After spreading grass seed, homeowners expect that they will soon see lush green grass growing in their yards at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, grass seed doesn’t always grow like it should, leaving yards with unsightly bare spots. Understanding why your grass seed isn’t growing gives you the information you need to reverse course and try again. Here are ten common culprits for a sluggish growth pattern on your lawn.
Table of Contents
- You’re using the wrong grass seed
- You’re watering at the wrong time
- You’re using the wrong fertilizer or none at all
- Your yard might have a fungus
- You bought a low-quality grass seed
- Your soil is too compacted
- Your grass seed isn’t receiving enough sunlight
- You planted your grass seed at the wrong time of the year
- You’ve got too much foot traffic in your yard
- You need a new lawnmower
- Wrap up
You’re using the wrong grass seed
Not all grass seed thrives in all areas of the United States. Before you plant grass seed, take the time to learn about the best grass seed for your region. Some seed thrives in areas with distinctive seasons, as it needs the cold months to go dormant. Other seeds need full sun, while some need constant shade.
Knowledgeable grass seed vendors like Nature’s Seed provide high-quality grass seed for all regions of the United States. As reliable providers of grass seed, these experienced retailers can offer tips for choosing the best type for your area and your yard.
You’re watering at the wrong time
Grass seed needs the right amount of hydration at the right time of day. When you water at night, your grass can develop fungus, as the water sits atop your yard rather than soaking into it. The best time to water your grass is in the early morning, before 9 AM in your area.
Your grass seed needs a substantial amount of water – at least an inch each day. Seed without enough water will go dormant as a form of self-defense.
You’re using the wrong fertilizer or none at all
Grass seed needs fertilizer to grow into a carpet of soft grass. The fertilizer should include a mixture of nitrogen and phosphorus. Each type of grass and soil needs a specific blend, and a landscaping professional can help you figure out what you need. If you use the wrong fertilizer, your grass won’t grow.
Your yard might have a fungus
If you see mushrooms growing in your yard, you’ve got a fungus. When you water at night, your grass starts to rest, and the water encourages the fungus to grow. As soon as the fungus takes root, it crowds out the grass and takes over.
Your lawn needs proper irrigation, and you should water during the early morning hours to avoid fungus. You want all of the water to feed your grass, not fungus, so be sure it all sinks into the soil. If you over water your grass, you could also help fungus find a foothold in your yard.
You bought a low-quality grass seed
Low-quality grass seed or seed that has been sitting on store shelves for too long might not ever grow. The best way to ensure that your grass seed will germinate is to buy the right type from a reputable retailer.
If you buy seeds at a store, look for an expiration date or ask how long it’s been on the shelves. Fresh seed will grow better than old seed.
Your soil is too compacted
Grass seed needs a few ingredients to grow: water, soil, air, and sunlight. Compacted soil or hard soil with too much clay creates a challenging environment for seed. The seed needs to be able to set its roots in the earth, and if the soil is too compacted, the roots cannot penetrate it.
Before you plant your grass seed, take time to prep the soil. Remove clumps of grass, rake the ground, and remove debris. You can also use an aerator to rotate the earth and encourage grass growth. Aerated soil has air, so the seeds can germinate and benefit from respiration to release energy.
Your grass seed isn’t receiving enough sunlight
Some grass seed blends need a significant amount of sunlight, while others need shade. Sunlight encourages photosynthesis, which helps plants grow. Without sunlight, your seed will sit on the soil and do nothing. Sunlight helps plants and seeds convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Without this chemical reaction, plants cannot grow.
If your yard is exceptionally shaded, you’ll need a different type of grass. Some grasses, like St. Augustine grass and tall fescue, only need a few hours of sunlight each day. These self-sufficient species don’t need direct sunlight, so filtered light will do. If you find that grass won’t grow, you can cut some of the branches on your trees to allow more light to reach your grass seed.
You planted your grass seed at the wrong time of the year
To help your grass grow, you should only plant grass seeds at certain times of the year. In the cooler areas of the United States, the best time to plant is in the early autumn. During these times, the ground is warm, so the seed germinates successfully. Then, when the grass goes dormant in the winter, the roots can build a robust underground structure.
Some people prefer planting in the spring, but there is a risk. The ground isn’t always warm enough to support root growth. Grass will sprout in the spring, but the root system might not grow as it should. Planting in the summer is not beneficial, as the heat and lack of rainfall cause grass to go dormant.
You’ve got too much foot traffic in your yard
Sometimes, grass seeds won’t grow because too many people walk in your yard. If this is the case, you might consider putting a temporary fence around your yard. Children can be the culprit, so encourage them to play elsewhere. If your pets need to use the yard to relieve themselves, you might have to take them on walks or let them use other parts of your yard.
Fully grown grass can support foot traffic, but young grass and growing seed cannot. You might end up damaging the seed and harming the young root system if you walk in your yard.
You need a new lawnmower
Another thing that can damage grass is cutting it too short or using a lawnmower with dull blades. The next time you take your lawnmower in for maintenance, make sure to ask for the blades to be sharpened, which will result in a cleaner, more uniform cut.
Grass seed will grow, but it needs ideal conditions. It might seem simple to throw around some seed and water it. But, seed is fragile and needs the correct soil type with the perfect balance of fertilizer and water. If you can juggle your conditions long enough to see a luscious lawn come in, you’ll be grateful you went the extra mile for your reseeding project.