If you aren’t familiar with lawn care and maintenance, you may think how hard growing a lawn can be. You can just spread the seeds on the lawn and water it regularly, and voila! You have a brand-new lawn with velvety new grass.
But unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it seems. You’ll be in for a rude awakening when you discover only a handful of seeds have sprouted into the grass. The rest of the seeds have either become the food of birds or pests or washed away, blown, or dried out due to weather.
So, if you don’t want to waste your money, effort, and time, you should invest in covers for grass seeds.
The best cover for new grass seeds offers protection from birds, insects, pests, and extreme weather alike. Some covers contain mulch and fertilizer thus providing moisturizer for rapid growth and germination.
Now before choosing a cover for your new grass seeds, consider the material they are made of. As different material provides different properties, which in turn makes the cover distinct in feature.
Here let’s take a look at the guide below that can help in your search for grass covers.
What is the Best Thing to Cover New Grass Seeds with
When reseeding an existing lawn, there is not much to think about covering the new grass seeds. Because they get enough protection from the grass blades already.
But when you are seeding on a brand-new lawn, the seeds need to be protected from the sun and rain. Otherwise, they could be washed away or dried out before having a chance to germinate.
The covering shouldn’t be very thick because the seeds also need sun exposure to germinate. So, a thin layer of soil would be sufficient usually except for hillsides. As there you need straw or something similar which is harder to wash away.
So, it’s important to cover your new grass seeds with the proper material or it may end up doing more harm than good. There are a variety of options for covering grass seeds in order to protect and keep them moist. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and what works best for another may not be best for you.
One of the most common materials used to cover newly planted grass seeds is straw. Wheat, barley, and oat straw are popular options effective for covering.
Some recommend pine straw as well; however, it can be harmful as pine straw contains terpenes, a chemical that affects the growth of nearby plants. But if you want to use pine needles, try the aged variety with brown needles that no longer have any aroma.
You need to use only a light covering of straw as about half of the soil and seeds should be visible through the layers. Besides improving the germination rate of the grass, there are some benefits of using straw to cover grass seeds:
- Keeps the grass seeds moist and warm
- Prevents grass seeds from being washed away or blown
- Protects seeds from excess sunlight
- Discourages birds and other mammals from feeding on grass seeds
- Adds organic matter and nutrients to the soil after it decomposes
- Budget-friendly and readily available
If you don’t want to use straws, mats, or any commercial products, you can always try using compost as an alternative for covering grass seeds. Regular compost and mushroom compost both work well as inexpensive green options.
You can make your own compost using fallen leaves, kitchen scraps, grass clippings, wood chips, animal bedding, and other organic materials from your home. However, you need to finely screen the compost before applying. Because if you use non-decomposed organic matter in the lawn or garden, it may attract birds to feed on the newly-planted grass seeds.
The best option would be to evenly spread a ¼-inch layer of compost over the grass seeds to add nutrients and help retain moisture. Not only that, but compost also provides benefits such as:
- Results in a high seed germination rate
- Lowers the dependency on fertilizers
- Great at absorbing and keeping moisture
- Improves soil and provides better growth
Mulch is another effective covering for new grass seeds as it improves the soil, conserves moisture, and prevents weeds from germinating. Sawdust, peat moss, and specialized commercial mulch all can be used to cover the new lawn.
Since sawdust is much finer than straw, it is another great alternative to straw for covering grass seed.
Sawdust mulch should not be more than ¼ inch thick and you should apply it very lightly. Because the dust particles can create a barrier that affects evaporation. And due to slow evaporation, excessive water will end up damaging your young seedlings.
Another thing to remember is that sawdust mulch can leech nitrogen from the soil and so it should be regularly applied with a fertilizer.
Peat Moss Mulch
Generally, peat moss is used to enrich poor-quality soil, but it is also an excellent mulching material. Moreover, being organic, it further enriches the soil after it decomposes.
For effective grass seed germination, make sure the peat moss is hand-loosened enough before applying it over the newly-seeded lawn. If you apply the peat moss in its thick, sticky state, the grass seeds will starve for moisture as the covering will soak up most of the water. On the other hand, moisture easily seeps through hand-loosened peat moss into the soil below.
Similar to sawdust, peat moss should be used in a layer no deeper than ¼ inch. It’s best used in places that are humid, not windy and have a low chance of heavy rain.
Specialized Commercial Mulches and Seed Coatings
Nowadays, manufacturers offer a biodegradable product that is essentially grass seed bundled together with mulch, dye, and fertilizer.
It helps to lock in moisture and allows good aeration and drainage. Plus, it decomposes, and as a result, enriches the soil with nutrients.
However, these manufactured seed mulches are better suited to flat lawns. Only a mix-in mulch or coated seed have a harder time trying to keep the seeds in place in a sloped area. Besides, commercial products are much more expensive compared to compost and mat coverings.
