Tips for Growing Grass Seed

Growing grass can be tedious, depending on the type of soil and other conditions you are dealing with. Knowing your lawn will help you in your growing efforts. Some grasses might need certain types of care, like fertilizers, while others need something entirely different.

Starting Over

Kill all grass and weeds in the lawn if you plan on starting your lawn from scratch. You can use a commercial herbicide or spray the lawn with white vinegar. Once you apply the herbicide, cover the grass with dark plastic after you spray to block out light. This will keep the grass from growing. Wait a week and remove the plastic.

Test pH and Fertilize

Test your soil's pH with a soil test kit. The pH balance of soil should be 6.0 or higher for good grass growing. Knowing where you are starting will help. Add fertilizers to the soil to adjust the pH level, if needed. A homemade fertilizer that will add fewer chemicals to the lawn includes equal parts Epsom salts and ammonia--1 tbsp. mixed with 1 gallon of water will cover around 100 square feet of lawn. If you are starting from scratch with your yard, till up the soil and work it in. If the soil is made of clay, add sand and some organic material to help with drainage.

Seed Choice

Choose a grass seed that is recommended for where you live and the conditions of your soil. For example, even if you mix in sand and other nutrients into clay soil, choose a grass that grows well in clay, such as Bermuda. Spread the seed on the lawn and cover it with straw to keep it from washing away. Use a coated seed, if available, to deter birds from eating it.

Overseed and Weed Control

Overseed in the fall with a noninvasive grass, such as rye, to add thickness to the lawn during sparse times. A thick grass is less likely to get weeds. If you do get weeds, find out what kind they are. Adjust your mowing height so you are mowing at a level that those particular weeds don't like, but is still OK for your type of grass. Watering less will also deter weeds. If all else fails, apply a post-emergent broadleaf-specific herbicide, which attacks weeds and not grass.


The best time to water is in the morning. This gives the grass time to pull in as much moisture as it can before the heat evaporates it. Watering in the evening will create standing water in the dark that promotes mold growth.

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