Do You Have To Rake In Grass Seed?

Planting grass can be a daunting task, considering all the factors that play into a beautiful lawn. Which begs the question; Do you have to rake in your grass seed? Not sure? Don’t worry we’ll go over all of it, the what, when, and how. Bases? Covered. 

You’ve accepted the task of planting a beautiful lawn, and we’re committed to helping you through the process. You’ve prepared the soil, picked the grass seed, and mentally prepared yourself (we hope). Now, let’s take a look at this properly planting grass business.  

Do I Need To Rake In My Grass Seed?

First things first, is raking in grass seed necessary? Now, this depends on how far along your lawn is. In other words, is grass already planted? 

If you are just doing some retouching on the thin and dying parts of your lawn, you don’t need to worry about raking in the grass seed. The seed will work its way in between the existing blades, protecting them from erosion. Additionally, the rake tines will not reach the grass, making raking ineffective. 

If you’re completely renovating your lawn, raking in the grass seed is essential. After the initial spread, there isn’t good contact between seed and soil, which will slow or completely stop the germination process. For the most effective results, raking grass seed into new soil is necessary. 

Now, let’s say the grass is already established, but there are bare patches here and there. You guessed it, get the rake out. The seed does not have blades of grass to work itself into and is exposed to the elements.

Why is Raking In Grass Seed Important?

Raking Dirt and Seed

You’ve probably concluded that raking is necessary 95% of the time. Now, let’s take a look at why it is important to rake in new grass seeds. 

For the seeds to successfully germinate, they need to be in the proper conditions, meaning good seed to soil contact. To prevent erosion and poor germination, seeds should be about a quarter-inch below the topsoil. No, you do not have to get your measuring tape out; trust us on this one.

Raking puts the seeds roughly a quarter inch below the topsoil, so mission successful. If a thin layer of soil does not cover the seeds, they will more than likely erode off the soil when you water them. The moral of the story, is rake your grass seed in. 

How To Rake In Grass Seed?

While there isn’t a meticulous process when it comes to raking in grass seed, there are a few different steps to set you and your lawn up for success. Believe it or not, the key to a beautiful lawn starts far before raking in your grass seed. Let’s take a look. 

  • Soil Test Kit – The best way to begin planting grass is with a soil test kit. This determines what nutrients the soil needs to reach its full growth potential. 
  • Remove – Or cleanse the soil, if you will. Remove any rocks, weeds, and roots that will hinder grass growth. 
  • Fertilize – Once you have tested the soil, and removed unwanted objects, fertilize the soil. This step will vary based on your soil’s needs, which are determined by the test kit. Starter fertilizer is an excellent option for most new lawns, as it promotes rapid root growth. 
  • Rake – After fertilizer is applied, rake the fertilizer 4-6 inches into the soil.
  • Seed – After raking in the fertilizer, the area is ready to be seeded. Spread the seedlings evenly over the desired area using a spreader. 
  • Rake – We’re guessing you and your rake are best friends by now. Turn the rake over and use the back to work the seeds about a quarter-inch into the soil. Avoid long, drawn-out strokes, as they tend to distribute the seeds unevenly. 
  • Water – Lightly water the newly seeded grass, avoiding high water pressure.
  • Relax – Kick your feet up and relax- excellent work. 

Take a moment, grab a glass of lemonade, and appreciate your hard work. Congratulations, you’ve successfully planted your grass seed. (Just don’t forget to water). 

Will Grass Seed Grow On Top Of Dirt?

Grass seed does not grow well when it is placed on top of dirt. This is for a couple of different reasons. One, being that no seed to soil contact occurs. As previously mentioned, the seed must be worked into the soil to grow properly. 

Now, let’s say you tossed the seed on the top of the soil without further action. We’ll tell you what happens, so you don’t have to figure it out the hard way. A majority of the seeds will be eaten by birds, eroded, or dried out. The remaining seeds will struggle to take root or germinate. Many seeds will not make it past this point, leaving your lawn excessively patchy. 

In other words, we don’t recommend leaving the seeds exposed to the elements. 

Other Factors To Consider

Raking Grass Seeds

Aside from raking, other factors will affect your grass’s ability to grow. This includes the environment you live in and the quality of the planted seed.


The environment is an important aspect to consider when it comes to planting grass. The area you live in determines the type of seed (ex, cool, warm) you need to grow. Once you’ve determined what season grass works best in your area, you can choose a mix of seeds that fits your needs and thrives in your area. 

Seed Quality

When planting grass, it is essential to keep an eye on the quality of the seed. As a general rule of thumb, the seed you purchase should have a germination rate of 85% or higher to be considered good quality grass seed.