Made with natural materials like wood fibers, seed mats are another type of coverings for grass seeds. They are pretty straightforward to use; you just need to roll them over the lawn and hold it tightly. Naturally, these are useful to use in areas with hills and slopes.
Excelsior mat is made of aspen wood fibers and belongs to a type of seed mat. It’s typically used for erosion control. In areas with silt or sandy soil, an excelsior mat helps stabilize the soil around the grass to keep it in place. Although make sure, the mat you’re using to cover grass seed is untreated and completely natural.
Another type of seed mat is a jute germination blanket which is used to keep the grass seeds in place and protected. A jute germination blanket keeps seeds in an even layer regardless of the weather or the type of soil conditions. Moreover, a biodegradable jute germination blanket can improve the soil as well as improve water absorption and erosion control.
Transparent Polyethylene Plastic
Plastic film can be another effective alternative to straw, compost mulch, or other soil add-ons. Transparent polythene allows light to reach grass seeds and help them grow.
Polyethylene film is basically a large sheet of plastic to cover the seeded areas and can be held in place with stakes or rocks. It’s good to use in the hottest summer months.
That’s why go for a clear sheet instead of black or another dark color in case of overheating. You need to lift the film during the warmest part of the day to check if the soil gets over warmed. Also, blue, green, or other color films may interfere in the growth of the grass seed. As soon as seedlings start sprouting beneath the film, you should remove it.
However, not all plastics are designed as grass covers. So, you need to make sure the one you’re choosing is specifically made for your grass seeds.
5 Best Cover for New Grass Seeds
Grotrax Biodegradable Grass Seed Cover
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For those who don’t want the mess and hassle of traditional lawn care methods, Grotrax provides the easy way out! Their fabric-based grass seed cover offers an all-in-one package that comes with grass seeds, mulch, and fertilizer.
Each roll contains the latest in grass growing technology, including high-quality seeds from leading Oregon growers. You just have to roll out the cover on the lawn and it’ll take care of the rest.
The mulch moisturizes the grass seeds and the fertilizer provides germination and fast growth. Plus, the two biodegradable fabric layers protect the seeds from washing away.
The 100 square feet roll is large yet lightweight and easy to use. You can simply roll out the mat to grow an entirely new lawn or cut it into patches to fix damaged areas. Besides, you can use it in full sun or even in shady areas or around trees.
With a medium-bladed texture and medium to high drought resistance, this seed cover is perfect to use in the summer when you want a lush green lawn, or in the fall and winter when you need to protect your lawn from the cold.
- Superlight and easier to apply
- Cheaper than traditional sod
- Premium seed blend designed to grow in all climates
- Fast germination and uniform growth but require less water
- No artificial roll
- Covers may blow away on windy days
- Multiple rolls needed to cover the whole lawn
- Takes a long time for grass to grow out properly
Valibe Plant Covers Grass Seed Protection Mat
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During winter, it’s pretty common to lose your favorite lawn grass and have a harder time growing new seeds. To save you from frustration, why not use the Valibe Plant Cover!
This plant cover protection from Valibe is made from a non-woven polypropylene fabric with breathable properties. This cover protects the plants from frost but allows sunlight to reach the plants, thus resulting in germination and rapid seedling growth.
This Valibe plant mat has a coverage of 300 square feet and can cover a large area of your lawn, bush, or plants. Not only is this cover breathable, but it’s also lightweight and durable. Your plants will be protected from animals, frost, washout, and even glaring sunlight. Even during winter, the plants will be moisturized and protected.
However, when using the cover in winter, you should cover the plants before sunset so the ground heat is trapped inside overnight. And next day uncover the plants when the temperature rises above freezing. Also, you can secure the protection mats with soil, stones, or staples.
Another value addition of this product is that the manufacturer will provide a full refund if your cover tears or falls apart within 2-8 weeks.
- Large coverage of 300 square feet of lawns or bushes
- Keeps soil and plants from overheating
- Protection from insects and pests in an organic way
- Made with durable yet breathable material
- Effective in reducing the intensity of the sunlight
- Polypropylene isn’t biodegradable
- Too thin for single-digit temperature and heavy snow
Burlapper Burlap Heavy-Weight Natural Grass Cover
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The Burlapper Burlap Heavey-Weight Garden Fabric works great as a cover for the new grass seeds and crops. It’s made of 100% burlap meaning the cover is made from jute woven natural fabric.
Jute is safe for the environment and biodegradable. That means since it degrades slowly, you’ll be able to use the burlap mat for several seasons to cover your lawn.
The natural fabric makes it possible to absorb moisture and lock it inside, creating a perfect growing environment. Jute is similar to mulch in that way. Plus, it also protects the crops and grass from birds, pests, or insects. Not only that, but your grass will also be protected from washouts, windburn, freezing rain, snow, cold and similar extreme weather.
