You bought it. You dragged it home. You spread it, watered it, and waited. And waited. And waited. So, why isn’t your grass seed growing?
It’s a common question and complaint we hear at Lawn Pride. Let’s dig in and find out what you may be doing wrong
Reason #1: Timing is everything
Most homeowners are eager to get their lawn care started at the first sign of the growing season. While we definitely appreciate this attitude, when it comes to grass seed, timing is everything. In Indiana, spring can still be spotty – everything from late frost to heavy rains and all those up-and-down temperature fluctuations can hamper young grass growth. Fast forward to summer – by the time the dog days approach, air and soil temps are much warmer and more inviting to seed.
And, speaking of timing, what kind of grass seed are you using? A fast-growing rye variety, a middle-of-the-road fescue, or a slow-but-steady bluegrass? Slower growing seeds tend to yield lusher, stronger grasses, but they require a lot more commitment to get there. If you skipped a day or skimped on maintenance, it could have cost you your new dream lawn.
Reason #2) Did you spread it and forget It?
Grass can be challenging to grow from seed, even for the most skillful do-it-yourselfer. Seeding your lawn isn’t a simple DIY project – that’s only step one! Once your seed is spread (and after your soil is prepped), you need to ensure it gets plenty of water. Water daily, soaking in the morning at 15-20 minutes, and light watering in the afternoon at 5-10 minutes – a total of 1.5 inches a week. The goal is to keep the lawn damp for a 3-4 week period without ever drying out, or getting overwatered. Also make sure your lawn gets enough sunshine (you may need to trim back trees and shrubs, or seek seed alternatives for high-shade areas). Don’t forget fertilizer (schedule your fall treatment right now!), and pest control (a year-round effort). Not a job for the lazy homeowner or the faint of heart!
Reason #3) Preparing your soil properly
If you’re a faithful reader of the Lawn Pride blog, you’ve seen us mention this before. And here it is again – aerate, aerate, aerate! Soil becomes compacted over time, which can weaken existing grass and make it darn near impossible to grow new stuff. Aeration mixes up soil, removes stubborn thatch (a thin layer of dead vegetation between grass and the ground), and leaves behind small holes which allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to reach grass roots. It’s also a great preemptive measure to control weeds.
We recommend aerating your lawn at least once a year – early fall and spring are particularly beneficial. It’s crucial to aerate prior to seeing due to the seed being lighter than water. If one heavy rain comes our way, the seeds will wash away. With core aerating, the seeds will stay in place.
Reason #4) Why Seed (or Reseed) in the First Place?
Before you run out to the garden center and spend a fortune on grass seed and tools, ask yourself – why do you need to do all this to begin with? If existing grass is struggling to thrive or is actively dying in patches or all over your yard, fresh seed may not be the best answer. When is the last time you tested your soil? When is the last time you aerated? Is your soil overly saturated? Is it too dry? Is it getting enough sunshine? How often do you mow? Are you following best seasonal practices for fertilizer and herbicide? Are you keeping up with proper pest control?
Reseeding is important because you need to lessen the opportunity for broadleaf and grass weeds to attack, while bringing in stronger varieties of turf that do better in our Central Indiana environment.
Having the nicest lawn in the neighborhood starts with proper growing, continues with all-season maintenance, and really never ends. It’s a major commitment, and it never hurts to ask for help. Thankfully, Lawn Pride is here every step of the way.