Are you putting in a new lawn? Do you have spots in your lawn that need to be replanted? If so, the best method for great results is to cover the seeds after you plant them. Here, we are going to talk about planting grass seed as well as covering it after it is sown.
You might not realize that there are a number of options out there that you can consider when it comes to choosing a medium to cover grass seed with. Which one is best for you? That’s the goal here, so keep reading to learn more.
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Will Grass Seed Grow if Not Covered?
Before we start talking about the best options to cover grass seed, we first want to talk about what happens if you choose not to cover the seed at all. Will it even grow?
Yes, grass seeds will grow if not covered, but there are so many benefits to choosing to cover the seeds.
When the grass seed is left to its own devices without any covering, it is very likely that it will be eaten by birds and other critters. Though not every single seed will get gobbled up, many will, so you shouldn’t expect a full, lush lawn if you choose not to put a covering on it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that putting cover on the grass seeds help them to germinate. It helps to keep the seeds warm, as many people sow grass in the spring when it still might be cold. Additionally, it helps to keep the seed moist as it slows the evaporation of water.
So, yes, grass seed will grow if you don’t cover it, but it’s definitely best to choose a medium to place over your grass seeds for the best results. Let’s take a look at some options:
5 Options to Cover Grass Seed
The most commonly used option to cover new grass seed with is straw. There are a number of reasons for this, but most people say that they choose straw because it is cheap and easy to find, no matter where you live.
Though straw is a great option, there are some types of straw, like pine straw, which can contain chemicals that may affect plant growth. Other types of straw might have a lot of seeds, which can promote the growth of weeds.
Wheat, oat, and barley are all good options if you want to choose a specific straw type. Though we will talk about how to cover new grass seed, it’s always good to remember that you only need a light covering when you use straw.
Another good option for covering new grass seed is to use mulch. The nice thing about mulch is that it is often comes with a fertilizer contained within. This helps your new grass grow very well.
Mulch is also perfect for keeping moisture locked in, so if you are in an area that tends to have dry conditions, much might be a great option. Just keep in mind that the mulch must be spread pretty thin, and it can get expensive if you buy it. So, choose a mulch that is free or cheap!
Compost is another option for covering new grass seeds. First, it is very environmentally friendly, so if you are concerned about being green or organic, compost is the best option.
You can make your own compost by using things like grass clippings, kitchen scraps, wood chips, leaves, or other organic materials you might have in your home or property.
Just keep in mind that you should pull out all of the big pieces, as it can stop nutrients from getting to the seeds.
You can easily do this by sifting the moss through a screen before you apply it to the grass. This pulls out all of the pieces that have not fully decomposed. Then, just put those pieces back into your compost bin.
Again, you want to make sure that you are applying the compost thinly over the top of your grass seed. In this case, only about a quarter of an inch is all you need.
If you want to create a sort of “greenhouse” effect for your grass seeds, you can consider placing a sheet of plastic over the soil once you sow the seeds. You should choose a sheet of plastic that is clear, because you want to sun to shine through.
If you choose a sheet that is black, it could get too hot. Also, make sure that you have some air flow under the sheet. You additionally must weigh it down with large rocks or other heavy items so that it doesn’t blow away.
As soon as you begin to see the seeds sprouting under the plastic, you should remove it and allow the seeds to grow naturally.
The fifth option we recommend is saw dust. For some, this is a free product that you can use to cover your grass seed. It protects the seed, and it gives it a safe place to grow into a seedling.
The one caveat of using sawdust is that it has a tendency to leech the nitrogen out of the soil. Your seedlings will need nitrogen, so you might want to consider adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to the soil.
How to Cover New Grass Seed
Planting and covering new grass seed is very easy, but there are a few things you want to keep in mind in order to get the best results.
First, before you even sow the seeds, look around the area and remove any large rocks or other debris. The ideal place for new grass seeds is in soil that is broken up into small pieces, similar to that of a marble. You should also make sure it’s even.
Once the soil is perfect, you can then spread the seed. Make sure that you do it evenly, as you don’t want any areas of your yard to look “grassier” than the others.
While spreading the seed, if you are going to fertilize the area, this is the time to do that, too. Most fertilizers made for grass have directions on the container on how to apply it, so make sure to follow that, too.
When you are ready, water the newly sown seeds well, and then water the area thoroughly. You don’t want to flood the soil, but it should have enough water so that it looks moist….but not muddy.
Finally, you will take your chosen medium and spread it over the top of the seedlings. Remember, you want to make sure that the cover is thin, yet thick enough to protect the seeds. You should see seedlings popping up a few days after you plant.
Here, we have shown you the best options for covering new grass seed. From straw and sawdust to compost, mulch, or even plastic, there are options for everyone, no matter where you live or what you want to achieve.
Though you can certainly grow grass without covering it, we have shown you why it’s beneficial to put in the extra effort with one of these options, especially if you want a full, lush lawn.