Are you are giving up on the idea of having a lush and healthy lawn because your yard is full of rocks and hard dirt? I almost did but thorough preparation, hard work and patience enabled me to have a beautiful lawn that was an envy of my neighbors. Let me then share how to plant grass seed on hard dirt.

Ask any homeowner who has successfully planted grass on hard dirt how she did it and her answer would be as simple as: use a shovel to break up the dirt or soak it in water to allow it to loosen then plant the grass seeds.


Another option may be to plant grass seeds on a layer or 2 of potting soil laid over hard dirt. Easier read than done. Read on and learn in detail how to plant grass seeds on hard dirt.

  1. Gather rocks, sticks and all debris you may find in your lawn. Soak dirt in water or use a shovel to break them up so they will loosen and be easier to pick up.
  1. Cut old sod with a sod cutter or till remaining grass in the soil. Tilling remaining grass though will not get rid of the roots of unruly weeds.
  1. Use a rototiller to loosen the soil to as deep down as 6 inches. Do this only with dry soil.
  1. Till 1 to 2 inches of compost or peat moss all over the soil to as deep as 18 inches. The amount of compost to use should be equivalent to about 25% – 50% to the weight of the soil.
  1. Use a rake to level out the soil and to remove and debris that have been tilled-up.
  1. Fill up your lawn roller with water and run it across you tilled lawn. This will make your ground firm.
  1. Load your grass seed into a drop lawn spreader. Follow the directions on the bag of grass seed regarding the amount of grass seed to spread for every 1,000 square feet. Set the dial of your spreader accordingly.
  1. Evenly spread the grass seed over your entire lawns. You can also use a rake to spread your grass seed making sure it is within the ΒΌ inch top of the soil.
  1. Press the grass seed more to the soil using a lawn roller (empty).
  1. Divide 4 to 6 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer (slow-release type) into 4 equal parts. For every 1,000 square feet, apply 1 pound of fertilizer through the entire year. Do the application in 8 week intervals starting with the growing season and through summer, spring and fall.
  1. Water your lawn for 15 minutes each time, two to three times a day. You may need to adjust your watering schedule as applicable because your goal is to have moist and not soggy soil.

After the first moving session, cut down on the watering by limiting it to 1 inch each week broken down into 2 watering sessions.

  1. As your grass grows to be about 3 inches, start mowing your lawn making sure to keep warm-season grass at about 1-2 inches tall and cool season grass at 2 inches tall. Depending again on the grass variety, this may be about every four to six days.

    According to Greenmachinery, a rotary lawnmower can be the best tool for this job. When cutting with a rotary lawnmower, your lawn will be cut very precisely at the same level.

Keep on moving regularly until you are able to cut less than 1/3 of grass at each mowing process. It is also most ideal to mow grass with sharp mower blades.

  1. Aerate the soil when the soil is dry and during the active growth, meaning two times a year. Aerate to as deep as 3 inches.

As you can see, it is feasible to plant grass seeds on hard dirt. While hard dirt is not the best environment to grow grass seed, improving the soil is highly possible. Of course, you will be in for some hard work, but the resulting lush green lawn will be all worth it. It will be as if you grew your grass seeds on rich soil.

Do you also have a lawn with hard dirt? Have you tried planting grass seeds on them? I hope the instructions I shared above can also allow you to have a green lawn just like what I have now despite starting off with soil with hard dirt.

If you have additional suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments section.


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