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How to Grow Grass From Seed

If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to create a lush, green lawn at home, growing grass from seed is the way to go. It can be tricky to get started with grass planting if you’re not sure what to do, but with a little preparation and care, you can have a beautiful new lawn in no time! This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about how to grow grass from seed, including when to sow, how much water to give it, and how long it will take for your lawn to be fully established.

how to grow grass from seed

Preparing Your Lawn for Grass Seed

The first step to grow grass from seed is to prepare your lawn. This involves making sure the soil is loose and free of any weeds or debris. You can do this by raking the area thoroughly, then using a hoe or tiller to loosen the top layer of soil. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to select and plant your grass seed.

Note: If you intend on installing a sprinkler system or making repairs to an existing system doing so before this step is recommended.

What Type of Grass Seed Should I Plant?

Planting the appropriate type of grass seed for your location and weather conditions will give your new grass seed a distinct natural advantage. Some common types of grass are fescue, St. Augustine, Bermuda grass, and Kentucky bluegrass. Keep in mind some grasses are considered cool-season grasses while others are considered warm-season grasses. If you are unsure what the best type of grass is for your area, ask the staff at your local garden center for tips. They will be able to recommend the best seed for your local conditions.  Or check out this map to get you started. Buying the correct grass seed will make a difference in how much seed you will need and help ensure your success.

How Much Grass Seed Will I Need?

The first step to growing grass from seed is knowing how much seed you need.  To calculate the amount of seed you’ll need to simply multiply the length times the width to come up with a total area in square feet that you want to plant your grass seed. The biggest mistake many people make is to miscalculate the size of their lawn. Spend the time upfront to correctly measure your lawn space before you invest in expensive grass seed.  Knowing the correct dimensions will save you money from buying too much grass seed, save you wasted time and labor, and save you from the disappointment of poor results.

when to plant grass seed

When to Plant Grass Seed

Once you’ve prepared your lawn, selected your seed variety, and determined the amount of grass seed you’ll need, it’s time to sow! The best time of year to plant grass seeds is in the fall or spring. This is because the temperatures are milder and there is typically more rainfall during these seasons, which helps with grass seed germination. Most seed bags will recommend a range such as 200-400 square feet per pound of grass seed. I recommend using the highest seed range per square foot for new lawns to ensure the highest coverage and the highest chances of germination.

When seeding your new lawn take care to ensure you evenly distribute the seed throughout the entire lawn.  Using a seed spreader will scatter the seed over a large area in a fan-like pattern and ensure you get uniform coverage while also being much quicker and more efficient than hand spreading. 

How often to water grass seed

How Often to Water Your New Grass Seeds

We’ve tackled how to grow grass from seed, but how much are you supposed to water those seedlings? Once the seed has been scattered, it’s time to water!  Water new seeds immediately after spreading. This is imperative to kickstart the germination process and to help prevent the seeds from blowing away in the wind.  

Your specific lawn conditions such as shaded areas and areas that may receive excessive sunlight can make it difficult to determine a single watering amount for your new grass seeds.   

Grass seeds need to be kept moist for them to germinate and grow. Depending on the weather conditions, you may need to water your lawn multiple times a day. Be sure to check the soil regularly and never let the top two inches of soil dry out. It is generally recommended to conduct multiple shorter watering sessions than to conduct one large watering session.  Skipping even one watering session could lead to problems with germination. Miss several in a row and your grass seed probably won’t make it.  

Best Strategies for Watering New Grass Seed

Watering grass seed in the morning and afternoon is the best strategy. When watering at these times, the seed will be best protected from drying out since it is most susceptible during these times. Avoid watering your new grass seeds in the evening The lack of sun and falling temperatures will cause the soil to retain water and pose a greater risk of mold or fungus development. If you are short on time you can always set a timer on your irrigation system to ease the burden of lawn care.

You may also be interested in learning how to grow a bucket garden

How to Know When You are Overwatering

Just as too little water can kill fresh grass seed, too much water can be just as detrimental. The most common signs of overwatering include puddles and soil that is slow to drain. Pay close attention to the weather when preparing to plant grass seeds because heavy rain can be detrimental to the survival of your grass.  Overwatering can also displace the seeds, especially early on before they have had a chance to sprout roots. I see this happen particularly often on slopes. Grass seed is so light that it takes only a tiny bit of running water on the ground’s surface to carry it away.  If you happen to overwater and grass seed floats away from its intended location it will likely leave you with bare patches of soil where the seed completely floated away.

Another common occurrence with overwatering is that it creates an ideal environment for mold and fungi to thrive and take hold.  New grass seeds are not yet hardy and are especially prone to damage from molds and fungi. 

The quality of your soil also plays a big role in how quickly water evaporates and how often you will have to water your grass seeds. If you have sandy soil, the soil will dry out much faster than other soil types. For example, clay soil retains its soil moisture better. Amending the soil with some form of organic matter during the preparation phase seed may help in reducing the amount of water your grass seeds will need to germinate.

When to Stop Watering New Grass Seed

Your new grass seedlings won’t require 2-3 waterings per day forever.  A good strategy is to switch to watering every other day once it becomes established grass at 1-2 inches tall. 

After the grass is at mowing length (2-3 inches), you can then transition the frequency of watering to once or twice per week. You may have to play around with the watering schedule to determine what is best for your climate and the type of grass you’ve chosen. 

Wrapping Up

Now you know what it takes to grow grass from seed. Remember, the key to success when planting grass seed is in the preparation, care, and attention you give your new lawn from seed.  With a little time and effort, you can have a beautiful, healthy lawn you can be proud of. Thanks for reading! I hope this article was helpful.

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