How Many Pounds of Grass Seed Do I Need Per Square Foot?

Are you staring out at a barren expanse of your backyard, dreaming of transforming it into a verdant oasis? Or perhaps, you’re renovating your lawn, trying to bring back its former lush glory after a rough season?

Either way, the question that’s likely bouncing around in your head is, “how many pounds of grass seed do I need per square foot?”

Quick Answer:

Grass seed needs vary by type and seeding purpose. Typically, for a new lawn, 1-2 lbs of grass seed per 1,000 sq ft is needed. For overseeding an existing lawn, about 0.5-1 lb per 1,000 sq ft is adequate. Always check seed bag recommendations.

Understanding the magic formula for grass seed application can save you time, money, and endless frustration. It’s like baking a cake – too much flour, and it’s dense; too little, and it’s crumbly. Striking that perfect balance in grass seed application is crucial for a dense, vibrant lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood.

Varieties of grass seed

If you have ever looked at the grass seed aisle at a hardware store, you know just how many varieties of grass are available! It can be overwhelming! To simplify the selection, grass seed usually either falls into warm weather grass or cool weather grass.

Warm weather grass

Warm weather grass thrives in climates with hot summer temperatures. In the US, warm weather grass is found in the southern regions of the country. It grows best in temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The most popular varieties of warm weather grass are:

  • Bahia
  • Bermuda grass
  • Centipede grass
  • St. Augustine grass
  • Zoysia grass

Cool weather grass

Cool weather grass varieties grow well in locations with warm summers and cold winters. The grass grows the fastest during the spring and fall when the temperatures are moderate (65-80 degrees).

The most commonly found varieties of cool weather grass are:

  • Bent grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Rough bluegrass
  • Fine fescue
  • Tall fescue
  • Creeping fescue
  • Perennial ryegrass

How Much Grass Seed Do I Need?

Before starting any lawn seeding project, it’s important to determine how much grass seed is needed.

Coverage Area

The coverage area is the total amount of space that needs to be seeded. This can be determined by measuring the length and width of the area and multiplying the two numbers together to get the total square footage. If there are multiple areas to be seeded, add the square footage of each area together to get the total coverage area.

Seeding Rate

The seeding rate is the amount of grass seed needed per square foot of coverage area. This rate can vary depending on the type of grass being seeded (see chart below) and the desired thickness of the lawn. Generally, a seeding rate of 5-10 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet is recommended.

Grass VarietyNew Lawn Coverage Pounds per 1,000 square feetOverseeding Coverage Pounds per 1,000 square feet
Bahia8-10 pounds4-5 pounds
Bent Grass2 pounds1-2 pounds
Bermuda Grass1.5-2.5 pounds1 pound
Buffalo3 pounds1-1.5 pounds
Carpetgrass2 pounds1 pound
Centipede0.5-1 pound0.3-0.5 pounds
Creeping Red Fescue5 pounds2.5 pounds
Fine Fescue5 pounds2.5 pounds
Kentucky Bluegrass2-4 pounds1-2 pounds
Paspalum*1 pound0.5 pounds
Perennial Ryegrass9-10 pounds5-6 pounds
St. Augustine**2 pounds1 pound
Sun and Shade Blend6 pounds3 pounds
Tall Fescue8-10 pounds4-5 pounds
Zoysia2 pounds1 pound

*Paspalum is a seashore grass. It is typically sold in sprigs, plugs, or sod form, though seeds are available, too.

**St. Augustine grass is rarely grown from seed. It is usually planted with sod or plugs.

Seed Quality

The quality of the grass seed being used can also impact how much is needed. Higher quality seed tends to have a higher germination rate, meaning that fewer seeds are needed to achieve the desired coverage.

Overseeding vs. new grass

Types of Seed

Overseeding is the installation of new grass seed with existing grass. It is used to fill in thin or bald patches in the lawn. Obviously, overseeding will require less grass seed than starting a lawn from scratch. Check out our grass seed chart to see the different requirements for overseeding versus new seeding.

