GP lawn seed sowing article

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We instinctively know that the searing heat of summer is over when the night temperatures start to drop. Yes, this heralds the beginning of autumn, which is the true planting season. Besides the amazing seeds, bulbs and seedlings that can be planted for late winter and spring colour, it is also one of the best times to sow tuft-type lawn seed. There may be several reasons for planting lawn seed other than to establish a new lawn. For example, many gardeners plant shade lawn where their current lawn won’t want to grow under trees or in other very shady areas, while others like to thicken their current lawn’s winter coverage by “over-seeding” with a cool season lawn. Runner-type grasses like Kikuyu, Cynodon & LM are better sown in early spring. If you have ever wondered just how easy it is to grow plants from seed, then you just need to try your hand at sowing lawn seed. It will also make you realise how much fun it is to watch something that you planted grow. Because of this, it is a good idea to get the kids involved since they are likely to take great enjoyment out of seeing this miracle of germination and growth occur before their eyes.

  • Dig the soil over to at least a fork’s depth, breaking up any clods and removing the stones – add at least one bag of compost (30dm³), for every 2m x 2m area to be planted – double this if you have poor soil.

  • Add 50g of 2:3:4 planting fertilizer to the soil per square metre – rake or dig it in.

  • Rake the soil, levelling it and holding just a little soil to one side.

  • Sow the seed at the recommended sowing rate. If you sow too thinly when sowing tufted lawns you will end up with patches since they do not have runners to covers the bare patches. A good idea is to half the seed and sow in one direction first and then repeat with the remainder of the seed in the opposite direction in a crisscross fashion. This usually leads to better coverage.

  • Once the seed had been sown evenly either add thin layer of soil over the seed or lightly rake it into the soil. The reason is that if you leave it on the surface it may be eaten by birds and end up growing in patches.

  • Firm the soil down using a roller or by walking over it, try not to leave depressions that can cause puddles to form after watering. This will be harmful to the lawn germination and growth.

  • Gently soak the new sown area. Keep the soil moist by giving it a sprinkle at noon, for about 2 to 3 minutes every day (for the first month while the lawn is establishing). Deeper watering should be done every 3 -4 days for the first month.

  • The seed will germinate in about a week to two weeks.

  • Try to keep heavy traffic off the young lawn for the first month.

  • Once the lawn is established water once or twice a week – as necessary.


Mowing height of the lawn is an essential aspect to consider. If you have a shade lawn the recommended cutting height is 50 – 70mm high, a semi-shade area 40 – 50mm high a full sun lawn about 20 – 40 mm high. Lawn seed for sunny areas:

  • Kikuyu whittet (runner lawn – tough)

  • LM or Berea (runner-type, non-invasive)

  • All Seasons Evergreen

  • Play Mix (traffic tolerant)

  • Evergreen Mix

  • Bermuda (drought tolerant)

Lawns seed for shady areas:

  • Shade-Over

  • Shady- Mix

  • LM or Berea (runner-type, non-invasive)