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Part Of The American Meadows Clover & Grass Learning Center


Good planning, preparation, and care are all initial investments that will help you reap the long-term benefits of a healthy lawn. Dig in with this helpful guide from American Meadows - the Better Yard Authority.

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Lawns are an essential element of many yards across America, and they provide space to walk, run, and play, while also protecting and enhancing your soil. Our lawn solutions, including no-mow grass, low-growing microclover, and flowering lawn mixes, help you save time, money, and resources - but don't forget that even the most low-maintenance grasses and clovers require a little love to get established. Good planning, preparation, and care are all initial investments that will help you reap the long-term benefits of a healthy lawn. Dig in with this helpful guide!

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PLAN graphic

Plan Your Planting

Whether you're enahcing your lawn, sowing a pasture, or saving your soil with groundcover, good planning is essential. Planning your planting includes determining the best seeds, when to plant, and how much seed to use. 

Right Seeds For The Right Place

It’s important to plant the right seeds in the right growing conditions for the best chance of success. We offer a wide variety of lawn and groundcover seeds available for all conditions, from shade to sun, and all soil types. Be sure to consider your unique growing conditions when selecting the right seeds for your planting project. 

Learn More: How To Choose Grass Seeds

When To Plant Clover, Grass & Groundcover Seeds

When To Plant Seeds In Spring:

  • Plant seeds after your last frost date. Seeds will germinate as soon as your soil temperature has warmed to 55°F or warmer. 
  • If it’s cooler, seeds will lay dormant until there is enough warmth and moisture. If it's warmer than usual, you may need extra watering to encourage seed germination and ensure growth.

When To Plant Seeds In Fall:

  • Plant seeds at least 45+ days before your first frost date to give seedlings enough time to establish their root systems before winter. 

Dormant Winter Planting:

  • In areas that will get a winter freeze, plant after there have been at least 2-3 killing frosts, and soil temperatures are below 55F. You want to avoid a warm snap encouraging seeds to sprout. Seeds will lay dormant over the winter and germinate in spring. 

Check Our Frost Date Chart Here  |  Check Your Soil Temperature Here

How Much Seed Do You Need?

  1. Measure the area where you will plant your seeds and calculate the square footage of your planting area.
  2. Then, reference the seed coverage rates for your seeds. This information is listed under the “Key Features” of every product page.

Seed coverage rates vary greatly with grass and groundcover seeds, depending on the size of the seed. For example, you may need 10 pounds of a large seed to cover 1,000 square feet, but with a small seed you may only need 2 pounds.  

It’s important to plant the recommended amount of seed for the best results. Too little, and your planting will be sparse. Too much, and your seedlings may be crowded, resulting in poor growth.

Expert Tip:

  • If planting on a steep slope, add a nurse crop (a fast-growing annual plant that supports an establishing perennial plant) to your planting
  • Annual rye grass is a popular choice for a nurse crop to help stabilize your soil and prevent erosion while perennial lawn plants mature.
Tilling soil to prepare for planting
PREPARE graphic

Prepare: The Key To Success

The secret to beautiful, even growth is healthy, well-prepared soil. Here are preparation tips for new plantings, as well as for overseeding your lawn.

For a new planting, removing existing growth including grass and weeds before planting can give seedlings a chance to thrive. 

  • You can use hand tools, rototiller, a tractor, solarization/smothering, or organic herbicides to clear your soil of weeds and grasses. 
  • Level the planting area as much as possible to eliminate high or low spots.
  • Know your soil type, and check on your soil health before planting. Healthy, living soil is a prerequisite for most lawns. 
  • If you’re using soil amendments or fertilizer, apply those evenly to your planting area before you sow your seeds.

If you are overseeding your lawn (adding grass or clover seed to a well-established lawn) - it is not necessary to remove growth. However, you still need to prepare your soil for the best results before sowing seed. 

  • Cut your lawn as as short as possible. Then rake the lawn and remove the clippings.
  • You can use a lawn aerater to prepare your lawn for planting, or use a rake or other hand tools to dethatch your lawn and loosen the soil before planting - especially in high traffic areas where soil may be compacted and in patchy areas of thin growth in your lawn. Remember, you want to loosen the soil so that new seedlings can take root.
  • If you’re using soil amendments or fertilizer, apply those evenly to your planting area before you sow your seeds.
  • Favorite seeds for overseeding include Microclover and our No Mow Lawn & Microclover Seed Mix.