Shade vs. sun

Grass seed needs moisture in order to germinate. A sunny area is much more difficult to keep moist than a shaded area. Use the chart above to determine your grass seed needs for your lawn. If it is in an area with full sun, use the upper end of the recommended range.

A shaded area has a level of protection from the sun that will help those seeds stay moist and grow well. You may want to stick with the lower number on the recommended amount of grass seed for areas that are in the shade.

For any area, water grass seed and young grass multiple times a day until the grass is established. This may take a month or so! The grass is mature when the blades are 2-3 inches tall. At that point, resume your regular watering routine.

General rule of thumb

If you are in a hurry and want a general ballpark figure, you don’t need to read any further! For the best results, calculate your grass seed needs by type of seed and square footage. Otherwise, a general rule of thumb is 3-4 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet for new lawns and 1-2 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet for overseeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will a 50 lb bag of grass seed cover?

There are a variety of answers to this question because there are a variety of factors to consider when it comes to grass seed! What type of grass seed are you using? Are you starting a new lawn or overseeding?

If you are overseeding with Bermuda grass, one pound of grass seed will cover 1,000 square feet of lawn. That 50-pound bag will go a long way! 50 pounds of Bermuda grass seed should cover approximately 50,000 square feet, which is well over one acre.

However, if you are starting a new lawn with a grass like tall fescue or perennial ryegrass, your grass seed won’t go as far. You will need about 10 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet of lawn. That 50-pound bag of grass seed will cover about 5,000 square feet.

It is important to know your grass variety! Read the instructions on the bag before you purchase and apply the seed.

How many square feet does a 25 lb bag of grass seed cover?

Again, grass seed coverage depends on many factors, but the most important factor is the variety of grass seed you’re working with. Let’s say you are using tall fescue grass seed to start a new lawn. You need approximately 5 pounds of grass seed per 1,000 square feet. Therefore, 25 pounds of grass seed would cover about 5,000 square feet.

How do I calculate how much grass seed I need?

First, determine the size of the area to be seeded. Next, find what kind of grass you need to plant. Follow our chart and do the math to determine your final number! Or, you can use this handy calculator from Lowe’s.

How much does grass seed cost per square foot?

Since there are such a wide variety of grass seeds, there are also a wide variety of prices! Buffalo grass is one of the least expensive types of grass seed available. It costs between $0.09-$0.16 per square foot.

Most of the other common types of grass seed typically cost between $0.30-$0.75 per square foot. Centipede grass is one of the most expensive types of grass seed at around $0.85 per square foot.

How many pounds of grass seed per acre for overseeding?

Check the instructions on your grass seed. Different seed varieties will have different applications. Most instructions will give you coverage information for 1,000 square feet. Here is where you will have to do some math.

One acre is 43,560 square feet. Divide that by 1,000, which equals 43.56. Next, multiply the amount of grass seed needed in pounds by 43.56.

For example, if you are going to use Kentucky Bluegrass to overseed your lawn, you will need two pounds per 1,000 square feet. 2 times 43.56 is 87.12. You would need approximately 87.12 pounds of Kentucky bluegrass seed to overseed one acre.

Can I put down too much grass seed?

Surprisingly, it is possible to plant too much grass seed! Think about it this way: grass takes resources like sunlight, water, and nutrients from the soil. If there is an overabundance of grass seed, each seed is fighting for its share of those resources. Too much seed equals not enough resources to go around.

So, if you have extra seed, resist the urge to keep on spreading it!

Grass Seed in Bag

Final Thoughts

Be equipped to make an informed decision when you purchase grass seed! Buying too much or too little may make a big difference in the appearance of your lawn and your budget! Determine the square footage of your property and the variety of grass to be planted.

Once you have that information, you can purchase and apply grass seed with confidence!