The amount of grass seed you spread per 1,000 square feet depends on the type of lawn you are growing and other factors. The amount of sunlight and foot traffic your lawn receives also determines the correct amount to apply to the lawn. Every grass type must be seeded at its recommended rate for a lush, thick-growing lawn. Applying too much grass seed results in a slow establishment time, and spreading too little creates bare areas in the yard.
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Sunny General Areas
If your lawn receives plenty of sunlight and moderate foot traffic, you may use general seeding recommendations. For example, Kentucky bluegrass is seeded at 2 to 3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet, perennial ryegrass at 4 to 5 lbs. per 1,000 square feet and tall fescue at 6 to 8 lbs. per 1,000 square feet. If you're growing warm-season grass types such as bermuda, you should seed at 1 lb. per 1,000 square feet.
Not all types of grass tolerate shady locations. Cool-season grass mixtures are typically blends of grass types such as Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue and perennial ryegrass. When distributing a cool-season grass blend in a shady location, use 40 to 50 percent fine fescue, 40 to 50 percent Kentucky bluegrass and 10 percent perennial ryegrass at a rate of 4 lbs. per 1,000 square feet. Warm-season shade-tolerant grass such as zoysia may be seeded at a rate of 1 to 3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet.
The grass seed distribution rate for recreational turf or lawns with a high level of foot traffic is different. For example, perennial ryegrass for recreational turf must be seeded at a rate of 2 to 5 lbs. per 1,000 square feet. However, perennial rye grass for regular foot traffic is 4 to 5 lbs. per 1,000 square feet. Check the label on the grass seed to use the correct amount for recreational grass areas.
How to Apply
When seeding your lawn, divide the amount of grass seed you need by half. To figure out how much grass seed you need to use for the entire area, measure the length and width of the yard. Multiply the two measurements together to get the square footage. Use one-half to distribute over the lawn horizontally with a grass spreader. Distribute the other half vertically over the lawn. Cover the grass seed with 1/8 inch of dirt.