How to Plant Grass Seed In Hard Dirt

planting grass on hard soil

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With fall just around the corner, landscapers and gardeners alike are already preparing for next spring. Why? Anyone with a green thumb will tell you that the best time to cultivate a beautiful, lusciously green lawn is right when the weather turns cold. It's a case of doing the hard work now and reaping the benefits later. And while this is a tried-and-true method of achieving the ideal lawn, there is just one hiccup - you have to learn how to plant grass seed on hard dirt.

Can You Plant Grass Seed On Hard Dirt?

Can you plant seed in hard dirt? Of course - but it does take a little more effort. If you're used to planting in soft dirt during the warmer months, where rain and sunshine has kept the ground moist, then planting in hard dirt is going to be a drastic change.

Why does soil get so hard? It's often a two-part problem. Sometimes, dirt simply dries out and refuses to retain moisture anymore, in which case you might be better off replacing the soil altogether. Dry dirt is either caused by prolonged exposure to heat without water or by water that has been frozen into the soil. Sometimes, hard dirt is caused by being highly compacted, which is a problem that can be fixed with the right tools.

So, how do you plant grass seed on hard dirt? We have a step-by-step process that will help you get a head start on next spring's lawn.

How to Plant Grass Seed on Hard Dirt

Learning how to plant grass seed on hard dirt really isn't all that difficult. Our three-step process is simple and efficient.

Step One: Examine Your Dirt

Before you get started, you need to know what the problem is. Is your soil too dry? Is your soil too compacted? Does that area of the lawn get too much sun or foot traffic? Or is the soil simply dead and hasn't seen any life for at least three years? These are all simple problems that can be fixed, but you need to know what you're working with.

Step Two: Correct Your Dirt

There are expensive services and tools that will aerate your soil for a steep price - but you can do the same thing on the cheap and much more effectively. Correcting the composition of your soil means two things. One, you will need to break up the hard dirt with a till, hoe, or small garden plow until at least six to ten inches of dirt has been broken. Second, you will want to introduce new dirt to the area, with nutrient-rich soil, fertilizer, or manure. After you have spread new dirt over the area, you will need to go back with your garden tools and make sure everything is well mixed.

Step Three: Plant Seed

This is by far the easiest step. Buy a good grass seed that is made to be planted during the fall-winter months - most seed packages will be specifically labeled in this way. In order to get an even distribution of seed, you will also want to purchase a spreader, which is a funnel-type device with a hand crank that spreads seed over a wide area. After you have planted the seed, simply follow the watering directions on the package.

Additional Step: Prevent Dry Soil


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If you noticed that your yard or part of your yard gets a lot of sun or is prone to dryness, then now is the time to correct that habit. By spreading an even 1 to 2 inch layer of mulch over your freshly seeded dirt, you can prevent the soil from drying out over the warmer months. Mulch helps soil retain moisture and gives lawns extra padding. And don't worry about your grass being able to grow through the mulch - grass can grow through anything!



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Learning how to plant grass seed on hard dirt isn't a difficult or time-consuming process. All it requires is some dedication and physical labor to have the lawn of your dreams come springtime. Our three-step process to planting grass on hard dirt will help correct the composition of your lawn for years to come and will save you a lot of money down the road.