March 27, 2023

When to Seed a Lawn (and how!)

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Wondering when to seed a lawn in Canada? Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t give us a cut-and-dry answer (the groundhogs aren’t much help, either). Rather than a specific date, look for the ideal conditions. To germinate, grass seed needs 15+ degree soil, moisture and light. Once you have the perfect trifecta, you’re good to go! 

When to Seed a Lawn 

Throughout Canada, either fall or mid-spring are the best times of year to seed a lawn. The temperatures are just right, and the rain is falling! 

Mid-spring varies from March to May, across provinces, from year to year, depending on Mother Nature’s mood. Once the snow melts and things warm up, start checking the temperature of your soil. Use a cooking thermometer, and once the ground is at 15 degrees C, it’s time to sow your grass seed. 

How to Seed a Lawn 

Step one: Choose your grass seed. Pick the right variety for the right spot.

Not all grass seed is created equally! Different types of grass like varying conditions, temperatures, and soil types. Some can tolerate drought or high foot traffic better than others. I always recommend a blend of grass seeds to help your lawn look great all summer. 

Questions to ask when choosing a grass seed:

  • How much light does the area get? If it’s a shadier spot, choose a grass seed designed for shade like this one from Scotts. Keep in mind that no grass will grow in complete shade. Choose peace if you have a large tree where grass won’t grow! The tree will win. Try mulch or a shade-loving perennial ground cover. 
  • How big of an area will you be covering? An all-in-one EZ seed is an excellent product if you have just a few patches to cover.  
  • What is the soil type? Is it clay, sandy, or loamy?  
  • How much traffic will there be? Look for high-traffic grass seed if the kids and dog are playing on the lawn all day. 

Step Two: Prep your lawn. An artist would never paint on a dirty canvas! 

Rake and remove dead grass and debris. If the earth feels compacted underfoot, aerate to ensure nutrients and water can reach the roots. Add about ¼” of good-quality soil. 

Step Three: Sow your grass seed. Get the lawn the neighbour’s envy. 

Broadcast your grass seed, following the instructions on the bag, either by hand or with a spreader. Use a fan rake to ensure proper contact with the soil (aim for a planting depth of just 2mm (1/16 of an inch). Water thoroughly, but avoid oversoaking because you can wash away your seed. 

Bonus step: Repeat step three in 7-10 days to help thicken your grass. The thicker your lawn, the harder it is for weeds to infiltrate. 

Seeding a lawn: Keys to success! 

  • Hedge your bets. Germination is a numbers game. Not every seed you sow will grow! Unless I cover a vast area, I like to seed and reseed 7-10 days later. 
  • Use a blend. Different types of grass do well in varying conditions. Some grasses (like bluegrass) love the cooler temps of spring, while others (like rye) thrive in the heat of summer. A blend gives you the best of both worlds.
  • You get what you pay for. Invest in a good quality grass seed, and you’re more likely to succeed (and less likely to plant weeds!). Check the germination rates on the bag. For example, an 80% germination rate means 8 out of 10 seeds will germinate successfully. 
  • Store your seed correctly. If you don’t finish this year’s seed, store it in a cool, dry place where it won’t freeze in the winter. 
  • Grass seed does have a shelf life, so watch for expiration dates on the package. 
  • Remember to water. Mid-spring is a great time to overseed a lawn because it tends to come with lots of rain. But if April showers aren’t happening – be sure to water your newly planted seeds. Your grass seed needs daily water for the first month. 

Spring lawn care doesn’t have to be complicated. You’re setting your grass up for success in these few weeks of spring. Follow these steps, and you’ll grow a thick, lush lawn! (Now, if only it were that easy to fill in my bald spot) 

Learn more about how to overseed your lawn or get your questions answered with spring lawn FAQs