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How to Grow Grass in Rocky Soil

Grass image by David Prantl from

Growing grass in rocky soil can be difficult. Rocky soil does not retain as much moisture as more fertile types of soil, and grass roots are often unable to penetrate the rock to collect water and food. Preparing rocky soil for planting can take some time, but you will be rewarded with rich soil and healthy grass. Prepare about 1 foot of quality soil before planting your grass seeds.

Rake through your soil and remove any large rocks. This step may take a few days as it is important to get as many of the large rocks out as possible.

Mix 2 inches of peat moss and compost into the top 8 to 10 inches of soil using a rototiller. Use a ratio of two parts compost for each part of peat moss. Too much peat can cause your soil to become acidic. If your soil is extremely rocky, you may need to wait a few days and repeat this step until your soil is rich.

Spread 2 to 3 inches of quality top soil over your planting area. Rake it smooth.

Pour your grass seed into your broadcast spreader. Check the bag for the indicated spreading amount and set your broadcast spreader to spread at this rate. Walk across your yard while pushing your broadcast spreader to spread the seeds on the soil. Walk in rows that are parallel to each other. Space the rows just far enough apart that the dispensed seeds overlap a few inches. This will ensure complete coverage.

Rake the grass seed into the very top layer of soil. You may see some seeds exposed on the top of the soil.

Water the seeds at least one to two times a day so they stay moist while germinating. Check soil moisture and adjust watering as required so that the soil does not dry out or remain soggy.


Consider landscaping with plants that grow well in rocky soil to reduce the amount of soil you need to prepare for grass seed.

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