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The lawn is the carpet of the garden and the dream of many hobby gardeners. Regardless of whether you decide on an ornamental, flowering, sports and play lawn or a shaded lawn. However, in order for a dense and lush green lawn to be able to develop and remain so in the long term, there are a few things to consider. Starting with high-quality seed, through optimal soil preparation, to sowing the seed and subsequent care.


Best time to sow

In principle, lawns can be sown all year round, because lawn seed is hardy. Spring is often recommended as the best time for sowing. Most hobby gardeners choose to sow seeds either in late spring between late April/early May or in early autumn around August/September. Nevertheless, one should preferably use the autumn for sowing, then the conditions are optimal and the germination period is significantly reduced.


In autumn in particular, the conditions for achieving good rooting and a high density of grass are ideal. The most important growth factors sun, light and heat are available in sufficient quantities. This applies to the new installation of a complete lawn as well as to repairing bare spots.

soil temperature

Fast germination will give the best results. It depends on sufficient soil moisture and the temperature of the soil. If you sow too early, it is still too cold and the seed will not germinate or will not come up. Accordingly, the floor should be at least 10 degrees warm. Such temperatures are not reached before the beginning of May.


In addition, pronounced heat and dry periods can already occur in spring, which make it difficult to keep the soil constantly moist. The result can be that no uniformly dense lawn develops. Failures are more common with spring sowing than with autumn sowing and germination time is longer early in the year.


The main advantages of autumn sowing are that the soil has retained the warmth of the summer and more frequent precipitation makes it much easier to keep the germination bed moist. Air and ground temperatures are well above the 10 degree mark. It is neither too cold nor too hot during the day or at night. The problem of night or early frosts does not exist either.


Prepare lawn

The better the area in question is prepared, the easier and more evenly the lawn seeds can germinate. Compacted soils and those with poor structure must be processed and prepared accordingly before sowing.

  • to enrich very sandy soils with mature green compost
  • work deep into the soil
  • Compost should not contain bark
  • it improves storage capacity of water and nutrients
  • then leave the floor to rest for several weeks
  • This protects against sagging and possible bumps that occur later
  • Optimize the permeability of heavy, loamy soils by adding sand
  • Thoroughly loosen the soil to a depth of approx. 20 cm

Ultimately, the soil should have a finely crumbly structure, this is the only way to ensure good contact with the soil with the fine lawn seeds. To create such a structure, the top layer of soil must be cleared of weeds, roots, stones and other coarse debris to a depth of about 3 - 4 cm. The area is thus perfectly prepared for sowing.

Tip: Good soil preparation also offers green manure with herbs and legumes, it loosens the soil and supplies it with important organic substances. You can sow the herbs in spring, dig them into the ground around mid-August and let them set.


Pay attention to high-quality seeds

The best soil preparation is useless if the seed is of poor quality. Good seed is an important factor when it comes to a beautiful, dense and lush green lawn. The respective properties of the grasses are already genetically determined in the seeds. Good lawn mixtures are more expensive than poor quality ones. They contain many cheap forage grasses and do not form a dense turf. Even with the most intensive care, it is not possible to produce a high-quality lawn from it.

Commercial lawn mixtures are suitable for lawns that are walked on or played on a lot. They are characterized by low maintenance and high drought tolerance. Playground and sports turf are particularly robust and resilient, but also somewhat more complex to look after. Ornamental lawns such as English lawns require the most maintenance. Then there is the shade lawn, which is suitable for areas where only a few rays of sunlight penetrate.

Tip: If you are not sure which mixture to use for sowing, you can also contact the German Lawn Society.


Instructions for sowing

When sowing, the seed should be distributed as evenly as possible. The best way to do this is with a spreader. It always delivers the right amount of seed, preventing under- or over-dosing. Sowing by hand, on the other hand, is very uneven. If too many seeds are sown in one place, the grasses can hinder each other's development. This can promote fungal diseases that damage the grasses. Too few seeds can lead to gaps in the lawn.

  • The application rate of cheap mixtures is relatively high
  • with high-quality mixtures, significantly less seed is required
  • for a dense lawn 20 - 25 g per m² is completely sufficient
  • apply a phosphorus starter fertilizer immediately after sowing
  • it supplies young grasses with important nutrients in the first few weeks
  • now go over the entire surface with a rake and work in the seed
  • Seeds are then anchored about 1 cm deep in the ground
  • they have the best possible ground contact

At this point it is often recommended to compact the surface with a roller. However, this is not advisable, because the compacted surface means that the seeds remain on the surface, where they can be washed away or dry up. The remaining seeds take up to two weeks longer to push through the compacted surface.

Tip: Biodegradable fleeces are now commercially available, into which both the seed and a starter fertilization are woven. They only have to be laid out and watered accordingly.


The most important step after sowing is watering. If this is not done consistently, the seed can die off in the germination phase. This in turn leads to large gaps in the lawn. To counteract this, watering should be carried out in the first 3 weeks after sowing, depending on the weather, and the soil should be kept evenly moist.

On sunny days, this means that the lawn area can be briefly sprinkled with water up to 5 times a day. This is all the more important for the small plants that have just germinated, because they have not yet developed a sufficient root system and are dependent on a regular water supply. Once the seeds have dried out, you can water them however you want, the seeds will no longer germinate.

After sowing

Depending on the seed and the weather conditions, it can take between one and three weeks before the first results can be seen after sowing. As soon as the grass has grown 8 - 10 cm, it is mowed for the first time. It is important that the blades of the mower are sharp in order to be able to make clean cuts.

Blunt knives could easily tear the insufficiently rooted young grasses out of the ground or leave frayed leaves. This in turn offers a possible entry point for pathogens. The first lawn cut should not be cut deeper than 5 cm. From now on it should be fertilized annually in spring and autumn, regularly whitewashed and scarified.

Problems with sowing

Despite all care, one or the other problem can arise when sowing, be it insufficient germination, a patchy lawn or excessive weed growth. If a poor germination rate is not due to the seeds, in most cases it is due to poor watering.

lawn gaps

Once the germination process has started, it must not be interrupted by drought. Otherwise the seedlings will die relatively quickly. The result is a patchy lawn. Therefore, the soil should never be dry or even dry out in the first three weeks. Gaps in the lawn can also be caused by uneven sowing of the seed, for example if it was done by hand or was buried too deep in the ground when raking in. Regardless of how they came about, such gaps should be resown or overseed as soon as possible.


Weeds are a problem, especially in inferior seed mixes. In good mixtures, their proportion is usually very low. Weed seeds are often brought in from outside and they find ideal conditions on the optimally prepared soil. If the lawn is cut regularly, most of the weeds usually disappear by themselves, because they are often annual or field weeds that do not tolerate cutting. The remaining, perennial weeds such as dandelions can be cut out manually.

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