Perfect Lawn

Planting Grass Seed, Strategies for Success

While planting and growing grass is not difficult–I once heard that it could be planted on concrete–there are strategies for successfully planting grass seed to ensure the most success. Listen to this audio podcast to hear the discussion about all these topics.

Perfect Lawn

When planting grass, you have several decisions to make:

When is the best time for planting grass seed?

Fall – The best time for planting grass seed is fall. Early enough so it becomes established before the first frost bot not too early that the heat will hinder growth.

What variety to seed to plant?

Plant what grows best for your part of the country and the site conditions. Your local seed supplier will carry what you need. Companies like Pennington Seed ship different varieties to different parts of the country.

What brand of seed to plant?

Yes, brand does matter. You want a quality seed that will have a deep root system and look nice.

Do grass mixtures matter when planting grass seed?

Yes, a blend of varieties will offer multiple benefits. Some grasses take a long time to germinate, others germinate quickly. Some spread and some are bunch grasses. Using a blend when planting grass seed gives you benefits of multiple varieties.

How much fertilizer do you need?

As little as possible. Deep roots from quality seed will lower the need for fertilizers.

How often to water when planting grass seed?

As needed, follow the instructions for the variety you plant and keep well watered until the grass seed is established.

Engineering the best grass

Handyguy Brian discussed some of the things he learned about Pennington Grass. He visited Pennington’s R&D facility in Oregon earlier this year and has some interesting insight into seed varieties.

Pennington® Smart Seed™ Hands-On Experiment

At Pennington’s “Seed for Yourself” Summit, Handyguy Brian was given the opportunity to try planting grass seed in a small plot using Pennington® Smart Seed™ to learn about the benefits of using a high-quality, pure seed product. Seed products are most appropriate for use when planting grass seed for a new lawn or re-seeding large areas.

Every bag of Pennington® Smart Seed™ contains pure seed and no filler. The seed varieties used in Pennington® Smart Seed™ are some of the most advanced varieties available and have been developed for their drought tolerance. At least 60 percent of the seed in every bag of Pennington® Smart Seed™ has been qualified by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA) for its drought tolerance. Pennington Seed is one of the three founding members of the TWCA, which works with state university systems and private research enterprises to develop turfgrasses that use less water.

In addition to using only the most advanced varieties, each seed is further enhanced with Pennington’s exclusive MYCO Advantage™ seed technology, which helps to introduce beneficial micro-organisms that attach themselves to the emerging seed roots for a denser, deeper root system.

After minimal soil tilling, Brian evenly spread fertilizer and Pennington® Smart Seed™ across his plots. Over the next several weeks, each plot received regular watering as appropriate.*


The plot after initial seeding.

*Watering requirements can vary dramatically between germination, establishment and ongoing maintenance. During germination, homeowners should water to keep the soil moist. Following the first two weeks, homeowners should then water their lawn every third day for 15-20 minutes until established. As part of ongoing maintenance, watering should occur every fourth day for 20-30 minutes. At this stage, the main goal is to maintain a healthy lawn. This can be primarily accomplished by monitoring for color changes. A lawn does not need water until the color falls by 50 percent, at which time one inch of water should be added. To determine the length of irrigation, place plastic cups or small tins to observe waterfall in a given area.

 DAY 14 AND DAY 28


During the first days of planting grass seed , the seed absorbs water but has not swelled to the point of bursting open. Depending on the variety of grass, germination is not typically visible until at least 8 days, with some varieties taking well over 14 days.

At 14 days, germination is visible with a number of seeds having sprouted. Germination progresses over the next few weeks.



Through day 35-49, the grass continues to thicken across the seeded area. While full establishment for Pennington® Smart Seed™ takes longer than Pennington® 1-Step Complete™, the grass grows beautiful and thick.

Pennington offers specialized variety blends or mixes of Pennington® Smart Seed™. Pennington® Smart Seed™ comes in both traditional variety blends/mixes (Perennial Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue and Fescue/Bluegrass), as well as specialized mixes that are customized to specific regional climates – taking the guesswork out of selection. Varieties include: Sun & Shade, Dense Shade, Northeast, Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Pennsylvania State.

6 thoughts on “Planting Grass Seed, Strategies for Success

  1. Other fine fescue grass varieties such as chewings and hard fescue grass are generally used in lawn mixtures or planted with wildflowers. Again refer to individual seed products for planting rates on these varieties.

  2. I just put down ryegrass in coastal South Carolina. A bit early in the fall, but it promotes faster germination. In my opinion, some golf courses wait too long and get poor germination percentage. The additional heat of early fall vs later really gets the ryegrass going strong quickly.

  3. I am so glad I came across this post. I had a customer share their information about Pennington grass seed. She said it was the best. She gave me the empty bag and I did some reading about the seed. I have recommended it to several customers since. Great stuff Thanks

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