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Prepping ground for lawn seed

New to the forum and pretty much a gardening neophyte as well. Ok, I've killed a fair few house plants (moth orchids usually) and kept the contents of a few pots alive before, but I've never had a garden of my own. 

I've now got a small garden that had way too many trees, bushes etc. Think Brazilian rainforest in a window box and you kind of get the picture. Anyway, I've taken three trees down (discovering a purplish, lanky, poor looking cordyline in the process), removed a few dead things and saved (i think) a couple of small, hedgey bush type things, a rose of some description and (hopefully) an apple tree. I've got the fence fixed (new posts, lick of paint) and have dug the garden over and raked it out in preparation for seeding (I'll maybe need a bit of top soil delivered to get levels that are workable for a new lawn) which I'll repeat a few times to get it nice and flat.

My questions are (got there eventually) as follows;

Should I just wait until around September before seeding as I've probably missed the Spring window?

Is it worthwhile digging in some multi purpose compost now (soil is mostly a decent loamy type) as the ground was previously covered in artificial turf? I'll give it a good feed before seeding also.

With the apple tree overhanging what will be my lawn, if i seed now i only have apple blossom too contend with but if i leave it till September-ish I'll have windfall to deal with which will (i think) be more problematic to establishing growth.

Any advice, insight, opinions (or cheek) welcome. Thanks.  Hopefully I've put this in the correct section. :smile:

I'm in South West Scotland btw.


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,320
    I’d go with a September sowing. The ground will have had time to warm up, the weed seeds will have shown themselves and you will have had plenty time to get the site as flat as a billiard table.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,982
    I'd go for it. Plenty of rain still to come, and if it's anything like it is here, the temps won't be really warm enough for a couple of weeks for germination anyway, so it gives you time to get the soil really well prepped and levelled. A general feed is ideal - blood, fish and bone or similar. If the soil's in good nick, you don't need to add any compost, but you can make your own judgement on that. 

    I created a new lawn in this garden three years ago - in late June. I never watered it - the sky did that for me   ;)
    Lush and green within a few weeks. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Garden noobGarden noob Posts: 260
    I would favour September sowing too. Try to keep the windfalls off the ground, but you can reseed any patches in the Spring.

    Re digging in soil conditioners etc, it depends on what you're aiming for. If you just want a "normal" lawn, the soil is probably okay as it is (and you can top dress and fertilise after the lawn is established). If you're aiming for an impressive ornamental lawn, maybe it's worth the investment of time/money up front.

    If you choose to seed now, make sure you use a sprinkler regularly while the lawn establishes. You can kick-start the germination by mixing the seed with sharp sand and wetting it, then leaving it in a bucket for three days. Make sure it stays damp. When you come to sow the seed, you can mix it with dry sharp sand or compost/topsoil to help it spread better. This process makes sure the seed stays damp during the crucial germination stage (hard to achieve in the hot weather), increasing the germination rate.
  • Thanks for the advice folks.

    I agree about the temp Fairygirl, but on balance I think I'll just keep on digging the soil over and raking it out for now. That should ensure its well broken up and had a chance to breath after being covered for so long.
    I've worked out I can reach all the areas that will be seeded with my rake, so windfall shouldn't be an issue if i keep on top of things. 

    Thanks again. :smile: 
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