How to Grow Grass From Dirt

Overview

Grass seed can grow in most soil types, including dirt. The key is to add nutrients and aerate the dirt to promote germination. Choose a grass seed that is made to grow in your climate and environment. If your yard is in the shade, for example, get a seed that doesn't need much sunlight. If your region has cold winters, choose one that can survive freezes (not St. Augustine grass). Hard, packed dirt full of debris doesn't provide a good base for a lush lawn. Once the dirt is loosened and fertilized, however, grass can sprout in about 10 days.

Step 1

Clear the area of debris such as stones and weeds. Till at least the top 4 inches of the dirt to loosen it up and aerate it.

Step 2

Improve the dirt with compost and sand. Spread 1 inch of each substance down on top of the dirt. Use the rotary tiller to combine it with the local dirt.

Step 3

Feed the amended dirt with a starter fertilizer or one that contains a lot of phosphorus. Set the broadcast spreader to the rate indicated on the seed package.

Step 4

Fill a hand spreader with the appropriate amount of grass seed if you're planting in a small area. Use a mechanical spreader for a larger yard. Use the seed bag to determine how much seed to use per square foot.

Step 5

Rake the grass seed to mix it lightly into the top 1/8 inch of dirt. Covering it will keep it in place and speed up germination.

Step 6

Set a sprinkler to the oscillating setting. Water the new seed two to three times a day for 10 minutes. Keep up with this schedule for 10 days. Once the seedlings start coming up, water once a day for 15 to 30 minutes.

Tips and Warnings

  • Stay off new grass until it's fully grown. Do not water grass seed in the evening because it's more likely fungi will grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Rotary tiller
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Grass seed
  • Hand or mechanical spreader
  • Rake
  • Sprinkler
  • Water

References

  • Greenview Fertilizer: Lawn Seeding: How to Plant Grass Seed
  • Spring-Green: Lawn Seeding Tips
  • This Old House: How to Seed a Lawn
  • Texas A&M: Mowing
Keywords: grow grass, plant grass seed, grass in dirt

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.