Planting grass, whether on a bare or established lawn, requires tremendous steps to follow in order to grow it successfully. You might have seen that some people are just throwing grass seeds on their lawn when they are overseeding, but will it grow in this way?
The answer is yes. Grass seeds will grow in your lawn if you just sprinkle them around without performing grass and soil maintenance. However, without proper preparation and soil covering, the seeds have a lower rate of sprouting compared to properly seeded grass.
Also, if you just spread seeds on your lawn, without proper germination, the quality of the grass will not last as it will have trouble establishing its roots, whether in bare soil or on an established lawn.
In this article, we will discuss how to achieve successful grass seed planting. We will also answer whether throwing or sprinkling grass seeds will make them grow on your lawn.
Will Grass Seed Grow If Just Sprinkle Them on the Ground?
Grass seeds are likely to grow if you just sprinkle them on your lawn. However, without proper preparation and soil covering, the seeds have a lower rate of sprouting compared to properly seeded grass. Also, if you just spread seeds on your lawn, grass will have trouble establishing its roots, whether in bare soil or on an established lawn.
Simply put, yes, grass seeds will grow in your lawn if you just sprinkle them around without performing grass maintenance. But even if you have the strongest seeds and they sprouted, there are still disadvantages to doing it this way. Without proper germination, the quality of the grass will be altered because it won’t be rooted and will stop growing.
Here is what you should do to achieve the best results when seeding your lawn:
- If you already have a lawn, mow the grass low.
- Rake the topsoil to loosen it before spreading the grass seeds.
- Spread your grass seeds around your lawn.
- Rake the soil again to mix the seeds into the earth.
- After seeding, add some organic fertilizer and water your grass seeds for them to germinate and grow to maturity.
With this preparation, your grass seeds will successfully sprout and grow healthily. However, if you skip the preparation process, the sprinkled grass seeds are unlikely to perform at their best. One of the reasons why grass seeds will not perform well in unprepared soil is poor soil contact or compacted and hard soil.
If you spread grass seeds in unprepared soil, your lawn is likely to:
- Have lower germination rates, which can result in a low percentage of grass seed growing.
- Discourage birds or other animals from eating the grass seeds you sprinkle on your lawn.
- See grass seeds getting trapped in thatch or the existing grass since they don’t have good contact with the soil, causing them not to sprout.
Due to the low chances of grass seeds growing without any ground preparation, it is also most likely that the money you spent on it will go to waste. Plus, the effort put into spreading the grass seeds that will not grow as expected into the thick lawn will dissipate.
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Steps to Follow for a Successful Grass Growth
Preparing your lawn to successfully cover it with grass seeds and making sure that the seeds will germinate involves easy, inexpensive steps and will give you a greener and thicker lawn. Performing the proper steps and maintaining the grass are the keys to successful grass growth. Here is how to achieve an evergreen lawn.
Step 1: Prepare the Soil
When planting grass seeds, you first have to prepare your soil. If it is prepared perfectly, topsoil doesn’t need to be delivered. The grass seeds will eventually sprout and grow. However, you have to know the pH level of your soil for the grass seeds to thrive. You can perform a soil test or buy a pH test kit to determine the pH level of your soil.
If the soil is not in the ideal pH level range, you have to treat it. If you have an established lawn with some bare spots, soil problems must be the reason for this baldness. Once the pH level is established, it’s time to loosen the ground and aerate it to allow the best root growth for your seeds.
Step 2: Get the Right Type of Grass
Before buying any seeds, you have to know the type of grass you have in your backyard. You can check a climate map to know what type of grass is ideal for your location. When buying grass seeds, make sure to buy the variety best suited to grow in your location. There are two types of grass, warm-season and cool-season grass.
- Grows best in warm, southern, and coastal locations;
- Can also be found through transition zones in the United States where the climate supports warm and cool-season types of grass;
- Performs best when seeded in late spring through early summer;
- Includes Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede, and Buffalo varieties.
