Grass Planting Tips

It is September and the hot days are winding down and ready to give way to cool fall temperatures.  However, this is still a wonderful time to plant grass and cut down on unnecessary erosion.  These quick tips should help your property look beautiful come spring. 

  • Always cover your bare ground with vegetation as soon as possible to prevent erosion of soil.  This also helps cut down on possible damage to your property.
  • Rake the area before sowing seed.
  • Spread grass seed by hand or with a spreader*.
    *If you use a spreader, only use half (1/2) of seed in one direction.  Once finished, then spread the other half of the seed at 90 degrees from your original direction. Example, if you are spreading the first half moving North and South, then spread the other half moving East and West.  This will allow for better coverage of your area.
  • Rake the soil lightly to cover seeds.
  • Lightly cover the area with straw to prevent the soil from drying out and seeds/soil from washing away.  Don’t cover the entire area with straw.  Allow soil to show through.  Covering with too much straw will prevent the grass from sprouting.
  • Water thoroughly to keep soil damp while seed is germinating.  Recommended amount of water is one inch (1”) per week.  Make sure that the water penetrates down below the surface.  Just dampening the surface is not enough water. 
Due to West Virginia’s steep hills and the variety of soil types, contact your local Conservation District, West Virginia University Extension Agent, nursery, hardware store or garden center for information on the need for fertilizer, grass for shade versus sunny areas, stabilizing steep hillsides, etc.  Also, you may be able to contact your West Virginia Soil Conservation county agent for a soil test to see what type of grass seed is best suited for your property.

 

  1. For Tree Planting Tips or To Order Tree Seedling, click on the following link - http://www.wvforestry.com/nursery.cfm

  2. To Reach Your Local Soil Conservation Agency click on the following link - http://www.wvca.us/

     

Below are some more tips and examples showing why grass planting is encouraged!

 

 Straw on ground

Make sure that once the straw is down, it covers the area that you wish to grow grass.  The straw should not be so thick as to stop the grass from sprouting.

 

 Straw on ground

An unstable bank like this one pictured contributes to erosion.  Even this, relatively small, bare bank can allow hundreds of pounds of dirt to wash into nearby streams.  Also, the bare hillside can cause the culvert pictured to clog up.  This stops water from draining and could cause low level flooding from the backup.

 

 Straw on ground

Mowing or cutting to the streambank's edge removes vegetation and root systems which help hold the soil back.

Also, this bare bank allows for more dirt to enter the stream and creates sediment problems.  This makes the stream shallower, which can hurt stream flow as well as aquatic life.

 

 Straw on ground

Banks left bare like in this picture can cause more water to flow off the hillside and around the house.  Plant the hillside with grass to cut down the runoff during storms or other rainy events.  This type of bare hillside also could allow for mud to slide down into the backyard or against the house.

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