The burlap comes in a pack of 40 inches by 30 feet measurement. The fabric is 25% tighter woven and thicker. Besides, you can customize the size according to your requirements.
- 100% Natural burlap jute construction
- Easily customizable with scissors
- Ideal for decorating and crafting as well
- Durable for multi-season use
- Massive coverage at a modest price
- Some customers complained about the chemical odor
- Only cover without mulch and fertilizer included
Punada Premium New Grass Seed Cover
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The Punada Premium Protection Cover is designed to cover a large area of your lawn. It is ideal to use as a bed of plants or as a row of sticks to support the covers and protect seedlings from snow, wind, and frost in the wintertime.
Made from a material with an anti-UV function and breathable fabric, this cover helps to protect plants from damage caused by the sun’s rays. Additionally, the cover allows air and moisture to reach the plants, helping to ensure that they are healthy and flourishing.
As this Punada cover is constructed with a durable, UV-resistant, resilient material, it can resist a wide range of weather conditions. Plus, it comes in 8 feet by 24 feet size and you can cut it or resize it according to your need.
In addition to preventing cold, and frost damage during winter, it also keeps insects away from plants and seeds. Moreover, the fabric is sturdy enough that with proper care you can reuse it year after year.
- Protects plants and seedlings from harmful UV rays
- Great as frost and pest protection
- Easy to cut and customize into shapes
- Multiple-use over years
- Full refund guaranteed
- Durable and breathable fabric for longevity and growth
- Turn hotter inside the cover during the daytime
- Some quality control issues
Dewitt AEC-SEGRN4 Biodegradable Cover
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The DeWitt Curlex I Single Layer Erosion Control Blanket is best suitable to control land erosion in commercial or residential landscaping areas.
This biodegradable excelsior cover is made with a minimum of post-consumer recycled content and is dyed green for aesthetic purposes to give the appearance of grass already in place. Plus, because this cover is made from plant-based materials, it breaks down naturally in soil over time, reducing the need for costly disposal options.
It also features a patented drainage system that helps water run off the cover for quick and easy irrigation. The photodegradable netting on top is used for erosion control in urban drainage, stream banks, and waterways.
A pack of 8 blankets is enough to cover 4 feet by 112.5 feet of space at ease. Moreover, it has a 2:1 slope which makes it easy to fit any highway embankment, waterways, lawn, stream banks, etc.
- 100% recyclable and eco-friendly manufacturing
- Excelsior protection against natural odds
- Great for difficult places to grow grass
- 8 packs can cover a large area
- Easy to install
- Poor quality control
- Some users complained about quick degradation
What to Look for When Buying New Grass Seeds Cover: Buying Guide
Generally, picking out the cover for grass seeds isn’t that much hard work. Just consider some factors while searching for covers and you’ll end up with your desired product.
The cover should be able to engulf the entire length of your garden or lawn. It should be sufficient enough for the lawn and don’t leave any space uncovered.
Some covers come in small sizes, so you need to buy multiple covers in that case.
Again, some covers are available in multiple packs. Make sure the multi-packs can cover the whole space before buying.
Some covers only work as a mat to protect the new grass seeds from external environmental factors. These mats only prevent severe damage from rain, wind, bugs, etc.
However, some covers include seeds, mulches, and fertilizer in the same pack. So, decide beforehand which type of grass seed cover you want and plan accordingly.
Whether you are an eco-lover or not, you should always go for the eco-friendly option. For instance, biodegradable covers work well for covering grass seeds and they are great for the environment as well.
These covers get mixed with the soil after a certain time so make sure they last long enough for the seeds to grow fully and create a grassy lawn. Alternatively, if you want to use your grass seed cover for several seasons, you can choose the burlap or polypropylene-made covers. The polypropylene mats are extremely durable as well.
Will grass seed grow if not covered?
To be honest, grass seeds will grow even when not covered. However, you will face difficulties and have a harder time trying to grow grass seeds without covering them. That’s why it is recommended to add a layer of compost, straw, mulch, or commercial coverings over the top of your new seeds to keep them moist and help with germination. Also, the seeds need to be protected from birds, pests, and extreme weather occurrences as well.
What do you cover new grass seed with?
Straw, compost, or mulch are often used to cover new grass seeds. A thin layer scattered on top would be enough to keep the seeds carried away by water or wind. Besides, they retain the moisture to keep the seeds from drying out.
Is it good to cover grass seed with straw?
Straw is one of the cheapest ways you can cover the grass seeds on your lawn. Spreading a thin layer of straw will keep the newly planted seeds moist and warm enough for germination. Keep it until the new grass comes out.
What can you cover grass seed with besides straw?
Alternatives to cover grass seed with besides straw are compost, peat mulch, sawdust, pine straw, polyethylene foil, erosion mat, etc.