While seeding a lawn with grass seed, there are many things that need to be done to ensure proper germination and growth. Just planting the seeds won’t make them grow thick and lush as you might expect. Using straw to cover newly planted grass seed has become a very convenient solution for many problems surrounding seeding.
This article will give you information about why we need to put straw on seeds, their benefits, and many other aspects of it.
Do You Need To Put Straw Over Grass Seed?
Covering grass seeds with straw is not a critical task but beneficial. We say so because one of the goals of creating a new lawn is to keep the grass seed in place until it germinates and forms a root system to bind it to the soil.
Another technique to boost germination is to keep the freshly planted seed moist and warm. Both aims might be achieved by spreading a thin layer of straw over the grass and leaving it in place until grass seedlings emerge.
Why Put Straw on Grass Seed?
Putting straw on grass seeds comes with many benefits for the seeds. Some of these benefits are,
- It Holds Moisture And Keeps The Seed Warm
Since seeds are still tiny, they should be kept under optimum conditions to properly germinate. Adding straw over grass seeds can make the moisture and warmth around the seed remain the same.
- It Holds The Grass Seed In Place
Grass seeds shouldn’t be buried deep for them to grow; they should be only covered with a bit of soil and kept in almost the ground to allow sunlight to reach it. So seeds often come across getting washed, swiped, or taken away.
Rain might fall onto the seed and wash it away to a nearby river or pond. The high wind might blow away the seeds, and birds might carry or eat the seeds. All these incidents will take the seed away, and prevention is essential.
Most of these could be overcome if you lay straw over the seeds. The straw can hold the seed during rain and wind and safely hide it from the birds.
- It Controls Sunlight Falling On The Seed
Another benefit of covering seeds with straw is that the straw will shield the seed from excess sunlight. Of course, sunlight will be necessary for the seed to germinate, but too much direct sunlight can destroy the seed.
But covering the seed straw can prevent the excess sunlight from falling on the seed. The straw will act as a membrane controlling the amount of sunlight falling on the seeds.
How Much Straw To Cover Grass Seed?
Straw should be spread over the grass seeds so that they will slightly cover the grass seeds, allowing light to fall on the grass seed while shielding it from dangers as well. The pile of straw should not be more than 1.4 inches deep. According to The Garden Counselor, one bale may cover up to 1,000 square feet. You do not need to remove the grass, as it will decompose with time.
Make sure not to over-cover the seeds. If the seeds are over-covered, it will prevent the seed from germinating. This is because the seed wouldn’t get enough light due to the thick layer of straw. Overcovering the seed with straw can also make the seed boil because the straw will heat up because of sunlight and will cause the seed’s environment to heat up too. Plus, if too much straw is present, they will not decompose which will cause us to manually remove them. While doing so, this might damage the growing plant.
How Long To Leave Straw On Grass Seed?
Leave the straw mulch in place until the young grass seeds reach a height of about 3 inches. Depending on several conditions like weather, this can take anywhere from three to five weeks after planting.
The grass seedlings will have established strong enough root systems to take water from deeper levels of the soil at this stage, eliminating the requirement for straw covering to keep moisture in the soil.
Even if covering grass seeds with straw is not a must, it still is a very beneficial step to get beautifully sprouted grass. The straw can act as a shield protecting the grass seed from excess sunlight and birds, and also keep the seed warm and moist until it germinates.
It is important to remove the straw when the seed has grown into a shoot to allow it to get proper sunlight, water, and other necessaries to grow. It is also very important to not overcover the seeds because this may cause much more damage than leaving them with no covering.
Like everything, too much or too little can cause problems. Making sure to use the proper amount during the appropriate moment is the key to success in many things, and so does in seeding lawns.
Here is a good debate if you should use peat moss instead of straw.
Does straw help grass grow?
In a way, yes. Spreading straw over grass will help the seed stay in a warm and moist environment until it germinates and grows. The straw will also reduce the excessive rays of sunlight falling on the seeds, damaging the seed.
How many bales of straw are needed to cover grass seed?
While the quantity of straw you use depends on the size of your lawn and how thickly you want to spread the seed, I’ve seen many people advocate using 1 bale of straw every 100-300 square feet these days.
Can you put grass seed on top of straw?
Putting seeds on top of straw wouldn’t be helpful in any way. It will not hold the moisture nor cover it from being blown away by wind, rain or birds. Furthermore, putting staw under the seeds will make it harder for them to get water and other necessary germination from the ground. So putting seed on top of straw is a bad idea.