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How to Grow Grass in Pennsylvania

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Grass adds a complementary appearance to any structure and a soft, safe play area for pets and families. In Pennsylvania, the most recommended grass varieties include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescues and zoysiagrass. Late summer to early fall are the best times for planting grass in Pennsylvania, as it gives the grass the entire fall and spring to grow before competing with weeds and harsh summer heat.

According to the Penn State Center for Turfgrass Science, those in southeastern Pennsylvania should plant between September 1 and October 15; northern tier and high-altitude counties should seed between August 10 and September 10 and all other Pennsylvania areas should seed between August 20 and October 1.

Submit a soil test kit to the Soil Fertility Testing Program at Penn State. Tests can be ordered online at Follow the instructions and return the kit for a readout and recommendations.

Remove all rocks, construction debris and litter from the yard.

Till the soil to a depth of 6 inches to soften it for treatments and planting. Do not till the soil when it is wet, as it will change the soil's structure and require substantial repair later.

Add in the recommended amounts of lime and fertilizer to the soil to provide it with the necessary nutrients. Water the yard thoroughly to dissolve the substances.

Work in the recommended amounts of sedge peat and peat moss to a depth of 4 inches.

Till the soil to a depth of 6 inches to completely mix the lime, fertilizer and peat moss.

Rake the soil to even it out and remove any clumps.

Spread the starter fertilizer on the surface of the soil at 40 lbs. for every 1,000 square feet.

Disperse the turfgrass seed, half in one direction and half in a perpendicular direction for the best spread.

Rake and roll the area to ensure the seeds are covered and making contact with the soil.

Cover the entire yard with clean straw. The straw can be left on the lawn to naturally decompose as the grass matures.

Water the grass five times daily for the first two weeks with short bursts of water to avoid puddles. Decrease the watering to once a day for the next two weeks and then water the lawn every other day once it is established.

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