- Tolerates lower temperatures and can remain lush when the temperature drops in the fall;
- Cannot tolerate too much heat;
- Performs best when seeded in the spring or fall;
- Includes Fescue, Bluegrass, Bentgrass, and Ryegrass varieties.
Step 3: Seed at the Right Time
To achieve successful seeding, make sure to get a variety of seeds that best performs in your region. Warm-season grass is best seeded in the late spring through early summer. The growth of this type of grass experiences peaks in the summer. Seeding it early allows new grass sprouts to establish on their own before the fall months stop their growth.
Cool-season grass is best seeded in the spring or fall, although some don’t perform well when seeded in the fall. This grass species’ growth starts when the temperatures are brisk following the summer months. The right temperature for seeding your established lawn is integral for its long-term growth.
Step 4: Mow Low
The first thing you have to do before seeding is to mow your grass low to ensure that the seeds you sprinkle reach the earth and don’t get trapped in the existing grass. Also, remove the grass clippings when mowing to make sure that the topsoil is not covered. Your goal is for your grass seeds to get in contact with the soil so they can take root and sprout.
For Fescue, Bluegrass, or St. Augustine varieties of grass, mow the grass to 2 inches. For Bermuda, Centipede, or Zoysia varieties of grass, mow the grass to 1 inch.
Step 5: Rake the Soil
After you’ve mowed your lawn to the desired height, the next step consists of raking the soil. Use a rake with thin metal tines to capture the soil perfectly. This step is also necessary if you are seeding a bare lawn. Raking your soil will break up the compacted and hard soil and allow grass seeds to establish their roots.
When raking an established lawn, bag up the grass clippings or thatch that you have gathered during the process. It is best to remove any items that can prevent seeds from reaching the earth. Debris like thatch, for instance, can reduce the germination of grass seeds. So, as much as possible, remove unwanted debris. If you have a thick thatch, consider dethatching.
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Step 6: Spread the Seeds
When spreading grass seeds in a large yard, consider using a broadcast spreader. For small lawns, use a handheld spreader. Finally, if there are bare spots, you can spread the seeds by hand. This equipment can help you spread the seeds evenly and promote thick and even grass.
In the packaging of your bought grass seeds, you will find suggestions regarding the amount of seeds required per square foot. Use the amount indicated on the packaging, whether you are seeding a bare or an established lawn. Also, seed the lawn in an east-west pattern first, and then, in a north-south pattern to ensure right grass seed coverage.
Step 7: Cover the Seeds
Once you are done seeding, rake the soil again to ensure the coverage of the seeds and encourage good root growth. Grass seeds must be covered with ¼ of soil for if they are buried ½ inch or deeper, they will struggle to sprout. Even after you rake, some of the grass seeds will still be visible, which is okay.
If most of your grass seeds are uncovered with dirt after raking, apply a thin top dressing of grass seeding mulch. In this way, you can protect grass seeds against birds and help maintain the soil moisture after watering.
Step 8: Fertilize Your Seeds
Use a grass starter fertilizer for grass seeds for they thrive best when they are fertilized. Make sure the fertilizer contains phosphorus, as it is essential for root growth, and nitrogen, which is needed for blade growth. You can fertilize your new grasses after you seed them. Feeding them with fertilizer is important in the early stages of grass growth.
Step 9: Water Often
Water is important, especially to your new grass seedlings. They need a lot of water, and most varieties of grass need to be watered at least twice a day for a few weeks. If growing seeds, it is important to keep the soil moist. A lack of water can result in the killing of grass plants due to dehydration or stopping their roots’ development. Grass seedling roots need moist soil to dig and pull nutrients from the earth.
There are many options when starting a lawn. For instance, you can buy grass, or better yet, start planting grass seeds. Planting this kind of plant may seem like an easy and no-brainer task, mainly because grass is a plant that can grow almost anywhere, but if you want to achieve great results, there are a few steps that you need to follow.
While you can just spread grass seeds without much thought on your ground and let them grow, you should consider the steps discussed above to ensure successful grass growth in your lawn. With the aforementioned steps, you can expect lush and new grass that’s worth your money, time, and effort.