Lawn Care Experts
Grass Seed for Lawns Buying Guide

Grass Seed for New Lawns

All Lawnsmith® grass seed mixtures make for great lawns in the right circumstances. In other words, you may WANT an ornamental lawn but if you've got kids and a dog it won't last five minutes. Therefore you NEED a hard wearing family lawn grass seed. It may not be ornamental but it'll survive and look good.

So, ALWAYS pick a lawn seed that will survive whether that's use 'n abuse, shade, poor soil or a combination. If you're lucky to have no testing factors then feel free to pick the one you like the most.

Grass Seed for Patching and Renovations

For renovations or after scarifying where you spread new seed all over the existing lawn choose the grass seed you'd like to have more of or which will be the best for your use. You don't have to worry about a perfect match.

However, for patching or minor repairs choose a grass seed mixture that is as close to your existing lawn grass as possible. Look at the blades of grass in your lawn and decide whether they’re all fine bristle like blades, all flat blades or a mixture. Then use the ‘LEAF’ attribute in the left hand menu on the 'Grass Seed' page to find the one(s) you need.

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When will I see green shoots?

In ideal growing conditions which means warmth (ground temperature at least above 80c) and constant moisture rye grasses will germinate in 5-10 days and fescues in 7-14 days.

Your best way to judge ground temperature is to take an average of the day and night time temperature. Wind chill has a considerable effect and so does rain or watering as this cools the soil.

So, with unreliable british weather sowing too early such as March or even early April can mean a delay in germination if the weather remains cool.

On the upside, once the temperature is right and if you don't have too large an area you can always add water.

For 100% success everytime: sow in warmth and don't let the seedlings dry out

Feeding seedlings and new lawns

When seeding you have two aims:

  1. To get the seed to germinate
  2. To get it to grow and become a lawn as quickly as possible so it can be used

Both require warmth and water but the first is down to how well you've planted your seed and the second is down to nutrition. Getting strong roots is half the battle which requires phosphate and nitrogen and getting healthy leaves requires potassium and nitrogen. Therefore adding the right fertiliser is very beneficial.

Use our Starter fertiliser for new lawns. For existing lawns when over seeding use one of our seasonal fertilisers - the 'sandy soil' variety in spring and summer will give you a better nutrient balance even if you have clay soil. You can use 'starter' or a 'seasonal fertiliser' for patching small areas.

For new lawns

You can over fertilise quite easily so don't feed for the first three months presuming you applied a feed when seeding. Then feed according to one of the three programmes outlined in the Fertiliser Buying Guide.

How much grass seed do I need?

Each grass seed variety has its own page in the Grass Seed section of the shop. The sowing rates for new lawns or for over sowing is at the bottom of the page.

Always order 10 to 20% more than needed to accommodate errors in spreading and or measuring. More may be required if bird attack is anticipated. It is also a good idea to have a quantity (10% to 20%) left over for patching and repairs later on.

I want a low maintenance lawn!

Be cautious about low maintenance claims for grasses. The term low maintenance is often used to describe grasses that grow slowly and therefore need less mowing. These you’ll typically find on a motorway embankment. Presumably that’s not what you want on your lawn!

Ornamental grass varieties also grow more slowly but they need mowing more frequently (usually twice a week) to keep them in good condition and also require raking or scarifying at least annually. This all adds up and is NOT what we call low maintenance!

In the rating box (in the full description at the bottom of each individual grass seed page) we have a maintenance rating that takes into consideration all aspects of lawn care including mowing frequency, raking, scarifying, aeration, fertilisation and weed control. This, we hope will guide you more accurately.

Should I have rye grass in my lawn seed mixture?

Rye grass can be coarse, however, today’s varieties are specially selected dwarf amenity grasses with a thin flat leaf and an excellent emerald colour. We use it in most of our mixtures as it enhances the look and improves the durability of a lawn.

What is the order of jobs when sowing grass seed?

Detailed sowing instructions are included with all grass seed orders.

Do not use lawn weed killer for 2 months before or after seeding.

New lawns and patching

  • Prepare surface
  • Add seed
  • Add starter fertiliser on the same day or very shortly after

Raking or Scarifying

  • Rake or scarify
  • Remove all debris
  • Add seed – 2 day gap required if ferrous sulphate used after raking/scarifying
  • Add seasonal fertiliser on the same day or very shortly after

Aerating

  • Seed and use seasonal fertiliser straight after aerating

Order for full renovation

  • Ferrous sulphate as optional treatment for moss 2-4 weeks prior to raking
  • Rake or scarify
  • Ferrous sulphate as 2nd optional treatment for moss
  • Aerate within a day or so
  • Add seed as soon as possible or after 2 days of using ferrous sulphate
  • Add seasonal fertiliser on the same day or very shortly after
  • If top dressing, then seed and fertilise in your preferred order usually on the same day 

Can I use my spreader to sow lawn grass seed

Yes you can but because of the elongated shape of grass seed it does not 'flow' consistently through rotary or broadcast spreaders. This means that though a spreader is an excellent method for spreading seed, settings are unreliable which is why we suggest a one third open setting to start and applying in several lots starting from a different side of the lawn each time to ensure consistent even coverage.

How do I know it's quality grass seed?

Our grass seed is selected from one of the oldest and largest grass seed suppliers and blenders in northern England. Here, grass seed is sourced from Europe’s top breeders to provide mixtures suitable for fantastic lawns, great sports turf and golf courses.
In addition, varieties are selected for their excellent characteristics whether that is drought tolerance, colour, recovery etc. All are STRI (Sports Turf Research Institute) rated.

No Weed Seeds: All seed requires compulsory Certification through the EEC for germination and purity. Our seed is the highest rated and has therefore achieved the additional HVS (Higher Voluntary Standard) Certification.

We reckon that makes our seed about as good as you can get!

How fresh is the grass seed and how long will it keep?

Seed in europe is harvested from May to September so the seed you use this year will normally be from the previous years harvest. This is normal but to assure users that our seed is as fresh as possible we bag it as soon as we can and all 5, 10 and 20 kilo bags are sealed with a dated green Certification label. This means customers storing unused seed in a cool, dark, dry area can be confident of satisfactory germination for at least 3 years.

How can I test grass seed viability?

Take an old clean cloth and fold it into a flat pad about an inch thick. Place this in a tub or bowl with half an inch of water. The cloth will soak up water and become saturated. The top of the cloth pad is now an ideal place to sprinkle perhaps 20 to 25 seeds.

  • Place the tub in a warm place away from drafts – airing cupboards and utility rooms are usually ideal
  • Maintain a water level of about half an inch until germination - do NOT let it dry out
  • Germination will take between 5 and 14 days depending on seed type and temperature
  • When sprouting gets to ½” count how many seeds did and how many didn’t germinate
  • If only half germinated double your seeding rate
  • If less than half germinated throw it away and buy fresh!

Why is soil type important?

Some grasses like and tolerate wet conditions while others will die off. We have therefore given you the option of selecting your grass seed mixture based on Soil Type and Extreme Conditions with clay soil generally holding water well whilst sandy or stoney soils will drain freely and be dry. 

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