Late summer and early fall is the best time to establish a lawn in Maine. The soil is still warm, so seeds have time to germinate before the cold winter weather comes, and weed competition is far less severe than in the spring. With that in mind, here are a few tips for getting the most out of your lawn this season:
Use the highest quality seed you can afford that is suitable to your environmental conditions. Use a broadcast spreader to distribute the seeds evenly over your proposed lawn area, then rake them into the ground to a depth of roughly 1/4". Water is very important at this stage - make sure to keep the area moist without saturating it. Once germination has started, your lawn should be watered when it feels dry to the touch.
We usually think of "mulching" flower beds, but by mulching a new lawn with straw, you can help establish your new grass by protecting the seedbed from direct sunlight and wind. When selecting your straw, just make sure it is clean and free of any weed seeds - one bale will roughly cover 1,000 square feet, and at that rate of application, it will not even need to be removed after germination.
An alternative to seeding, laying down a layer of sod will create an "instant lawn". Sod can be purchased in strips and laid on prepared soil in staggered rows to encourage a knitted-together look. By watering well in the first few weeks, you'll have a fully grown lawn in no time!