University of Maryland Extension

Seeding/Sodding - Lawns

Hand with grass seed in it

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There are varying degrees of lawn seeding that range from lawn establishment, total renovation, overseeding, and repairing bare spots. Laying sod is the choice if you want an 'instant lawn'.

  • Begin lawn establishment/renovation projects by soil testing. 
  • For detailed information on sod and site preparation before seeding or laying sod see publication (PDF) HG 102 - Lawn Establishment, Renovation, and Overseeding.
  • Late summer to early fall (mid-August to mid-October) is the recommended time for seeding cool-season grasses. Warm season grasses like zoysia are planted in late spring into summer and are usually starting with plugs, not seed. 
  • If autumn leaf drop is a concern, seeding should be done in August or early September.
  • The second-best time for seeding is late February through early April. Seed planted at other times tends to fail, usually because of weed competition and weather.
  • Divide the seed into two parts; apply one-half in one direction (north/south) and the remainder in the opposite direction (east/west). Sow seed in large areas with a lawn spreader. 
  • Seed-to-soil contact is essential. If overseeding, use a core aerator or a slit seeder before sowing seed.
  • Turf type tall fescue is the recommended type of grass for sunny lawns in Maryland. Fine fescues are used on low-maintenance sites and for areas that receive less than 4 hours of direct sunlight. (PDF) See publication TT-77 for recommended turfgrass cultivars. 
  • Avoid seed mixtures that contain perennial ryegrass. Perennial ryegrass seed germinates quickly but is not a long-lived grass species in Maryland. 

Resources:

(PDF) HG 102 - Lawn Establishment, Renovation, and Overseeding    
(PDF) TT 77 - Recommended Turfgrass Cultivars for Certified Sod and Professional Seed Mixtures
            
                  
Video: Turfgrass Establishment

 

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