hard dirt

How To Plant Grass Seed On Hard Dirt?

Do you remember the geography lessons that you took in school? If you remember those, then you’ll recall that you were taught about different types of soils. Not all soils are appropriate for planting. But you will find almost all soil is good enough for grasses. Be it hard or soft; grasses grow on both. let us learn How To Plant Grass Seed On Hard Dirt?

This article will help you to know how you can plant grass seed on hard dirt.

What is hard dirt?

Since you plan to plant grass seed on hard dirt, you must know what hard dirt is. Have you seen those soils that are rough and all cracked up? It happens because the soil particles are tightly pressed up together. As a result, it becomes tough for any plant to grow since the water and air don’t pass freely. 

Hard dirt- What are the potential causes?

One of the essential steps to deal with this problem is identifying the factors causing the hard dirt in the yard. Here are some factors that cause hard dirt.

  • Regular foot traffic– When the ground constantly receives foot traffic, it will become compacted and hard in due course.
  • Clay soil has some natural compactness, and thus, it becomes hard while the moisture slowly gets dried. Although it is not your fault, you can find a remedy.
  • Negligence- The neglected land can become hard. It needs shuffling and tilling to maintain the aeration of the soil.

How To Plant Grass Seed On Hard Dirt?

Hard soils are hard for cultivating anything. But if you have set up your mind to grow grass seeds, then there are few things that you can do. 

Please test it

The first and foremost thing to do when planning to grow plants is to test the soil, especially if you will plant grass seeds in hard soil. But how to do soil testing. There are soil testing centres that check the conditions of the soil and what it lacks. 

All you have to do is dig 10-12 spots in your garden and collect the sample soil. And then take it to the nearest testing centre. Once the soil gets tested, the centre can suggest what kind of manure or techniques you can use to grow grass. 

Aerate the soil

If you search by the dictionary, you will find the word aerate means inducing air into something. Not all soils have the same air trapped in them. 

Hard soils are known to have no or minimal air trapped in them. That’s the reason cultivation isn’t possible in hard soil. 

However, if you want to plant grass seeds, then you must aerate the soil. 

Now the question arises how you can aerate the soil? You can do it with the help of an aerator! 

An aerator is a device used to create gaps between the soil so that the air can pass freely. Once these air pockets are made, it helps to retain moisture for a long time. 

One thing you must remember is that aeration of the hard soil isn’t a short-term process. Instead, you have to keep repeating it throughout the year to see the visible results.


Plowing the field before sowing any seeds is a common practice by the farmers. This is done because when you till/plow the land, you roll the soil allowing the air and water to percolate in. 

Sometimes the soil remains very hard over time that an aerator doesn’t prove to be much help. This is when you have to till the ground. 

All you need is a rototiller machine until at least 6-10 inches of the soil. At first, it might be hard to till such hard soil. But once you get over it, your soil will be ready.

Prepare the compost

Once the tilling and the aeration process are done, it is now time to feed your soil. Once the soil test reports come, they will tell you what kind of manure or fertilizer you should use. Hard soils, unlike others, do not have or have a minimal amount of compost. So once the soil is tilted/aerated, you need to put in a suitable variety of compost. 

Since your soil is being well aerated, the compost will be absorbed by the soil in no time. The choice of manure/fertilizer is entirely up to you. You can either use organic manure or use chemical fertilizers. After adding these to your soil, you can now use a rack to level it up.

Put the seed in

Now that the hard soil is prepared, you need to choose the right kind of seed. There are a variety of grass seeds available in the market. You need to decide what type of grass you want on your lawn. But before sowing the seeds, you need to remember two things.

  • Right one – Choosing a suitable variety of seeds is very important. If you’re looking for grasses that’ll feel like a soft carpet when you walk on, you’ll need a specific type of seed. The factors like – how much you are going to maintain it? how much sunlight will it receive? Or will there be a lot of trampling on the grasses? Or what kind of length do you want? One must consider all these factors before buying the grass seed. Only then can you get the right speed for your lawn.
  • Check the time- As you have read before, not all plants are for all seasons! The same goes for the grasses. If you do some research, you’ll find out grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass are meant for cool seasons. These grasses will grow best if you sow them in the fall or springtime. If you are looking for grasses for warm/hot seasons, then zoysia, bermudagrass, and centipede are the ones! For them to grow properly, you will have to sow them by early summer. 