Expert Tips For Preparing Soil:

  • Don’t overlook this step! Why? Preparing your site, removing growth, and loosening soil means good seed-to-soil contact for better seed germination, less stress for young seedlings, and better root growth.
  • Once your soil is bare and loose, it is important to plant ASAP. Don’t give the weeds a chance to establish before your seedlings.
  • Learn more about your soil type and soil testing in our guide: How To Improve Your Soil
Tilling soil for a wildflower planting
PLANT graphic

Plant: Sow Your Seeds Like A Pro

Learn how to plant clover, grass, and lawn seeds with this technique from The Seed Man.

  1. Mix seeds with sand. Pour seeds into a bucket, wheelbarrow, or bag with plenty of extra room. Mix in roughly eight parts dry sand to one part seed. (For example: 8 cups sand for 1 cup seed.) Sand helps you spread seeds more evenly, and you'll be able to see where you've sown. Use clean, dry, bagged sand to avoid weed seeds and clumping.
  2. Then, sow seeds in two batches. Separate your seed & sand mixture into two halves. With the first half, walk back and forth across your site from north to south, spreading the seeds as evenly as possible. Then, take the second half and walk east to west, spreading seeds evenly. 
  3. Next, compress your seeds into the soil. This is important to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Compression helps germination, ensures access to moisture and nutrients, prevents wind and water from moving seeds around, and helps anchor root systems.
    • In small spaces, you can use your feet to compress seeds into the soil, either barefoot or in shoes. In larger areas, lay a piece of cardboard or plywood over the sown seeds and walk all over it to evenly compress a larger area. For the largest plantings, use a seed roller walk-behind tool or tractor attachment. 
  4. Water your seeds. If possible, give your seeds a thorough, gentle soaking. (See What To Expect below for more watering tips.)
  5. Leave seeds uncovered. Grass and clover seeds require light to germinate.

Expert Tips For Planting:

  • Ideally mix your seed with clean, dry, bagged sand. Sand stored outdoors often contains wind-blown weed seed, and is often wet, which can cause clumping and uneven distribution. 
  • When sowing seed, do a practice run first. You’ll likely be surprised by how quickly it leaves your hand or the spreader. A test run will help you get comfortable with sowing evenly.
  • The two scenarios where you may cover your seeds are if you are planting on a steep hill or if you’re planting on a site exposed to strong winds. In these cases, we recommend covering seeds with a thin layer of straw (not hay, which has seeds) to will help secure seeds while allowing light through.
Tilling soil for a wildflower planting

Patience: Watering & What To Expect

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." - Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Seedlings will grow quickly when the soil temperature is warm enough, when there is adequate moisture, and when seeds have been sown in properly prepared soil. Less than optimal conditions can slow down germination and growth. 

Watering Your Lawn

Water as needed to keep soil and seedlings moist for the first 4 - 6 weeks. 

At that point, they will be able to absorb groundwater through their roots to grow strong and healthy all on their own. Once your grass has established, (reaching about 4-6 inches tall) you can gradually reduce supplemental irrigation. 

During this time, keep foot traffic and pets away from the developing lawn, until it has reached about 4 inches tall. 

Keep in mind that “drought tolerant” doesn’t always mean “no water needed,” especially in heat waves, dry spells, and in the first year of establishing your new lawn. Rather than watering a little bit a few times a week, giving your lawn a good soaking only as needed encourages deeper root growth and makes for more drought-resistant plants.

What can you do in areas where you cannot water? 

  • Time your planting with rain in the forecast, and sow your seeds on a rainy day. If you're lucky, Mother Nature will step in and provide your plants with some rain, or at least keep the weather mild.
  • Or, plant seeds in fall when you can take advantage of cool temperatures and winter precipitation.
  • Seeds will lay dormant until they have enough moisture to germinate, so lack of moisture can slow down germination. Be patient - at some point, you should have enough rain or precipitation to germinate your seeds.
  • In the heat of the summer, if you can’t water, you may see reduced growth and germination.

Expert Tips For Watering:

  • In hot, sunny, or dry weather, you must water your new planting. Give a thorough watering in the morning before a hot day, and also give a thorough watering the morning after a hot day.
  • A sprinkler is an easy way to water your planting evenly.

What To Expect While Your Seedlings Grow

This will vary depending on the season and your climate.

Spring & Fall Planting

As long as the soil is warm, and there is enough sunlight and moisture, you'll begin to see growth appear in about 1-2 weeks.

Dormant Winter Planting

Seeds will lay dormant over the winter. Then, in spring, seeds will germinate as soon as your soil temperature has warmed to 55°F or warmer. 

The Lifecycle Of Your Lawn

Warm season grasses will grow best in summer, with a dormancy period in cooler temperatures. Cool season grasses will grow best in spring and fall, and typically go dormant in the peak of summer heat.

