If you're like most people, grass isn't something you think about a lot. It's just something you take for granted. Most people don't think about how to plant grass seed on hard dirt until the situation comes up.
However, it can be much more frustrating than most people think. The common perception is that all you need to do to plant grass is sprinkle some seed on the ground, add water, and wait. But when the dirt is packed solid, this couldn't be further from the truth.
If you have an interest in learning how to plant grass seed on hard dirt, you should know that it's definitely possible. It'll take a lot more work than your typical lawn, but the end result will be worth it.
WHY DO YOU NEED GRASS?
When thinking about how to plant grass seed on hard dirt, you might wonder if it's even worth it at all. In fact, you might wonder where the whole concept of grass on the front lawn came from. Why do people have grass on their front lawns when it creates so much extra work?
You may not think of it this way because grass lawns are so commonplace nowadays, but they're actually status symbols in a way. In fact, that's actually how they started out.
They were a way for European aristocrats in the 16th century to show off how rich they were.
The very first grass lawns surrounded French and English castles. The castle grounds couldn't be covered with trees since the soldiers that were protecting them needed to have unobstructed views of their surroundings (no, seriously). In the absence of trees, the grass naturally grew.
By the end of the 17th century, other wealthy people in European countries had grass lawns as well.
This custom spread to the United States as well. One of the fruits of the Industrial Revolution was the first lawnmower, which made it much easier to maintain lawns. That made it so that the average person could have a lawn, and it wasn't necessarily a symbol of great wealth anymore.
There were a few influential figures in American architecture and landscape design who popularized grass lawns surrounding homes. These include Frederick Law Olmsted and Abraham Levitt. That leads us to today, where almost everyone has grass surrounding their home.
PROBLEMS WITH GROWING GRASS ON HARD DIRT
Before you learn about how to plant grass seed on hard dirt, you might want to know why is this a problem in the first place. What exactly are the problems with growing grass on hard dirt?
The truth is that there are many different factors that can impede the growth of your lawn. These include fertilizer, location, water, seed, weather, maintenance, and soil. Soil is just one of the factors that can influence the quality of your lawn, but it has the potential to have a significant effect.
For best results, when you're growing your lawn, you want soil that is loose and contains a lot of organic matter. It should be of a texture that holds moisture but still drains quickly and easily. If this isn't what you have, you'll likely have a harder time cultivating a lawn.
Over time, any lawn will be compacted. People walk on it, and gravity will just take its toll. However, it's best that this not be the case when you're planting the seed.
It's tough for the roots of grass seedlings to penetrate hard dirt. The physical barrier alone makes it difficult, but that's not all. Compacted soil also doesn't deliver enough oxygen or moisture to the growing grass seedlings.
However, there's still hope. If you have hard dirt in your yard, you can still have a lush lawn full of green grass. If you want to know how to plant grass seed on hard dirt, you'll basically need to be willing to put down new soil or aerate the soil that you already have.
HOW TO PLANT GRASS SEED ON HARD DIRT
If you have hard dirt in your yard, you might find the situation frustrating. However, don't give up! You can easily learn how to plant grass seed on hard dirt.
All you need to do is follow eight simple steps.
1. WOULD YOU LIKE A SAMPLE?
The first thing you need to do is to collect soil samples. You should go around your yard and collect samples from 10 to 12 different areas. Use a spade shovel, and collect samples that are about 3 inches deep.
Then, mix the soil samples together. Now, you have soil that's representative of your entire yard. Put one cup of this mixture into a soil sample box, and take the box to the Cooperative Extension Service Office in your county.
They'll test this soil for you. They'll also give you the soil test results and recommendation for the type of fertilizer that you should use and the amount that would be appropriate.
2. PREPARATION IS KEY
If you have large debris on your lawn, such as rocks and sticks, pick them up and dispose of them. Also, cut any old sod with a sod cutter.
Till the recommended fertilizer into the top 10 to 12 inches of your soil.
3. ENJOY THE STENCH OF COMPOST
Pick a day when your soil is dry, and loosen it with a rototiller. You should at least loosen the top six inches of the soil.
Then, you'll want to till compost into your soil down to about 18 inches deep. You should put enough compost into the soil that it weighs about the same as 25 to 50 percent of that soil.
Then, flatten the soil and make sure that it's all level with a rake.
4. GET YOUR JOHNNY APPLESEED ON
Take all the grass seed you're planning on using, and divide it into two halves. Sprinkle one half of it in one direction on top of the soil, and then sprinkle the other half of it at a direction perpendicular to the original direction.
You should keep in mind that certain types of grass will be more likely to grow and thrive at different times of the year. Cool-season grass, such as tall fescue, should be planted in the fall or winter. In contrast, warm-season grass, such as Bermuda grass, should be planted in the late spring early summer.
5. SOAK AND STIR
Now that you've sprinkled the seeds, you'll want to mix them in with the top 1/4 inch of soil.
What you can do is take a 3/4 inch thick piece of plywood, and put 16 large nails through it. Drag this piece of plywood through your lawn three or four times, so that the seed is well mixed in with the soil.
Then, soak the top several inches of your soil with water. Make sure that you consistently keep this soil moist until the seeds start to germinate.
6. COVER UP
After mixing the seeds with the soil, you'll want to cover it. Put a thin layer of hay mulch or aged straw onto the surface of the soil. As a guideline, use approximately one small bale on every 1,000 square feet of soil.
Make sure you water the soil several times every day, never letting it dry out.
7. FEEDING TIME!
Now, it's time to fertilize again. Fertilize your grass with 1/2 to 1 pound per 1,000 square feet of the slow-release, nitrogen fertilizer that was recommended with your soil test results.
You should do this about every eight weeks in the fall, spring, and summer. That will total about four times per year.
8. MAINTAIN YOUR LAWN
It's not enough that you plant the grass seed, but you also have to maintain it. Once your grass is about three inches tall, mow your lawn.
If it's cool-season grass, cut it to about two inches tall. If you have warm-season grass, you should cut it until it's about one or two inches tall. Mow your grass often enough so that you don't remove any more than one-third of each blade, on average, at any point.
GO SPREAD THAT GRASS SEED!
People might wonder why anyone would need to know how to plant grass seed on hard dirt. After all, plants all need to grow is water and sunlight, right? Even though this is technically true, they're not going to reach their full potential if they don't have an optimal environment.
Making the necessary changes to your lawn will create the environment that the grass needs to thrive. That way, you can have a beautiful green lawn that's the envy of your entire neighborhood. You may think making the necessary changes to your lawn is a lot of work, but you'll probably see that it's well worth it in the end.
You'll might feel a strong sense of accomplishment after cultivating a beautiful lawn on previously hard dirt. Going through the process of how to plant grass seed on hard dirt can be quite rewarding. You'll remember it every day when you look outside.
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