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Video:How to Prepare Soil for Grass Seed

with JJ Johnson

To grow healthy grass on your home lawn, be sure to prep the soil before spreading grass seed. Watch this video to be sure your soil is ready to for grass seed and how to spread the seeds properly.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Prepare Soil for Grass Seed

Hi. JJ Johnson here to show you how to plant grass seed.

Prep the Soil with Several Tests

I’ve prepped this area for a new lawn by raking out all the dead weeds and picking out the new weeds. Before I do anything else I want to test the soil here to see what I am working with. You could either pick up a soil test kit, like I have here, or take samples to you county extension services where they could check it for you.

Test the pH and Chemistry of the Soil

I am going to check for pH first. This test tells you the Alkalinity or Acidity of the soil. Take off the top and remove the test capsule. Put in a sample of soil from about 4” down up to the first line. Carefully open the capsule and pour in the powder.

Add distilled water to the fourth line. Cap it and shake. Allow the soil to settle and the color to develop, about a minute. Then compare the color of the solution to the chart. If you have to adjust your soil, which does takes time, there is a chart on the test kit to guide you.

Now to test for Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash you get a clean container and fill it with 1 part soil from about 4” down to 5 parts distilled water. Shake or stir it thoroughly, about a minute then let is settle for ten minutes.

Then pour the liquid up to the fourth line and add the contents of the capsule. Shake thoroughly and let the color develop for about 10 minutes. Then compare the color to the chart.This should give you an excellent snapshot of the condition of your soil and you can make any adjustments as needed.

Rake the Lawn and Spread the Grass Seed

With a tiller, loosen the top 3 – 4 inches of soil. Spread and mix in the manure. Which is a fertilizer that will increase the nitrogen. Remove debris and break up clumps. Then level the top with a rake.

Spread the seed with a mechanical spreader at the rate per instructions on the seed. Be careful not to over-seed because they will become too crowded and choke each other. When spreading the seeds, apply one-half of the seeds in one direction and the other half at right angles to the first. Rake the entire area lightly to barely cover the seeds with soil.

At this point you could roll the seedbed to ensure the seeds are in contact with the soil. I am going to cover lightly with straw to help prevent birds from enjoying a buffet of grass seed. Water gently, but deeply everyday. It may take up to three weeks for all the grass to germinate. Once the grass has grown to a height of 2 to 2 1/2 inches, you may mow. However, remember to never take more than 1/3 of the grass height when mowing.

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