Grow a lush lawn with these pointers
By Russell M. Gullo
Growing a lawn from seed can be one of the most challenging projects a homeowner can undertake. The path
from newly seeded to lush lawn is often fraught with many difficulties. Following these five simple tips will
help ensure your grass seed comes in lush and full.
1) Choose the Right Seed
There are many different types of grass seed to choose from, and picking the right one is critical. The three
best varieties for our climate are Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, and Ryegrass. It is important to understand the
different attributes of each variety, as applications vary and each type has different strengths.
Kentucky Bluegrass takes the longest of the three to germinate (20+ days), but is generally considered the most
attractive with its very dark green, dense foliage. Kentucky Bluegrass requires at least a half day of sun and
will not do well in shady areas. It is also the least drought tolerant, and needs frequent watering in dry
Fescue takes between 10-14 days to germinate and is the hardiest variety of the three. Fescue is fine-bladed
and very drought-resistant. It is the best variety to use in shady areas and can withstand heavy traffic as
Ryegrass germinates very quickly, often poking through the ground within a week. It is hardy and low-
maintenance, preferring at least a half day of sun like Kentucky Bluegrass. It is often used in mixes as it
comes up quickly and provides shade for slower-growing varieties of seed, allowing them to come in more
For many applications, a mix of Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, and Ryegrass is the most effective. Relying on
the different strengths of the three varieties creates a strong, healthy, vibrant lawn. Our Gullo’s Garden
Center mix contains a 1/3 mix of each variety.
2) Seed at the Correct Time
Soil temperature is critical in seed germination. Too hot or too cold of temperatures will prevent seed from
germinating. Spring and fall are typically the best times of the year, when soil temperatures are ideal, to
seed. Soil temperatures should be between 50 and 65 degrees, and typically occur when daytime highs reach
3) Use a Starter Fertilizer
Using a starter fertilizer can dramatically affect how fast and how well newly seeded areas grow. Starter
fertilizer promotes faster root and blade development, and gives the tender new grass vital nutrients
than may be lacking in the soil. In fact, controlled testing has shown that using Scotts® Turf Builder®
Starter® Food results in new grass growing 70% thicker and 35% quicker versus unfed grass.
4) Protect the Seed
Placing a thin layer of seeding straw over newly planted seed serves multiple purposes. First, it reduces
moisture loss on sunny and windy days. It also holds seed in place and prevents it from shifting around
during watering or heavy rains. Third, it discourages birds and other animals from eating the seed.
5) Water, Water, Water
Keeping soil moist is critical to growing grass seed. Without sufficient moisture, seed will not germinate.
This is the most common cause of failure. Soil should be kept moist but not sopping wet. Water whenever the
soil is becoming dry.