How to Plant Grass Seed - Backyard Boss
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How to Plant Grass Seed

Keeping a healthy-looking lawn is a simple process as long as you use the proper techniques and make sure the conditions are right. By understanding how grass seed works and how you have to plant it, you can be sure that your lawn will stay lush and full all year long.

In this article, we’ve laid out all the different ways to plant grass seed and give it the best chance for growth. Maintaining a healthy lawn isn’t only a way to keep your home looking attractive, but it can also be good for the environment and the wildlife in and around your yard.

What Temperature Does Grass Seed Germinate?

Lawn in front of House
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Grass seed needs to germinate to completely root down into the soil and stay there. If grass seeds don’t properly germinate, they won’t establish strong roots. The first time you mow your lawn, you’ll just rip the sprouts out of the soil. For grass seeds to sprout correctly, they have to be grown at the right temperature.

Grass seed germinates when it’s planted at temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You can check this using a soil thermometer to make sure the temperature is correct at the time of planting. Because of this, the best moment to plant grass seed is from early to mid fall. If you must plant grass seed in cooler temperatures, you can cover it with a light mulch to keep some of the warmth insulated in the soil.

How to Grow Grass First on Dirt

Holding piece of sod
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If you want to grow grass on dirt patches before you lay out the lawn, you can make your sod quite easily. All you need to do is set up trays and fill them with soil. Use a mix of ⅓ vermiculite, ⅓ topsoil, and ⅓ peat moss. This will give you enough moisture and nutrients for the dirt to feed the grass seedlings. Pack the mixture into the trays generously, so they can be easily removed when you want to install them.

Sprinkle the grass seed on top of the mixture generously, then add another ¼” of topsoil. Keep the sod trays watered and let them grow for six to eight weeks. This will give the grass enough time to develop a root system and hold the pieces of sod together, so they can be removed and planted. Lay the sod where you want it and water it every day for two weeks to allow the pieces to establish roots.

How to Seed a Lawn From Scratch


Closeup Grass with White Background
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Step 1: Test the Soil

Before planting grass seed, you should test the pH of the soil. Grass grows best at a pH between 6.2 and 7. If your soil isn’t in this pH range, you can buy a soil treatment that can help you get it to the proper acidity for growing grass seed.

Step 2: Plant the Seed

To plant your grass seeds, you can choose to either hand-seed them or use a seeder. Seeders will either spread the seeds out as you turn a crank or drop them directly below. If you’re seeding a small area, a drop seeder is your best bet as it will be easy to maneuver and place the seed where you want. After you lay out the seed, rake the soil gently to get the best soil-to-seed contact possible.

Step 3: Fertilize the Soil

Use a lawn-starter fertilizer to give your seeds a leg up with their growth. Check any fertilizer that you choose to make sure it doesn’t contain too much phosphorus. Large amounts of phosphorus can be harmful to surrounding plant life and can do more harm than good.

Step 4: Water and Wait

You will want to keep the top ½” of soil as moist as possible while you wait for your grass to grow. This means regularly watering and making sure you aren’t losing water if your lawn is sloped. In general, it’ll take between one and three weeks before you start to see grass sprouting.

How to Plant Grass Seed on an Existing Lawn

Close photo of green grass
Image Credits: Photo by Ochir-Erdene Oyunmedeg on Unsplash

If your existing lawn has bald patches or areas where the grass has gotten thin, you can seed it to fill in those areas. Be sure to choose a grass that is similar to the one your lawn is already made up of, so you can properly care for all the grass in the same way.

Just like with planting a new lawn, you can either plant the seed by hand or by using a seeder. The important thing is to use a method that you can efficiently and accurately use to determine where you’re planting the seed. After you have spread your seed, cover the area with a small amount of topsoil to promote healthy growth.

How to Plant Grass Seed on Hard Dirt

Green grass field under blue sky
Image Credits: Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

If you have hard dirt in your yard, you’ll have to do a few things to treat it and get it prepared. First, do is a soil test to make sure it’s at the correct pH for grass to grow. Then, aerate the soil by moistening it to loosen it up and tilling it with a rake. Once you have tilled the soil, mix it with fertilizer to create a healthy environment for the seed.

Plant seeds that are suitable for use with hard dirt. There is a wide variety of grass seeds available on the market and there are many that are specially developed for this type of situation. Water the area every day and watch it for one to three weeks to make sure the grass is sprouting and germinating like it’s supposed to be.

Planting Grass Seed for a Full, Healthy Lawn

Planting grass seed is a simple process, but it requires quite a bit of care and planning if it’s going to be successful. By taking the time to properly test and treat the soil, you can create the ideal environment for a full lawn that will be healthy enough to stay alive and green in wet or dry conditions. The key is proper preparation and regular maintenance no matter what type of grass you’re growing.

Have you planted your grass seed and have some of your tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments below!