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Plant Grass Seeds on a Slope

You love the sloping scenery along the way and dream of the day when green grass covers the space. However, growing grass on bare slopes can be difficult. Here you will find information on how to plant grass seed on a slope to make your dream of a beautiful green carpet a reality.


What is a slope?

Tilt refers to how much the Earth’s surface rises or falls. As part of a land’s topography, slope is an essential measurement for understanding drainage and how water moves across the land.

Numerically speaking, slope is the change in elevation over a given distance. That is, the number of feet the ground rises and falls over a horizontal distance. In what direction does it fall? How do you measure the slope of your yard? Slope is often described as a percentage. For example, an area that rises 12 feet over a distance of 100 feet has a slope of 12%.

Why is slope important?

Slope is an important factor when planting grass seed and maintaining your landscape for several reasons.
➢ Slope is also important when seeding, planting grass, mowing the lawn, etc. Many
organizations and communities say the steepest grade is 15%. Others say your lawn should have a slope of less than 20%.
➢ Planting grass seed on slopes of 15% or more is to prevent grass loss due to soil erosion. Even a 15% slope can make it difficult to keep grass seed in place.
➢ Steep slopes can be dangerous when walking behind or mowing the lawn with a lawn
mower. It’s easy to slip on steep slopes when walking behind the lawn mower. Lawn
mowers can tip over while being driven.

What if the slope is too steep?

If the slope is too steep and hazardous to mow, consider alternatives. Typically, slopes are planted with low-growing plants that are less than 4 to 5 feet tall when fully grown. This is especially true if you want to view the scene from the bottom of a slope.

Terrace the slope by adding horizontal stones, trees, or low retaining walls every 3 to 4 feet as you go down the slope. The terraces do not have to be the same size and shape. Some may be round or flowing. Add plants to your terraced area.

Choose plants with strong, deep roots that help control erosion. The native Rhusaromatica was bred to control soil erosion on hillsides and slopes.

You don’t have to climb down a steep hill to find and care for low-maintenance plants. For native vines, low-growing evergreen shrubs such as junipers are good choices.
Mix deep-rooted prairie plants with flowering perennial herbaceous plants. Sedges adapt well to a variety of environmental conditions.

Ground covers such as lily of the valley, bishop’s cap, water parsley, and Japanese spurge are just a few of the plants that do well. Avoid invasive species wintercreeper, periwinkle, myrtle. Cover the slope with riprap or another type of rock mulch, or mulch the slope with shredded bark mulch.

Soil preparation on slopes

Preparing soil on a slope is the same as preparing it anywhere.
➢ Remove grass, weeds and stones.
➢ Coarse the soil or add about 1 inch of topsoil mixed with compost. This creates a loose surface for the seeds to stick to.
➢ Bevel the top and bottom of the slope to make it slightly flat. This will reduce the likelihood of your lawn mower scratching the area.
➢ Determine how many grass seeds to purchase by measuring the area.
➢ Buy the best grass seed you can afford.
➢ Choose the right seeds for your landscape: full sun, shade tolerant varieties, warm season or cool season varieties.
➢ Find seeds that will produce weeds that are drought and disease resistant.
➢ Deep-rooted grasses, such as tall fescue, are one type recommended for northern lawns.
Bermuda grass has deep roots. Rye germinates quickly and helps keep the soil in place until deep-rooted grasses become established.

Sowing method at a slope of 15% or more

When planting grass seed on a steep slope, install a temporary dam such as 1×4 at the top of the hill. This helps slow down rainfall and reduce soil erosion.

Sow seeds on a slope

Depth – About 6 inches deep. This is the area you will be planting a few days before sowing your grass seeds. Moisture helps sustain the seeds and begin the germination process. Stick a long screwdriver into the dirt and pull it out. Look for signs of wet dirt on the metal parts of the screwdriver. You can tell how deep soil moisture is by measuring how many inches of moist soil you have with a screwdriver.

