seeds, in most cases it is due to poor watering.

lawn gaps

Once the germination process has started, it must not be interrupted by drought. Otherwise, the seedlings will die relatively quickly. The result is a patchy lawn. Therefore, the soil should never be dry or even dry out in the first three weeks.

Gaps in the lawn can also be caused by uneven sowing of the seed, for example, if it was done by hand or was buried too deep in the ground when raking in. Regardless of how they came about, such gaps should be resown or overseed as soon as possible.

weeds

Weeds are a problem, especially in inferior seed mixes. In good mixtures, their proportion is usually very low. Weed seeds are often brought in from outside and they find ideal conditions on the optimally prepared soil.

If the lawn is cut regularly, most of the weeds usually disappear by themselves, because they are often annual or field weeds that do not tolerate cutting. The remaining perennial weeds such as dandelions can be cut out manually.

I studied horticulture at the University of Guelph and in my free time I plant everything that has roots on a piece of land. The topic of self-sufficiency and seasonal nutrition is particularly close to my heart. Favorite fruit: quince, corner, and blueberry Favorite vegetables: peas, tomatoes, and garlic