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They say the grass is always greener on the other side.

Sadly, this isn’t always the case when we’re talking about lawn-care.

In many areas in the United States of America, having the iconic American green lawn is often thought to be a symbol of prestige, and is considered something to be proud of.

Of course, maintenance on such lawns can take a lot of sweat and hard work.

When it comes to planting grass seed, most homeowners take the traditional route of using a shovel, but if your soil is full of hard dirt, clay or rocks, without improving the soil, your grass may have difficulty growing.

There are several popular methods to take care of this problem, but I am going to teach you one below.

plant grass seed with a shovel

Planting Grass Seed on Hard Dirt

An alternative to the infamous backbreaking shovel is to plant your grass seed upon a few layers of potting soil laid over-top of the hard soil.

Steps are below:

  1. Remove all the rocks and debris you can from the area in which you will be planting the grass. If you cannot remove any of this due to them being embedded within the soil, moistening them up with water or a hose can loosen them up enough to pick up and remove.
  2. You may now cut your old sod with a sod cutter or till the remaining vegetation left in the soil to allow for adequate root growth.
  3. A rototiller is able to loosen the soil in an effective manner, often going as far as 6 inches deep. Generally, you should only use a rototiller on dry soil.
  4. Till 1 or 2 inches of compost around the soil to cover up to 18 inches deep. The amount of compost used should be roughly 25% of them equivalent soil weight.
  5. Use a rake to remove any additional debris and to level out any rough areas of the selected area.
  6. Use a lawn roller (filled with water) or equivalent machinery across your tilled ground. This will help firm the soil up and allow the seed to stick around.
  7. Follow the directions for your grass seed and use a drop seed spreader to evenly distribute it. You should set the dial according to the directions.
  8. Evenly spread your grass seed over your selected area. A rake can be of good use in making sure everything is even.
  9. Empty your lawn roller and smooth the grass seed over your soil or lawn.
  10. If you choose to, now would be the time to add nitrogen fertilizer. Slow release is recommended. Apply about 1 pound of fertilizer per 1,000 sq ft per year. You should divide it up and fertilize it in 8 week intervals.
  11. Water your lawn for about 10 to 15minutes, about 2 or 3 times a day. This requirement may vary depending on your soil, environment, and geographical location. You may have to water more or less. Don’t let it get to moist or to soggy. Similarly, do not let it get to dry. As time goes on, you likely won’t have to water it as much. Use rational judgement here. Usually twice a week is more than adequate in most environments.
  12. Once your grass reaches about 3 inches in height, you may start mowing your lawn. A good rule of thumb is to keep it about 1 or 2 inches during the warmer months, and about 2 inches tall during the colder months. Most people will have to mow their lawn about once or twice a week. Different varieties of grass sometimes prefer different heights, so be sure to read the instructions on your bag of grass for more directed recommendations. Making sure your mower blades are sharp will result in a cleaner cut and a better looking lawn.
  13. About twice a year you should aerate your soil. You should do this during months of active growth. Aeration should be about 3 inches deep.

While having the perfect lawn may prove tough in warmer, hard-soil environments such as Texas, it is certainly not impossible.

I hope my guide will help you have a lawn which even Hank Hill would be proud of.