Step one is to get the seed spread out and touching soil. The seeds need to be in contact with soil to help germination and to start the rooting of new seedlings. As the seed sprouts roots, the soil helps maintain consistent moisture, nutrients and temperature.
Spread out your seeds onto the bare soil at a rate of 12 to 16 seeds per square inch. Next, rake the area lightly to mix the seeds and soil. You don’t want the seeds deeper than ¼”. Some seeds should be seen on the surface and some should be lightly covered.
Step two is putting down a small amount of starter fertilizer or a garden soil with starter fertilizer. After germinating, the seedling pushes out its roots and leaves. This process uses up all the seeds nutrient stores. The seedling now need to pull nutrients from the soil to survive.
If you use garden soil, rake the area again. You are just adding a small amount to provide nutrients for the seedlings, don't bury the seeds. Starter fertilizers helps build root growth and provide nutrients for photosynthesis.
Step three is water. You need to mist the area twice a day for at least 2 weeks and preferably up to 4 weeks. Most seed mixtures are a blend of seeds with different germination rates. It is important to keep the seeds moist, but not saturated. If the seeds or sprouts dry out, they die. You want a light mist to cover the seeds till the ground is wet, down to an inch. You don’t want to use sprinklers that will pour water in the area and cause the seed to be moved around. You want a hose attachment that will mist the area for about 5 minutes. Most seeds will germinate within 2 weeks, but some can take up to 4 weeks. So even when you start to see growth, keep misting the area. The seedlings need water too. You are going for moist, not soggy.
Step four is light. Your seedlings need light for photosynthesis. As the leaves push out of the seed and the food reserves are used up, the seedling needs to draw nutrients from the soil and create food from photosynthesis. This is why the seeds should not be too deep into the soil.
Step five is temperature. The best time to grow grass is in the spring or fall. Ideal air temperature is between 45 and 75 degrees. The perfect soil temperature is 55 to 65 degrees. In most parts of the country, spring and fall are the best times to grow grass. High temperatures dry out the soil too fast and can kill seeds and seedlings.
The most important step is misting the area twice a day. This is where most people fail to be consistent. If the seeds or seedlings dry out, they will die.
Villa Park Hardware is at 46 S. Villa Ave. Villa Park, IL 60181 or visit them online at http://www.villaparkhardware.com.