How to Grow Grass

Hannah Mitchell

July 30, 2021

Looking to incorporate fresh green grass into your Gainesville landscape design? We've compiled all our pro tips to guide you through the process of establishing a healthy lawn. Learn what grass to use for our Florida climate, what seasons to grow in, and how to maintain and care for your new lawn. Growing grass in Florida can take a bit effort, but the results are worth it!  

Planting grass seed in Florida

What type of grass?

The first question you want to answer for your lawn is which type of grass to plant. Different types of grass also accomplish different things and can look slightly different. A popular option is St. Augustine grass, drought-resistant and pretty in color. Bahiagrass is another popular, low-maintenance choice, requiring very little water. Bermudagrass, Zoysia, and Floratam (developed scientifically to repel pests) are other grass varieties to consider. Another option to help you determine which grass variety is best for your yard is to test and amend your soil. You can do this at home with a testing kit, or by taking a sample to IFAS at the University of Florida, where they will test it for you. If you are already set on starting a lawn from grass seed, save yourself some time: IFAS says Bahiagrass and Bermudagrass are generally the best choices for grass seed.  

What type of planting?

Speaking of grass seed, there are generally three options to choose from when planting grass: grass seed, plugs, or sod. Seed costs much less than other options, but can be more difficult and takes longer to grow. Sod is large  "sheets" or sections of grass, and grass plugs are small sections of grass and roots that can be taken from sod sections, or grown individually.  

When should I plant?

Grasses in Florida perform better when installed during warmer temperatures. Generally, mid to late May will be the best time to lay new sod, and late spring and early fall will be the best times to plant new grass seed. If that's the option you're leaning towards, it's the perfect time to start selecting your seed and preparing your yard!  

Grass seed

While your grass will never typically stop growing, growth will slow down in the winter, whenever the temperature drops to 50¬∞F and below. Freezes in our area don't typically last very long, so the majority of your grass will bounce back and continue to grow once conditions improve.  

How do I prepare my soil?

After testing your soil if desired, remove any weeds, rocks, dead grasses, or old sod. Level out the ground with a rake, and consider installing an automatic sprinkler/irrigation system if you don't have one already. If you test your soil and find it needs to be amended or fertilized, talk to the friendly professionals at LawnMore for advice on which specific fertilizer will be best for your yard, and when in the planting process to fertilize.  

How do I plant the grass?

For plugs or sod, water regularly and don't mow until the grass is firmly rooted. Avoid walking on new sod or plugs, and don't fertilize new plugs until they've filled in and grown together. If using sod, lay it within 24 hours of delivery, lightly watering the soil beforehand. Fit the squares tightly together in a staggered manner, cutting them as needed. Putting in sod can be complicated sometimes, so if you ever want a hand, call LawnMore to fulfill all your sod installation needs. Water the sod often, but lightly, to keep the soil moist. You can water less once sod is firmly rooted.  

Installing sod

If you're planting grass seed, use a seed spreader to cover the soil with seeds. Seed in every direction and go over the soil multiple times, to make sure you don't miss any spots. When finished, cover the seeds with a little soil, and water with a light drizzle, to prevent displacement. Water daily to keep the seeds moist until germination. You can find out more about how long this process will take on the label of your seed bag.  

Grass seed ready to plant

How do I maintain my lawn?

Once your grass is established and growing, it will need a regular watering schedule. An automatic sprinkler system is a great way to make sure you don't overwater your lawn, which wastes money and water, and potentially harms your grass. Continue to avoid walking on the grass while it finishes establishing roots.  

Sprinkler in action

Eventually, it will be time to mow your new grass. Be careful mowing the first few times, and keep your mower blade sharp, so as not to tear up the young plants. Once you've started mowing, you can reduce watering. Talk to the experts at LawnMore for advice on how and when to mow the exact type of grass you have, or let them take the mowing and fertilizing off your hands with expert, customized lawn maintenance.  Whatever options you choose, whether it's do-it-yourself, or professional installation and maintenance; sod and plugs, or grass seed, following these tips will help you through the process of growing grass so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautiful new lawn, year-round!

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