Can You Cover New Grass Seed With Grass Clippings?

Growing grass can be a long, tedious process without the right tips and tricks. Planting it is one thing, but now what? There are several ways to nurture your freshly seeded lawn, covering it with specific items, grass clippings being one of them. 

We know, growing grass seems like a full-time commitment. You just planted your grass, and now you have to do more? With the proper knowledge, it can be easier than it seems. Not too sure? Keep reading, and your new grass seed will be a beautiful lawn in no time (ok, it might take a bit of time). 

Why Is Covering Grass Seed Important?

Why do you even need to cover new grass seed? If grass seed is not covered, it is left exposed to the elements, hindering its growth. Let’s start at the beginning. 


Grass Germination

Covering grass seed increases the likelihood of germination. This is because the cover traps heat and moisture and supports seed to soil contact. All of these factors are needed for the grass seed to establish a robust root system. 


Because the seeds have not yet sunk into the ground, they are exposed to elements such as excess water and wildlife. Too much water will cause the seeds to wash away (literally money down the drain). 

We know you want to grow grass, but wildlife such as birds don’t share the same vigor you do and tend to eat new grass seed. By covering the freshly planted seeds, birds are less likely to ruin your dreams of a beautiful lawn, leaving the seeds alone. 

Will Grass Clippings Smother Grass?

When laid in the correct quantities, grass clippings will not smother grass seed. Keep in mind, grass seed does not require the same levels of cover as a newly planted tree, or shrub does. A thick layer of grass clippings will prevent necessary sunlight and trap too much moisture in the soil. This creates the perfect environment for fungal growth (gross, we know). 

On the other hand, the grass clippings should not be spread too thin, as not enough moisture is provided, and excessive sunshine reaches the seeds, drying them out. A quarter-inch of grass clippings spread evenly is the ideal amount of coverage for grass seeds.

Will Grass Clippings Help New Grass Grow?

When used correctly, grass clippings will help grass seeds grow. It is important to remember the grass seed still needs ventilation, so the cover cannot be too thick. That being said, the fertilizer from grass clippings is very beneficial to new grass seeds. 


It may sound odd that putting grass over grass would promote growth. Let’s break it down. Grass clippings break down into a natural fertilizer for the new seeds. The clippings contain the same compounds as the new seed, including the nitrogen, water, and nutrients necessary for growth.

How To Get The Most Out Of Grass Clippings

How To Get The Most Out Of Grass Clippings

We know, the entire process of growing grass might sound a bit overwhelming. Considering the grass is planted, the rest of the process is easier than it sounds. We can almost see you shaking your head, but we promise, it is. To properly lay the grass clippings, follow the directions below; 

  • If you are cutting grass to then lay it over new seed, make sure to start with the proper mower. Mulching and push mowers are perfect for this. If you are using an electric mower, make sure the blade is sharp to cut the grass evenly.
  • The clippings can be placed in a bag or left in the yard to dry. Allow about one day for the clippings to dry. 
  • Once dry, spread a thin layer over the top of the new grass seed. Although it might be tempting, do not lay the clippings too thick over the grass seed (unless the goal is to grow fungal).

Now, take a moment to appreciate your hard work. You’re pretty much a pro at this point. The grass clippings will decompose in 1 to 3 weeks. After the first week, the clippings may no longer be visible. At this point, they have sunk into the ground and begun to provide nutrients for the new grass seed.