Seeding your lawn isn’t always as straightforward as you think, however, it certainly isn’t rocket science. Grass seed is a living thing that should be given the same level of care as you would any other plant or shrub in your yard. So if you’re wondering if grass seed will germinate on top of the soil have a read of this article and I’ll give you all the answers you need:
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Will grass seed germinate on top of soil?
Yes ish…the seed needs contact with the soil and it will struggle if you leave it on top of the soil. Ideally, you want to provide good contact and this is easily achieved if you tread in after spreading. While your grass seed will need sunlight to help aid the grass seed germination process, it will also need adequate amounts of nutrients, heat, moisture and air circulation which the soil will be able to provide at this depth. Remember not to over tread in as they won’t be able to get enough natural light.
Why grass seed is not germinating
There are actually quite a few factors as to why your grass seed isn’t growing properly. Realistically, your seed needs near-perfect conditions so that its transition into a luscious green lawn is pretty much guaranteed. So let’s have a look at some of the problems that may occur:
I always double up my watering (twice a day) to combat my dry lawn, and it’s given me brilliant results. To check if your soil is moist enough for germination, drive a metal skewer into the soil; if it can reach 6.5 inches deep, your seeds will have more chance of growing. If not, you’ll need to start watering more frequently!
Quick TipYou can check if your lawn is compacted by simply screwing a metal rod into the ground; if it’s difficult to push through, then you have a problem. The best way to solve this one is actually by breaking up the soil using a reak so that it is crumbly.
Weeds are pretty much the bane of every gardener’s life, and they can have a hugely negative impact on the growth of your grass seed. This is because they will directly compete with your grass for vital nutrients, water and light which will stunt its growth significantly.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you carry out regular weed control measures such as hoeing, hand-weeding or using a herbicide. I would also recommend mulching which is basically covering the area with a layer of organic matter such as compost or straw. This will help to suppress the weeds and help your grass seed grow.
Improper Soil Preparation
If you want your grass to be strong and healthy, then you need to make sure you’re using the right fertilizer. This is because it contains vital nutrients that will help to encourage growth.The best time to fertilize your lawn is actually before you plant the seed as this will give the soil a chance to absorb some of those nutrients. You can also add a little bit more once the seed has germinated but make sure you don’t overdo it as this could burn the roots.
Pick a suitable beginner fertilizer with the correct amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium and distribute it across the soil. It’s also a good idea to water the fertilizer lightly.
You can have a read of an article I wrote about which covers the 5 best lawn fertilizers that you can purchase.
The weather is something that you obviously can’t control but it will definitely have an impact on the germination of your grass seed.
For example, if it’s too hot then the soil will dry out quickly which will make it difficult for the seed to germinate. Alternatively, if it’s too cold then the seed won’t be able to break through the surface of the soil.
Ideally, you want the temperature to be around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit for cool-season grasses and 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit for warm-season grasses.
Want to learn when to seed your lawn in the fall? Have a read of an article that goes through this question in detail.
So if you have planted your grass seed deep enough (around half a centimetre) then you probably won’t have to worry about birds eating it. However, if grass seed exposed then they could definitely be a problem.
The best way to stop them from eating your seed is to put up some bird netting which will create a physical barrier. You could also try using visual deterrents such as shiny objects or even a scarecrow of some sort.
Lawn pests also attract birds, which is why you may want to know about how to remove armyworms from your lawn which I have written about.
- Your grass seed will struggle to grow if you leave it on top of the soil
- The ideal depth to plant your grass seed is 0.2 inches or half an inch
- There are issues that will stop germination
- Your grass seed is not getting enough light or too much
- Your grass seed isn’t getting enough water
- Soil compaction can suffocate grass seeds and stunt growth
- Weeds will compete for nutrients and light
- Improper soil preparation can stop germination
- The pH of your soil needs to be between 6.0 – 7.0
- Fertilizer is a good idea but don’t use too much
- The weather can stunt germination and dry soil
- Birds can eat your grass seed so install netting or visual deterrents