Lucas Palokangas
Albert Lea Seed Garden Center Horticulturist

When seeding new turf grass, we recommend a seed rate of 4-7 lbs of seed per 1,000 square feet (the equivalent of 175-250 lbs per acre). The following images illustrate what that looks like over a one-square-foot area.

A square foot of space seeded at 4 lbs per 1,000 square feet (left) and 7 lbs per 1,000 square feet (right).

Why this range?

Seeding at a rate lower than 4 lbs per 1,000 square feet may result in poor canopies, dry/compacted soil, and weed growth. Likewise, seeding at a rate higher than 7 lbs per 1,000 square feet likely won’t produce additional benefits.

What seed rate should I use?

Determining whether to seed at 4 lbs, 7 lbs, or somewhere in between really depends on how soon you want a full canopy to appear. Seeding at a higher rate will decrease the amount of time it takes to establish a full lawn, but it will also mean using more grass seed.

How much seed is my spreader actually applying?

If you’re seeking precision for your seeding project, it can be tough to decide where to set your spreader. To determine the rate at each setting, spreaders must be calibrated. You will need seed, a spreader, a broom, a scale, a tape measure, a calculator, and a smooth concrete surface.

First, sweep the concrete surface clean. Second, add seed into the spreader and set it at an estimated best-setting. Next, walk at a normal speed, spreading the seed over a measurable area on the concrete. Calculate the square footage (length x width) of the sample area. Then sweep up and weigh the dispersed seed. Now calculate the lbs per 1,000 square feet rate using seeding rate formula below.

This can be done at several settings on the spreader to determine the appropriate seed rate. This strategy can also be used for fertilizers. Keep in mind that every product used will be different, so be sure to adjust your spreader accordingly!