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How Many Bales of Straw to Cover Grass Seed?

In the middle of the summer season, you are planning to renovate the front lawn in front of the house. You know that you have to plant grass the first time, and you also know it will take some time to make the lawn look the way you want. 

But you are concerned about how many bales it will take to cover grass seed.

While the amount of straw you use will depend upon the size of your lawn, as well as how thickly you want to cover the seed, these days I see a lot of people recommending that you can use approximately 1 bale of straw per every 100-300 square feet.

Again, I believe the answer to this question depends on the size of the area that you are trying to seed as well as the type of grass seed that you planted. 

A bale of straw typically weighs about 700 to 900 pounds, and is produced from the stalks of a wheat or rye plant. Straw bales can be purchased in bulk at most garden centers.

You don’t want to use too much straw because you don’t want the grass seed to be covered up and not be able to establish itself. 

On the other hand, if you use too little straw, the straw will decompose before the seed germinates. 

The amount of straw you need to cover 1,000 square feet depends on the type of seed you are using.

As always, you’d want to ensure that the grass seed you choose will grow well in my area. 

You should also check to ensure that it will grow well with the species of grass you have on your lawn already. 

In addition, you should consider the type of grass that you already have. 

If you have tall, hardy grass, for example, you may wish to choose a grass seed that grows well with that particular species. 

If you have a different type of grass, you will have to look for a seed that will work well with it.

Why you should be using straw on your seed 

It’s not exactly a secret that good old American grass seed will not grow well on bare dirt.

Still, I’m not surprised that many people wonder if they need to cover the grass seed when they lay it down. 

It will depend on the type of grass seed you are using and the type of soil you have in your yard. 

Seeding your lawn is a simple and cost-effective way to get a lush and green lawn. 

However, it can be difficult to get the seeds to germinate if the conditions are not just right. 

One of the most important steps is to take a look at the soil composition and make sure it’s the right mix for your grass type. 

The soil needs to be able to breathe and have good drainage so that the seeds are not sitting in water for a long period of time. Also, the soil needs to have a good level of water retention.

This is where the use of straw comes in. Straw is an excellent material for aerating the soil and helping it to breathe, but at the same time maintain moisture.

If you are planning to seed a new yard, I would suggest that you use straw or hay to cover the seed.

It needs a covering to protect the seed from extreme heat, cold and moisture

Additionally, straw will suppress weeds by blocking out sunlight.

It is also biodegradable, which makes it an environmentally friendly choice as well as a cost-effective one.

Other coverings I can recommend are hay, leaves, or grass clippings. The first two choices together with straw are all pretty much the same: It’s just a matter of convenience. 

If you’ve got a lot of time and yard waste, pick up some free grass clippings from a friend or neighbor. 

If you’re trying to get the job done quickly and have to buy the stuff, straw and hay are the same thing. 

And if you’re looking to save money, go with hay.

How much will straw cost for your specific project 

These days, many people are looking for ways to replace commercial plastic products that can be purchased to protect plants with something more environmentally friendly and less wasteful. 

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to find reusable alternatives that are both convenient and sustainable. 

While they can be a bit pricey, most people agree that the extra cost is worth it.

There is no set price for straw bales for a seed covering project. 

The cost for straw bales will vary depending on where you buy them and how many you need. 

You can expect to pay somewhere between $3 and $6 per bale, depending on your location. 

This is a one-time purchase that should last you a couple of months, depending on how many straw bales you need. 

For a small seed covering project, you should expect to pay somewhere around $100 to $150 for the straw bales. For a large seed covering project of 1 acre or so, you should expect to pay somewhere around $250 to $500 for the straw bales (based on our calculation of 1 bale per 300sqft).

How to prepare land for straw to cover seed

Spring is the time of the year when homeowners begin planning for a summer of work in the yard. 

Raking leaves, mulching beds and planting flowers are all part of my outdoor chores. 

Fall is another time to think about yard work, because after the holidays, you may want to sit back with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy the view outside. 

But the first step is preparing the yard for either the very hot or cold season by covering the ground with straw.

The key to preparing your lawn for straw to cover seed is first to make sure you have an aerated lawn

Lawn aeration will loosen the soil and relieve compaction. Turf that is compacted will not allow water to penetrate the soil or air to circulate, resulting in a compacted lawn that does not grow well. 

If your lawn is compacted, rent a power aerator and aerate your lawn. 

If possible, aerate the day before or the day of seeding; immediately aerate and water into the evening, then seed the lawn the next day. 

When a seed is planted in a well-prepared soil, the chances of the seed taking root and growing into a healthy, vigorous plant are much greater.

How to put down straw for grass seed 

When it comes to laying down straw for grass seed, there are a few things you will need to consider in order to get the job done right. The amount and type of straw you use is important, since straw that is too thick may not allow the seed to reach the soil. You will also need to make sure that you cover your entire lawn, since leaving spots uncovered can cause your seed to dry out.

  • When planting a new lawn, you have two options:

(1) Lay down straw as a seedbed, or 

(2) simply lay down grass seed directly on the soil. The first option, using straw, is more effective than the second because it helps the grass seed germinate and grow faster.

  • Once you have your bales, you will need to lay them out in a line. It’s best to use a line so that your straw is evenly dispersed.
  • We lay the straw down over where we have the grass seed applied. 
  • We do this to help suppress weeds, keep the soil temperature cooler and help protect the seed from the birds. 
  • We are careful not to pack down the straw, so that when we water the grass seed down, the water will not run off the seed. 
  • The straw acts as a barrier to the water, so it will hold it in the soil and the seed will get all it needs.

How to cover sod

Even if you’ve never laid sod before, you know that getting a beautiful lawn means more than just watering, mowing, and fertilizing. 

To me it also means having lawn covered with a layer of grass so thick it looks like a carpet. 

Once that is done, I must keep the grass healthy and growing at the same time I keep weeds from taking over.

The most common way of covering sod is with a thick layer of straw. 

This layer of straw or mulch protects the new sod from the hot sun and cold weather and helps the grass get established. 

One of the easiest ways to protect it is by using a “basketweave” pattern, where you lay down a grid of bales around the outside of the lawn. 

The number of bales you need depends on the size of the area you’re covering, and whether you’re using large or small bales.

It’s important to know that covering sod with straw is only part of lawn care. To keep your grass healthy, you must also feed the lawn, remove weeds, and water it regularly.

Wrapping up 

If you’re planting grass seed for your lawn, you’ll need to cover it with organic material like straw. 

But how many bales? 

It’s all going to depend on the type of seed you’re using and the length of time you’ll need to hide it. 

For example, if you’re planting tall fescue, you’ll need about three to six bales for a 2,000-square-foot lawn. (The average cost of straw bales is $3 to $4 per bale.) 

How long will that supply last? That depends on how thickly you spread the straw. A bale of straw will cover about 300 square feet of ground when spread at an inch deep.

Reference

Halopka, R. (2020, January 13). Hay Market Demand and Price Report for the Upper Midwest For January 13, 2020 [PDF]. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin.

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