From seed to grass

Grass seed

Step 1: Remove / kill off any existing (non warm season) grass

Your new warm season grass will have little chance of success if it’s competing against existing and established lawn – so therefore you must remove / kill off any existing grass and weeds.

Most plants can be effectively removed with two applications of a non-residual herbicide – spaced 10 days apart. Seek advice from your local nursery about the best non-residual spray to use.

Step 2: Soil preparation

If you don’t take time to improve the soil quality of the area to be seeded, your warm season grass is likely to fail in places and will result in a patchy appearance. A little additional investment in getting your soil right will give your grass the best chance of success.

It is important to note that you will not be granted a second exemption due to a failed installation (most commonly caused by failing to remove existing grass and poor soil preparation).

  • pH levels are vital – a sandy loam soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal
  • Apply a granular wetting agent
  • Apply a starter fertiliser – use a slow release fertiliser on the day you lay the seed.

Step 3: Laying the seed (without feeding the birds)

To avoid providing local birdlife with a free feed at the expense of your new grass, you must sow the seed properly using a seed spreader (available for under $20).

  • Once you have thoroughly moistened the soil, apply the seed as directed
  • Top dress the soil – this helps the newly seeded area hold to hold moisture. This generally means a fine topsoil or sand / compost mix
  • It is essential that you evenly spread the top soil – using a peat spreader or cage roller. For small areas this can be done with a metal rake, although great care must be taken otherwise your seed will be covered with too much soil.

Step 4: Lightly rake surface (so your good work is not washed away)

  • To ensure the seed is positioned below the surface and to aid water retention, lightly rake the surface in a single direction
  • Avoid rolling/ overly compacting the surface – this leads to water beading / run off
  • Water the surface gently using a trigger nozzle. Several light waterings throughout the first day of planting are better than drenching the soil.

Step 5: Keep water in and kids and pets off! (Week 1)

Your new grass seed is especially delicate in its first week of life, so follow these tips diligently.

  • Keep moist at all times – test the soil several times a day with your finger, it needs to remain continually moist at a depth of approximately 5 mm
  • Every grass location is different, but newly seeded areas commonly need light watering several times a day. If the seed dries out, it will die
  • Too much water will cause your seed to rot. Observe your topsoil – it will change in colour (lightening) as it dries. Only water again when half to two-thirds of the topsoil has lightened in colour
  • Erect a small fence or string barrier around the newly laid seed to keep children and pets off the surface.

Step 6: Patience is a virtue (Week 2)

  • Water more deeply to ensure the soil is kept moist to a depth of 5-10 mm
  • If it is hot or dry, water more frequently to maintain steady moisture levels – a moisture sensor can be helpful. It ensures you don’t over or underwater your newly sown grass.

Step 7: Signs of success – grass tips need moisture (Weeks 3 & 4)

Dependent on weather conditions and grass type, the first grass tips should be visible across the sown area. It is absolutely critical to keep the seedbed moist at all times during weeks three and four. Ensure the soil is kept moist to a depth of up to 100 mm (where the roots are). This generally means watering less often but for longer periods.