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How To Grow Grass & Groundcover Seeds

How To Grow Grass and Groundcover Seeds - Chewings Fescue

Create a low-maintenance lawn, add nutrients to enrich your soil, and prevent erosion by planting grass and groundcover seeds. Planting grasses and groundcovers to protect your soil is an integral step toward a thriving landscape for home lawns and gardens, meadows, and farms, orchards, apiaries, or other agricultural settings. Follow this guide to grow with confidence! 

Here's what we'll cover:


Getting Started: When To Plant Grass & Groundcovers

When To Plant Microclover

In spring, you can sow Microclover as early as two weeks before your last frost date. In fall, sow at least 8 weeks prior to your first average frost date, so that perennial clover plants have time to establish root systems before freezes hit. Clover prefers cooler temperatures for germination and growth, so avoid planting at the hottest time of year.

Learn more about planting Microclover: How To Grow Microclover: The Secret To A Self-Sustaining Lawn


When To Plant Grass & Groundcover Seed

For planting in spring, the ideal time to plant is once temperatures have reached a consistent 60F and there is no more danger of frost. Spring planting is also typically best for warm season grasses.

  • Grass can be planted through the end of July, but no later.
  • If you're planting and it's warmer than usual, or just during the heat of the summer, be sure to increase irrigation so that soil stays moist consistently, to encourage seed germination and ensure growth.

Fall planting is also an option. Planting in fall allows you to take advantage of cooler temperatures and natural precipitation. This is typically better for cool season grasses and large plantings that may otherwise be difficult to water.

  • In warm regions with hot summers and without winter freeze, planting in the fall offers cooler temperatures, helping to reduce watering needs and giving plants less stress at their start.
  • In areas that will get a winter freeze, plant after there have been a few killing frosts, and after soil temperatures are below 55F. Seeds will lie dormant until the spring when soil temperatures warm, and they will have a head start on growth. 


When To Plant Cover Crops and "Green Manure"

If you’re planting grasses, legumes, or clover as a cover crop, or "green manure" to replenish nutrients, suppress weeds, or stabilize your soil, we recommend planting in early to mid-fall.

  • Let the plants grow until frost.
  • Come spring, mow your cover crop before it goes to seed. Then till the soil.
  • Wait 3-6 weeks before planting new crops.

Learn more about planting Cover Crops: Green Manures & Cover Crops - Plants That Give Back

Planting Rates: How Much Seed Do I Need?  

It's important to use the recommended amount of seed for your planting - using too much can cause plants to become crowded and can prevent successful growth. To see planting rates for each individual seed variety, check the "Plant Details" section on each product page. Planting rates vary greatly depending on the size of the seed - for example, to cover 1,000 square feet with a larger seed, you may need only 10lbs, whereas with a small seed, you may only need 2lbs.

If you’re unsure of how much seed to use in your area, please contact us for advice. 

Preparing Your Site For Planting Grass & Groundcover Seeds

  • We recommend leveling the planting area as much as possible to eliminate high or low spots.
  • Till the soil if possible about 4-6 inches deep, as the soil should be loose and clump-free before planting.
  • If your area is already somewhat bare and even, we recommend skipping the tilling process, as it can promote new weed growth or unwanted grass growth.
  • You can then add a product to help aerate your soil to improve seed germination, but this is not necessary.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Planting Grass & Groundcover Seeds

  1. After your soil is prepared, apply the seed at the recommended rate.  To make sure you’re spreading the seed evenly, scatter 1/2 of the seed walking North to South and 1/2 of the seed walking East to West.
  2. If you have poor soil, you could lightly apply an organic fertilizer after seeding, although this is not a necessary step for strong growth.
  3. Many choose to cover their grass seed after planting, though this is not required. If you do choose to cover your seed to help retain moisture and hold the seed in place, we recommend a maximum depth of 1/4”. You can cover the seed with topsoil, sterilized straw, or peat moss. Coated seeds such as Bermuda and Clover seeds should not be covered more than an 1/8” deep.
  4. Water gently and regularly, keeping the seeds moist until they begin to sprout. This could mean watering more than once a day if you’re having a dry spell. Depending on soil temperatures and weather conditions, It may take weeks or even a month for the seeds to grow. Be patient.
  5. Once the seeds sprout, water deeply and less frequently. This helps to ensure a deep-rooted, healthy lawn or meadow.
  6. Do not mow until your lawn is at the recommended height. This information can be found on each product page. For most grasses, this is about 3-6 weeks after planting, but could be longer depending on growing conditions. Remember to be gentle when mowing the first few times -- the seedlings will be somewhat tender.
  7. After mowing several times, you can apply an organic fertilizer to promote strong growth, but this is not required.

If you have any questions about planting, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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