Sowing lawn seed in Spring
Author: Stefan Palm Date Posted: 18 September 2019
Spring is the best time to establish a new lawn from seed. It's by far the cheapest way to get yourself a new lawn and it’s a whole lot easier than you think!
Spring weather has the best of both worlds – Good amounts of rain and, of course the sun comes out and warms up the soil without the extreme temperatures of Summer. Lawn seed needs these two elements for good germination. The soil needs to be a minimum temperature for most seed to germinate, especially when it comes to warm season varieties such as couch and kikuyu making Spring the best time to ensure that whatever you sow has the best chance of germinating.
What varieties are available?
There are not as many varieties of seed as there are varieties of turf however there is still plenty to choose from, the most popular types being Bermuda Couch, Kikuyu, tall fescue, rye and bent grass. You can buy these as pure varieties or as blended combinations. Kikuyu seed is often blended with fescue and couch seed is often blended with rye grass. These combinations complement each other and ensure a fast germination and even coverage.
How much will it cost?
Seed is typically be less than 10% of the cost of instant turf. Expect to pay around $20 for a kilogram of good quality, blended seed which will cover around 25 square metres. Turf to do the same area will cost $225-$300, depending on the variety.
How to sow lawn seed:
Sowing seed isn’t complicated. If you sow seed now, you can expect to have a mature lawn before Christmas however you’ll need to do some weed control and over-sowing during this time. The most critical element to sowing a lawn is water – you don’t have to water for long periods but you do have to water at regular intervals through the day during the germination period. If your seed begins to germinate then dries out, it will most probably die. It’s the leading cause of seed failure. When this happens, it’s easy to think to yourself, “I must have had a bad batch of seed”. Almost all the seed that comes into Australia comes from the USA and is certified by the Australian Government to have a minimum purity and a minimum germination meaning that is very unlikely that you’re going to buy dud seed. If it doesn’t germinate, in most cases it was either too cold or it didn’t get watered frequently enough (or the birds ate it all…) so keep that in mind when you’re planning to sow seed. Generally speaking the warmer the weather, the more frequently you have to water. The minimum is twice per day however when you get into the mid 20’s, then an additional water in the middle of the day is essential. Once the temperature hits the 30’s then 4 times per day is required. I probably wouldn’t attempt sowing seed in the high 30’s – you’d be out there all day watering!
Germination times range from 7-10 days for a rye grass to 3 weeks for a kikuyu which means you need to keep up this watering intensity for at least 2-3 weeks.
You can continue to sow lawn seed right through to early autumn but as I said earlier, I’d avoid extreme temperatures.
We’ve created some handy resources to walk you through the steps involved in sowing a lawn. Click here for more info or watch the video below: