The lone voice of horticultural reason

Don’t seed a lawn as thick as most people seed a lawn.

I was out at a consultation earlier this spring and the homeowner had just finished applying grass seed by hand over some large areas of the property. How could I tell? The soil was nearly covered with grass seed. I could tell before I stepped out of my truck that the property had been seeded. Most of the yard was creamy white, due to patches where you couldn’t see the soil for the seed.

Most people apply way too much grass seed when seeding a new lawn area, or overseeding a thin lawn. I suppose the theory is you want thick, lush grass, so you should lay the seed on thick. Nope. What happens is the seed germinates and there is way too much root development per square inch to support the individual grass plants. So most of them fail, and you’re left with a thin lawn area.

Whether seeding by hand or seeding device, apply grass seed so that there are between only 8 to 12 seeds per square inch. How can you tell? You get down on your hands and knees, and count the seeds in one square inch. When the seed germinates and starts growing, initial growth should resemble the density of the hairs growing on the top of your wrist (were your hair green). Or the density of the hairs on the very top of the Renegade Gardener’s head. Don’t panic when you see this thin, initial growth. Unlike the top of my head, thick, lush growth is only weeks away.

Don Engebretson
The Renegade Gardener