Check out some more information about cool-season lawn grasses.

  • Bentgrass seed– There are some varieties of this grass, and its application is mainly in the golf course. However, you may choose Colonial Bentgrass for your home lawns.
  • Fine Fescue seed– It is a perennial grass, which does not need properly drained zones.
  • Kentucky bluegrass seed– This grass needs sunrays for consistent growth. It is not tolerant to shades. 
  • Tall fescue mix seed is a drought-tolerant grass, and its root can reach deep into the soil.
  • Creeping fescue seed– The seed can germinate slowly and has shade-tolerant propriety. It does not need high maintenance. 
  • Ryegrass seed– You can choose the perennial Ryegrass seed, as it has wear-tolerant properties. 

Add water

Once you have planted the seeds into the soil, you will need to water them. Many people don’t know how to water newly sowed grasses. You must remember that you should always keep the soil wet. Don’t misunderstand it to be soggy; instead, keep the top layer of the soil moist. The more you keep the soil moist, the faster will the seeds germinate. 

You have to bear in mind that unlike regular clay/alluvial soils, hard soil requires regular watering. Once you see that the seeds are sprouting, you need to keep two inches of the topsoil moist. 

You have to do this regularly and till the grasses are mowable. And once the grasses reach the mowing height, you can water the grasses for two days a week. This watering process will work only when the grass sowed 6 inches deep!

Feed them

Apart from air and water, any plants or grasses to grow usually need fertilizers/manures. The primary nutrient that helps the plants and grass to develop is nitrogen. Since the hard soil has a minimal amount of nitrogen present, you will need to infuse it into the soil. Once the seeds have germinated, you need to add the proper amount of nitrogen-rich fertilizer/manure into the soil. 

But some people are strictly against the use of chemical fertilizers or manures. For them, they can always go for organic or vermicomposting. 


Vermicomposting is a process where worms are used on biodegradable or kitchen waste for decomposition. The decomposed product thus obtained is nutrient-rich manure for any plant/grass. The product is not only rich in nutrients but also highly water-soluble and acts as a soil conditioner. 

Moreover, for many plants and grass, it becomes hard to absorb the high chemical fertilizers. But if you put vermicomposting manure in the soil, it will be easily absorbed by the plants/grasses. For 1000 square feet of garden, you will need a minimum of 1 pound of fertilizers. Keep your soil fertilized every two months, starting from their germination till they grow up.

Add more soil

The moment you are done with sowing the seeds/watering and feeding them, add another thin soil layer. Many of you might wonder what the need for using an extra layer of soil is. 

The primary requirement for putting a thin layer of soil above the sowed seeds is to prevent them from washing off. Sometimes due to strong winds or excess water, the topsoil tends to wear off. 

As a result, the seeds you have sowed do not germinate. Adding a thin layer of topsoil will ensure that the soil’s primary layer stays and your seeds grow. 

Remove all obstacles

Hard soil is tough soil when it comes to germinating any plant. On top of that, if you leave out the debris, small pebble, or rough soil particles, then germination becomes tough! So before you sow the seeds, make sure that your soil is free from all coarse particles. 

If you need, then you can use a rack too to even the soil out. Apart from removing these complex objects, try removing all the weeds. Sometimes weeds hamper the growth of seeds, so it’s better to take them out.

Mow it

Once your grasses have reached the desired height, you can start mowing. You can use a lawnmower for this purpose. If you are mowing cool-season grasses, keep it around 2 inches tall, whereas warm-season grasses should be kept around 1 -2 inches tall. Always use a sharp blade for mowing. 


So, these are the ten steps you must follow to plant grass seed on hard dirt. 

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