Preparing the soil for your seeds means using a garden rake.

What Kind of Rake to Use for Grass Seed?

by Rob Harris

Planting grass seed to start a new lawn or fill in bald spots helps you get a thick, full lawn that's soft enough for your kids to run barefoot across. Starting out with the right tools makes seeding the areas faster and easier. Use two kinds of rake when getting your grass started.

1. Clearing the Area

When planting grass seed, you must clear the area of weeds and other obstacles, such as rocks and sticks. A ground rake, also called a garden rake, has short metal teeth designed to dig into the dirt. This grips down to the roots of weeds, helping you pull them from the soil. A garden rake also brings up rocks buried just beneath the soil's surface. It helps you collect the rocks and sticks into neat piles for easy collection.

2. Preparing the Soil

The soil should be slightly loose before you spread grass seed so the seed can sink beneath the surface and germinate easily. After removing weeds and rocks, pull a garden rake over the soil to help even it out. The rake's tines catch enough soil to pull it from high areas into low areas. A flat surface gives you a more attractive lawn when the grass germinates. Pulling the garden rake across the soil also loosens the soil, creating small ridges to help catch the seeds when you spread them. If you spread fertilizer over the soil before adding the seeds, going over the soil with a garden rake helps mix the fertilizer in.

3. After Seeding

After seeding, you need to cover the seeds with a light layer of soil to help them germinate. Use a different rake for this task: a plastic leaf rake. These rakes have long, flexible tines in a fan shape. These are the type you usually use to rake up fallen leaves. Turn the rake over so the ends of the tines point up, then pull the rake across the newly spread grass seed, applying gentle pressure to the handle. This helps push the seeds into the loosened soil without pulling them out of place, which could lead to clumps, bare spots and an uneven lawn.

4. The Right Rake for You

Look for lightweight rakes -- of either type -- that have a cushioned handle and are the proper length. Although rakes often have handles longer than you need, some rakes, such as shrub rakes, have the same tines as longer rakes built on shorter handles. This can decrease the weight and give you a better grip. The shorter rakes also work better for kids so you can put them to work helping you seed the lawn. Aluminum handles tend to be lighter than wooden ones, keeping your arms from getting too tired before you finish the job. Some rakes also have cushions strategically placed on the handle to give you a better grip and keep blisters from forming as you work.

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