How to Plant Grass Seed on Hard Dirt?

Category: Green By: Nisha Jaiswal Posted on: February 6, 2018

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 the 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 using 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.

Best Grass Seed:

Grass Seed

i) Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed

Zenith Zoysia Grass Seed is 100% pure seed and suitable for those People in Drought Prone Places. On the other hand, It is quite expensive but it is dense and coarse. It includes two pounds of seed without fillers.

ii) Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue:

Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue is best for reaching huge areas. It is more useful than other versions of cool-season grass. Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue produces grass that has broad leaves. It is good for big lawns or parks.

iii) Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade:

Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade is suitable for shady areas and uses much less water compared to ordinary grass seed. On the other hand, It will not grow in direct sunlight as it is suited for the areas which have less sunlight(direct sunlight).

iv) Jonathan Green 10322 Black Beauty:

Jonathan Green 10322 Black Beauty is suitable for regions with sandy fill. It holds naturally insect repellent grass and preserves moisture. It preserves moisture in the leaf and it is drought resistant. Jonathan Green 10322 Black Beauty also includes Fine Fescue.

v) X-Seed Ultra Premium:

X-Seed Ultra Premium is suitable for sun and shade areas. It is a mixed seed option that germinates fast. It is well for Central and Northern United States climates. This seed can be the best if you want to plant grass seeds on hard dirt.

Here are the tips on how to plant grass seed on hard dirt:

how to plant grass seeds on hard dirt

There are certain steps that you need to follow if you want to know how to plant grass seed 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Use a rototiller to loosen the soil to as deep down as 6 inches. Do this only with dry soil.
  4. 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.
  5. Use a rake to level out the soil and to remove any debris that has been tilled-up.
  6. Fill up your lawn roller with water and run it across your tilled lawn. This will make your ground firm.
  7. Load your grass seed into a drop seed 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.
  8. 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 ¼ inch top of the soil.
  9. Press the grass seed more to the soil using a lawn roller (empty).
  10. 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 throughout the entire year. Do the application in 8-week intervals starting with the growing season and through summer, spring, and fall.
  11. 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.

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. Use Lime & Fertilizer Spreaders to evenly supply the required nutrients to your grass. Proceed further to know more about how to plant grass seed on hard dirt.

  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 and this will solve your issue on how to plant grass seed on hard dirt.

You May Also Like: How much does a yard of topsoil weigh?

When is the best time to plant grass seed?

plant grass seed

Planting seeds symbolize an expenditure of money, time and hope. Planting grass seed depends on the type of lawn you are planting and the place you live in.

Whether you grow warm or cool-season grasses, timing plays a vital role. When the temperature of the soil is between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit, Cool-season grass seed grows fast.

Freshly planted seeds need consistent soil moisture. For warm-season grasses, Spring Season is best. In natural germination seeds, grass types and varieties vary. In the underground, new grass seedlings take place in its initial growth.

You can also do research that when is the best time to plant grass seed or you can take advice from professionals before you start seeding.

How long does it take for grass seed to grow?

Depending on the type of variety, the growing time for grass seed varies from five to thirty days. In cold temperatures, it can be even extended than this.

How long does it take for grass seed to grow? See, it depends on which place you are living in and what kind of grass seed you are growing. If you are looking for a low maintenance grass seed then centipede grass seed is your best option.

There are mainly some of the factors that play a key role in grass seed to grow:

  • Temperature – Temperature of the air and the temperature of the ground are the primary ingredients for seed grass to grow. It increases the growth rate of the seed grass.
  • Season – The season also has an impact on the seed as it plays a vital role in seed germination. In the cool season, the grass seed does not grow and it remains dormant for a certain period of time. But as soon as the warm season arrives, the seed grass begins to grow.
  • Sunlight – Sunlight also plays some role in the germination of the grass seed, whether directly or indirectly.


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. ‘How to plant grass seed on hard dirt’ seems to be tricky but believe me it’s far easy and simple.

If you have additional suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments section on how to plant grass seed on hard dirt.

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Nisha Jaiswal

Nisha Jaiswal is a Traveler by passion and a Content Writer by profession. She is one of a Content Editor at FollowTheFashion, Content Rally and Tour&TravelBlog. She loves to write articles on Fashion, Beauty, Travel topics, etc. She is also a freelance writer who writes SEO friendly content.

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