Grass Type Preferred Growing Temperatures Examples
Warm Season Grass 75-90°F Blue Grama Grass, Switchgrass, Buffalo Grass, Little Bluestem Grass
Cool Season Grass 60-75°F Fine Fescue Grass, Rye Grass, Timothy Grass, Orchard Grass, Ricegrass
Clover & Lawn Mixes 60-75°F White Clover, Microclover, and our No-Mow Lawn Mixes


Remember Plant Lifecycles

  • Annuals have a one year lifecycle, and are typically reseeded each year. 
  • Perennials live for many years, returning year after year from the same root system. 
  • What type of plants are you growing? See “Life Cycle” on the product page under "Key Features" to review the lifecycle of your seeds. 

What About Weeds?

With good preparation and sowing the proper amount of seeds, you should avoid seeding too many weeds in your yard.

If you do identify a weed, you can gently pull it up from the ground, careful not to disturb surrounding plants or seedlings. Or, cut it back before it goes to seed. Just lean in and snip as low down on the weed plant as you can. A few passes with of weed patrol every week or two will greatly reduce the threat of weeds.

Expert Tips For Weeding:

  • Research and learn about your local weeds at every stage of growth. Getting to know what they look like as seedlings, adolescent, and adult plants will make it easier to spot them within your plantings – so you can pull them whenever you see them.
  • Try using a plant identification app to learn more about the plants growing in your yard and your neighborhood.

Lawn Mowing Tips

To mow or not to mow? That’s always a question!

No-Mow Tips

We're all about rethinking the traditional America Lawn. If you want to say goodbye to your lawn mower, and take back hours of time on your weekends, we're all for it! Reducing your mowing helps save time, save resources, helps keep your lawn more drought tolerant, and can even keep your yard cooler. Plus, you reduce noise pollution and make your yard friendlier to birds and pollinators. Sounds like a win!

  • Clover and Microclover lawns, our exclusive No-Mow Lawn mixes, Low Work and Water Grass, and our exclusive Flowering Lawn Seed Mixes do not need to be mowed.
  • If you are growing one of the lawns mentioned above, you may choose to do occasional mowing in spring and fall when the grasses are growing most quickly. 

Pro-Mow Tips

  • Need to keep your lawn short for the HOA or the local soccer team? We get it! Mowing grasses encourages thicker growth and gives a traditional look of a turf lawn. Here are tips for mowing that will keep your lawn thriving.
  • When to mow your new lawn: Once your lawn has grown to over 4 inches tall, it can be mowed. 
  • Pro Tip: Mowing 3-4 inches high is best. Keeping your grass on the taller side, rather than scalping it to less than 3 inches tall, has many benefits. This will help reduce weeds by shading out weed seedlings, reduce the need to water by keeping the soil cool and moist, and keep your lawn more lush and green for a softer, more attractive yard..
  • Avoid mowing your lawn too frequently or mowing it too low. Too much mowing leads to scalping, which will weaken your lawn, dry out the plants and the soil, and invite weeds to grow. Remember, grass is a plant that photosynthesizes - chopping it too short means it can't feed its root system to grow strong, green, and dense.
  • Adjust your mowing schedule based on your lawn’s growth. Dryer, hotter conditions will slow the growth of cool season lawns, while cooler conditions will slow the growth of warm season lawns. 
  • Microclover lawns perform best when they are “trained” or mowed 2-3 times to establish their more compact form. Once they’ve been trained, they will maintain their smaller growth. Learn More: All About Microclover

For more information about long-term care for your grass, lawn & groundcovers - see our helpful guide:

Tilling soil for a wildflower planting

Purpose: Make The Most Of Your Lawn

Meadowscaping makes it better: better for you, better for your community, and better for our world.

At American Meadows, we believe that Meadowscaping Makes It Better - For You, Your Community, and Our World. Lawns are such a common feature in American homes because they are well suited to heavy traffic from people, playing kids, and active pets. With the right plants and mindful maintenance, they can also be part of a healthy yard, too. 

If you’re growing a lawn, there’s a good chance you love spending time outside enjoying your outdoor space. Our grasses and groundcovers will help you create a soft green lawn as the perfect place for picnics, games, sunbathing, and everything in between.

How can your yard support a better community and a better world? Our lawns, grasses, and groundcover mixes are designed to reduce or eliminate your need for using water, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides, so you can help contribute to a safe, healthy ecosystem in your community. 

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We’re here to help you every step of the way in creating the yard, lawn, or meadow of your dreams.

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