➢ Apply seed according to the grass seed product directions. The label tells you how to set up the seed spreader to spread the correct amount.
➢ It is generally recommended to use a spreader to traverse the area.
➢ Lightly scrape and cover the seeds.
➢ Do not walk through the sowing area.
➢ Water the newly planted area lightly for 5 to 10 minutes to moisten the soil and water to a depth of 1 to 2 inches.
➢ Water twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes. Morning and evening are best.
➢ Cover sown seeds with clean straw, cheesecloth or burlap to protect them from birds, rain and erosion until the grass is actively growing. The straw can be left to decompose or raked from the lawn. I typically remove the burlap or cheesecloth once the grass has accumulated about 4 to 6 inches.
➢ Once the lawn is established, its roots must control soil erosion.

Slope hydroponic cultivation

You can rent a hydroponic planter that spreads mulch mixed with grass seed into the ground. In this way, oblique sowing can be carried out quickly. Spray while standing where you can reach all areas.

You may have seen this method used to sow seeds in an area after road construction. Since water is part of the process, the seeds are immediately hydrated. Follow hydroponic grower and product label instructions for subsequent watering.

Tip: Take appropriate safety precautions when using power equipment. Wear eye and ear protection, gloves, and closed-toed shoes.

Seed mat or blanket for slopes

Although more expensive, mats or blankets filled with grass seed and fertilizer can be one of the easiest and best ways to create green grass on your slopes. Most mats and blankets are made from biodegradable materials. Laying down blankets or mats and watering will eventually cause the mulch to collapse. Secure the mat in place with a turf stapler.

One of the benefits of these blankets or mats is that they distribute the grass seeds evenly, creating a lawn with no clumps or empty spaces. If you have a large area to treat, check with your local landscaping supplier (Add Support Links) to see if they have options for treating larger areas than what lawn and garden stores offer.

Germination typically occurs within 7 to 21 days. To prevent seedlings from drying out, you will need regular watering, about 1 to 11⁄2 inches per week. Do not mow the lawn for 4 to 6 weeks after laying the mat.

A mat or blanket will break down in about 90 days, sometimes shorter or longer. The covering that carries the seeds to the ground may be colored to camouflage the seeds while they germinate and grow.

Some mats or blankets are made of mesh to slow decomposition, and the net is often pulled out when weeds become overgrown. This can be dangerous because seedlings that are still growing may be uprooted. However, be careful not to let the mesh get tangled in the lawn mower. If you leave the netting in place until dismantled, raise the lawn mower to a higher height.

Over seeding, slit sowing or slice sowing on slopes

Flower pots and lawn mowers (Add Support Links) are also available for rent. They create shallow grooves or trenches in the soil and inject the seeds. Each of these machines is useful for repairing bald spots or reshaping low growth areas.

This method often eliminates most soil preparation except breaking up soil clumps and removing rocks. This method, also called power seeding, is more efficient than roughening the soil an planting weeds. This equipment helps the seeds to germinate in good contact with the soil.

Core aeration is often accompanied by heavy tillage or patch planting. You can rent an aerator. The machine pulls the core about 3 inches out of the soil and places it on the surface. At its core, it is similar to dog waste. However, as it decomposes over a period of two weeks, it adds micro nutrients  to the soil. Meanwhile, the pores allow water and other nutrients to reach the grass roots.

When is the best time to plant grass seed on a slope?

Fall is generally the best time to plant grass. However, if the slope is loose, sow the seeds as soon as possible. If you leave bare soil too long, weed seeds will fly in and take over. You can always choose seed blankets, mats, hydroponics or slice sowing.

Contact your local county extension office  for grass seed recommendations for your slopes. Local home and garden centers also have suggestions. They usually carry only the best seeds for your area.

When should you call a lawn care professional?

Maintaining grass growing on slopes can be difficult, especially if the lawn needs to be mowed.Once your lawn is in place, contact a local lawn care professional (Add Company Name) who will do their best to help keep your lawn growing.

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