Establishing a Lawn from Seed

January 17, 2014

The establishment of a home lawn from seed can be challenging. The keys to successfully establishing a lawn from seed are selecting high quality seed, seeding at the optimum time, and following proper establishment procedures. Today’s blog is a revised Iowa State University extension publication on establishing a lawn from seed. 

The following is a small introduction to the publication.

Time of Seeding

The best time to seed a lawn in Iowa is between mid-August and mid/late September. However, lawns can be successfully established as late as late-September in central Iowa and early October in southern Iowa. Late summer planting is preferred to spring seeding because seeds germinate and grow rapidly in the warm soil. The warm days and cool nights are ideal for seedling growth.

Establishment from seed in the spring is possible when irrigation is available. However, lawns established in spring often become infested with annual weeds unless preventive steps are taken. A pre-emergent herbicide such as siduron or mesotrione should be applied to the area during a spring establishment. Most of these preemergent herbicides kill the seeds of the cool season lawn grasses and cannot be used at the time of seeding. Mesotrione and siduron are the only exceptions. Siduron can be applied to areas seeded with Kentucky bluegrass, fine and tall fescues, and perennial ryegrass. Siduron selectively control weedy annual grasses, such as crabrass, foxtail, and barnyardgrass, while allowing the desirable turfgrasses to grow. Siduron is the active ingredient of many crabgrass preventer/starter fertilizer materials. Once the barrier of siduron has been established, the soil should not be further disturbed. Wherever the barrier is broken, annual weeds will emerge. Mesotrione is labeled for preemergent use only on newly seeded Kentucky bluegrass lawns to help control crabgrass seedlings and other annual weeds.

The entire extension publication is attached in pdf form. To download the publication, click on the following link Establishing a Lawn from Seed