Will Grass Seed Grow Under Leaves?

Autumn brings pumpkins, chilly weather, sweaters, and lots of falling leaves! Many experts recommend a fall seeding for cool weather grass. Are you concerned about leaves on overseeded lawn?

A few leaves may actually help protect the grass seeds and seedlings! However, a heavy blanket of leaves may cause issues for new lawns. Keep reading to find out more about grass seed and autumn leaves.

How many leaves are too many?

A few leaves on top of grass seed is not a problem. In fact, it may even help the growth of the grass seeds. The leaves may act as a source of moisture and protection from wind and scavengers. Leaves can even act as an insulator and hold in heat as the days turn cold.

However, a thick blanket made up of multiple layers of wet leaves can smother fragile, young grass. The grass won’t be able to push through the leaves, and the leaves will keep sunlight from reaching the grass.

How can I remove leaves from grass seed?

How can I remove leaves from grass seed

If you have a thick layer of leaves on top of your grass seed, it is best to remove them. Be careful not to walk on top of your new grass seed or seedlings, though! Try one of these methods to remove the leaves carefully.

The mower method

This method uses your lawnmower to get rid of the leaves for you! Be careful not to walk on newly planted grass seed. The tires of the mower may compress a small area of seeds. This method is best if you have a dry layer of leaves that is not too thick.

Materials needed

  • A lawnmower
  • Yard waste bag or can

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Set the mower blades to 2 inches or taller.
  2. Carefully mow over the leaves. Mulched leaves are a great material to protect grass seedlings!
  3. If the layer of mulched leaves is very thick, remove some of them.

The leaf blower method

A leaf blower is a quick and effective way to remove a lot of leaves! Be careful not to blow away grass seed or damage seedlings with the blast from the leaf blower.

Materials needed

  • Leafblower
  • Rake
  • Yard waste bag or can

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Hold the leaf blower at a parallel angle to the yard. This will help keep the seeds in place while you remove the leaves.
  2. Carefully blow all the leaves off of the seeded spot.
  3. Rake the leaves into a pile and dispose of them.

The rake method

Sometimes, simple tools are the best! You can use a garden rake to remove leaves from grass seeds or seedlings.

Materials needed

  • Rake with a telescoping handle
  • Yard waste bag or can

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Use the backside or the flat side of the rake to scrape away the leaves gently. A telescoping handle can help you reach all the leaves!
  2. Rake the leaves into a pile and dispose of them.

When is the best time to plant grass seed?

You can plant grass seed at any time during the growing season. However, depending on your climate and the grass seed, new seeds will thrive in different seasons.

Warm weather grass, such as bermuda grass and zoysia, will grow best if it is planted in the spring. This type of grass is common in yards in the south, where the weather is hot in the summer and temperate during the winter.

Cool weather grass is found in the moderate and cooler climates of North America. It includes varieties such as tall fescue, ryegrass, and other cool weather blends. It is best to plant cool weather grass in the late summer or early fall.

How can I help new grass seeds grow?

How can I help new grass seeds grow

There are other ways to help grass seeds grow and flourish into a healthy yard!


Aerating your lawn before planting allows air, water, and nutrients to reach the root system of the grass. Aerating will also maximize seed to soil contact.

Peat Moss

Peat moss is an all-natural soil conditioner that helps retain moisture right next to the growing seedlings. It also protects the seedlings from wind and scavengers.


New grass seed requires a lot of moisture to germinate. Water the grass seeds just enough to soak the ground 2-3 times a day after planting until the seeds sprout. After the seedlings appear, water them every two to three days.

Frequently Asked Questions

You asked, we answered! Here are the answers to the questions we hear most often about leaves and grass seed.

Can grass grow through leaves?

It depends on how thick of a layer of leaves there is. A few small dry leaves will not cause a problem for new grass seedlings. Larger leaves in multiple, thick layers will thwart grass growth.

Should you rake leaves after planting grass seed?

It’s best to remove all the leaves from the area before you plant grass seed. However, if the leaves fall after planting, sometimes they need to be removed.

Don’t use a rake the traditional way, or you could destroy the new grass! Instead, turn the rake over and use the flat side to scrape away the leaves carefully.

Will fallen leaves kill grass seed?

Will fallen leaves kill grass seed
Opened horse chestnut shells and leaves and oak leaves on the green grass.

A few leaves may actually be beneficial! They can insulate and protect the new grass. A lot of leaves, however, may kill the seedlings.

Will grass seed grow in leaf mulch?

Leaf mulch is often used as a protective layer over grass seed. It’s important to apply the mulch in a light, airy layer so that the grass seedlings can push through.

Final Thoughts

Early autumn is still the best time to plant cool weather grass seed. A few leaves won’t threaten your grass seed! If a thick blanket of fallen leaves is a concern, use your mower, leaf blower, or the flat side of a rake to remove them from the grass seed.