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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Establishing a lawn from seed

A well-prepared seedbed is essential for the establishment of grasses. Purchase a high-quality seed and prepare the soil for planting. When the soil has been properly prepared, spread the seed at the appropriate time and rate for your species.

How to spread seed

  • Measure the area to be planted and determine the total amount of seed needed.
  • Divide the total amount of seed in half.
  • Sow half of the seed following a vertical pathway and sow the remaining half horizontally as shown at right.
  • Spread seed with a drop, broadcast, or handheld spreader.
  • At low seeding rates, sawdust, sand, or other suitable material mixed with the seed aids in obtaining uniform coverage.
  • Cover seed to a depth of 1/16 to 1/8 inch by raking it in and lightly rolling or firming the soil.
  • The finished seedbed should have shallow uniform depressions about 1/2 inch deep and 1 - 2 inches apart.
  • For summer turf establishment, a thin layer of mulch (no more than 1/4 inch thick) can be spread over the seeds with a peat spreader to protect the seeds and keep the soil moist.
  • Keep the soil moist during the germination period (usually 1 - 2 weeks) by applying frequent, but light, irrigations.

Large lawns or hard-to-reach areas may be better hydroseeded.

Illustration showing pattern for seeding a lawn
Pattern for sowing seed


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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