June 10, 2022


By Marco Hernandez

The following instructions are for establishing a new lawn. 

What you’ll need:

  • Bag of Swell Seed Co seed
  • Seed Spreader (drop or broadcast)
  • Rake and/or soil tiller
  • Sprinkler (lawn or in-ground system)
  • Roller or feet for stomping
  • Mulch (such as shredded straw)
  • Fertilizer

When to plant: Planting in the correct season ensures proper germination and strong establishment. Ideally, plant at the beginning of the rainiest season to limit supplemental moisture.

  • Northern ½ of the U.S. (cool-season states): Plant in the spring or early fall. In the spring, be sure to plant after the last frost and in the fall, plant at least 6-8 weeks before the first frost.
  • Southern ½ of the U.S. (warm-season states): Plant in the spring or early summer before the warmest months. This period provides warm soil temperatures and higher daytime temperatures that are ideal for the seeds to germinate.

Clear the area: Remove roots, stumps, sod, existing plants, and anything in the soil that will compete with the seeds for sunlight, water, and nutrients. Be sure to start this process a few weeks ahead of time - clearing the area may require more than one attempt.

Work & smooth out the soil: Till or rake to smooth out and level the area. Rake until soil particles are between the size of a marble and a pea. Till to a depth of 4-6 inches. It is important to till/rake right before seeding so the soil is easy to work with and not crusty.

Seed spreader: Calibrate according to the spreader instructions and seeding rate. Make adjustments while seeding if needed. A slower setting is better since you can always go over the area again but if the setting is too fast you may run out of seed before covering the entire area.

Planting Instructions:

  1. Divide the seed into 2 equal parts. Spread the first ½ of the seed in a north-south pattern and the second ½ in an east-west pattern for uniform coverage.
  2. Incorporate the seed into the soil to ensure proper seed to soil contact:
    • Lightly rake the seeded area no deeper than ¼ inch. You should be able to see about 10% of the seed.
    • For larger areas, firm the raked soil with a roller and for smaller areas or spot seeding, firm the soil by stepping on it. * If you rake or firm the soil too much, the seed will be too deep to receive any sunlight or moisture and may not germinate properly.
    • Add a thin layer of mulch over the area you planted to prevent from drying out between watering. Only add enough so you can still see the seedbed through the straw.
  3. Water! Keep the area moist until seeds begin to germinate (or in this case, Swell). Ideally, water with a sprinkler 3 times a day for 10 minutes at a time. Once the seed has germinated and reached about 2 inches tall, reduce watering. If it rains during germination, nice timing! Keep an eye on the soil to ensure it stays moist and water as needed.
  4. Germination time varies by species. Overall, expect germination to take between 1-4 weeks, with full establishment taking up to 10 weeks.
  5. While seedlings establish, keep traffic to a minimum to ensure a strong root system develops.
  6. Mow for the first time when the grass reaches a mowing height of 3 inches. Only remove the top 1/3 of the grass (about 1 inch).
  7. Begin fertilizing 4-6 weeks after germination, following instructions specific to the fertilizer you use.
  8. For more recommendations to keep your newly planted lawn looking Swell, refer to the Future Care guide. 
  9. Worried you may have missed some spots while seeding? Set aside a small amount of seed and use it to go over any bare areas once your lawn begins to establish. In no time at all, those bare spots will blend in with the rest of your establishing lawn.