How Do Grass Seed Drills Work?


Grass Seed Drill Basics

  • A grass seed drill is a type of metering system. While seed drill systems can be used for nearly any type of seed, thanks especially to recent technological advancements, grass seed is still one of the most common and easiest uses for seed drill systems. The theory is simple: a hole is drilled or pushed into the soil to make room for the seed, the seed is automatically deposited in the hole, and soil is pushed back over it, covering the hole again. This dodges not only laborious hand work but also ensures direct seed placement without massive soil overturning processes like rototilling.

    While some grass seed drills actually do use spikes to dig holes into the ground, this is a rare type of machine. Much more common are series of disks, or disk-shaped blades that turn into the soil, plowing thin lines down into the furrows. The seeds themselves wait in seed boxes just above the spinning disks. There are often two or more disks per seed box, and several seeds.

Grass Seed Depositing

  • The disks gouge deep lines into the soil, and the seeds drop from the seed box into the space, which is then covered by a following mechanism, sometimes no more complicated than a metal hood that flattens the soil. The "metering" part of the system comes into play when more seed is accessed to seed the next section of ground. Clearly, not all the grass seed can be dumped down at once, so the system meters, or slows down the flow of seeds to incremental amounts. Only a certain amount of seed enters the seed boxes at any given time. Sometimes, instead of seed boxes, a fluted system is used where grass seed passes through tubing that only allows a certain number of seeds out at a time.


  • There are many variants to this system. If multiple kinds of grass seeds are being used, then several different seed boxes are used, which drop down seeds at the same time into the cut soil. The number of seeds released by the boxes can be adjusted for greater or less density, and the depth to which the disks dig can also be changed. This last ability is especially important, because certain types of seed grow best at certain depths in the soil. But changing how far the seed driller digs into the soil, the user can ensure the seeds are placed where they have the most potential.

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