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How to Grow Grass in Dry Dirt [Follow This 7-Step Guide]

The move to my new house didn’t pan out to be a perfect one. A little patch of my lawn had dry dirt that couldn’t grow any grass at all. After a lot of trial and error, I finally succeeded in growing grass.

How to grow grass in dry dirt?

You have to loosen and fix the dry dirt before planting any grass in it. The grass won’t thrive if the soil is not well prepared before planting. Arrangements should be made for the soil to possess adequate air and other organic components. Proper mulching will help hold the moisture in the soil.

A snippet can only hold so much information. To properly understand the technique, you need to read the entire article from top to bottom. Why not jump in right away?

What Causes Dry Dirt

Soil containing a high amount of sand and clay usually forms dry dirt. When that happens, the soil fails to hold onto moisture and lacks adequate organic matter.

Dry dirt forms when the soil becomes compact, leaving no room for air and water. Regular foot traffic over a certain area can make the soil formation compact. The foot traffic compresses the soil, filling up the holes for air and water.

Due to the lack of space, the soil loses the ability to retain moisture. This leads to a high reduction in organic matter in the soil.

Dry dirt is mostly common in clay soil as they are naturally compacted.

How to Grow Grass in Dry Dirt [7-Step Guide]

Growing grass in compacted soil is a very challenging task. The problem becomes more evident if you’re looking to grow grass on hills.

But luckily, there is a way to overcome this challenge and grow grasses properly.

I have explained the step-by-step process below:

Step 1: Assess The Soil Condition

The first step is to test the soil to learn about its condition. Collect soil samples from a number of areas of your yard and mix them. Send the mixture to the nearest soil testing service to get the status of the soil.

Step 2: Reform The Soil

You should get to work as soon as the soil test report shows up. The report will tell you about the condition of your soil and other information about it.

Detect the compact spots in your lawn and loosen the soil. Use a tiller to break up the hard, compact soil and add compost.  The compost must weigh about half the weight of the soil.

Step 3: Plant The Seed

Choose the type of grass based on the season.

Separate the seeds into two equal halves. Apply ½ of the grass in one direction on the soil and apply the rest diagonally.

Step 4: Blend The Seed into The Soil

Using a ¾ inch thick plywood with 15-20 driven nails, blend the seeds into the soil. Rake the lawn with the tool 3-4 times and water the soil up to several inches deep. 

Don’t try to level the ground while blending as it will clog the spaces in the soil.

Step 5: Mulching

Mulching is very important to hold moisture to the soil. 

Apply a large number of aged straws of hay on the soil surface. Water the seedbed several times a day. Don’t let the seedlings dry out.

Step 6: Applying Fertilizer

You should fertilize the soil by applying nitrogen fertilizer. A batch 0f 4-6 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer should be enough for 4 applications throughout the year. Fertilize the grass every two months to maintain its growth.

Looking for quality nitrogen fertilizer? Check out my recommendation of some of the top fertilizer brands in the market-


These fertilizers are made using the best ingredients to maximize the growth of your plants.

Monitor the use and application of fertilizer depending on the soil test. The use of chemical components like water softener salt kills grasses. So avoid them by any means.

Step 7: Regularly Aerate The Soil

According to expert horticulturists, the soil should be aerated at least twice a year. This frees up its compactness, increasing the supply of air in the soil.

You should avoid aerating the soil around spring. Perform aeration during the dry patches. Avoid stepping on the soil when it’s wet. Stepping on wet soil will only make it more compact, squeezing out the air from it.

How to Keep Soil in Good Condition?

Maintaining a healthy soil ecosystem means that I won’t have to worry about dry dirt formation. Looking after a few things on a regular basis keeps my soil in good condition.

The health of the soil should be tested every 3-5 years to learn about its status. A soil test will help you pick the proper treatment plan.

Improving the physical properties of soil is one aspect that you should focus on. Regularly adding organic matter to the soil improves its air and water retaining capability. 

If the moisture level of the soil drops below a satisfactory level, try mulching. Keep the use of chemical components to a minimum and occasionally aerate the soil.

That should be enough to keep your soil healthy and your lawn lively.


Question: Can I grow grass in clay soil?

Answer: Yes, you can. Clay soil can be a very good option for growing grasses. They can hold a massive amount of water and nutrients for your grass. But you’ll need to put some effort if you want to see your grass grow in it.

Question: Should I sprinkle my grass seed?

Answer: Sprinkling seed randomly isn’t the best option for planting grass seed. Doing so reduces their chances of growing as some of them won’t make it. Taking a patient approach and putting enough effort can enhance their growth.

Question: Can I grow grass to fill dirt?

Answer: You can grow grass to fill dirt, but they won’t thrive on it. Fill soli barely contains any organic components and can’t provide enough nutrients for grasses. Your best bet should be trying topsoil for growing grasses.

Bottom Line

That concludes our guide on how to grow grass in dry dirt. There should be no compromise when it comes to choosing high-quality grass seeds. You should fertilize your lawn at least 5-6 times a year.

We wish you a great day!