How Many Pounds Of Grass Seed Do You Need Per Acre?

Figuring out exactly how much grass seed you need to cover an area of your lawn is often a challenging process, as there are many factors you’ll need to account for. 

The size of the area, the type of grass seed used, your budget, and even the quality of the seed you used will all affect how many pounds of grass seed you’ll require for a lush, vibrant, beautiful lawn.

The best way to determine how much seed you need for an acre is to simply refer to the seed manufacturer’s recommendation for covering 1,000′ square feet and multiply it by 43.56 since an acre contains about 43,560′ square feet. 

To better understand how to calculate how many pounds of grass seed will get your particular job done, keep reading. 

We’ll go over all the different factors affecting how much seed you’ll need, the best grass varieties to use, as well as how much hay you’ll likely need to cover the seed once it’s planted.

how many pounds of grass seed per acre

How Much Grass Seed Do You Need For One Acre?

The exact amount of grass seed needed to cover a single acre varies significantly depending on how sparse the existing grass grows. 

If you’re merely overseeding an existing lawn, you’ll generally only need around 10 to 40 pounds per acre. 

However, if you’re starting from scratch, much more seed is necessary to fully cover the ground.

Most cool- and warm-season grass blends generally recommend using between 3 and 10 pounds per 1,000′ square feet. 

For more details on this specific question, check out our dedicated article on how much grass seed you need per square foot.

An acre has exactly 43,560′ square feet. 

This means you’ll be able to easily calculate exactly how much grass seed you need by multiplying how many pounds is recommended for 1,000′ square feet by 43.56. 

For example, if the manufacturer recommends using 5 pounds of grass seed for 1,000′ square feet on a new, bare lawn, just multiply 5 by 43.56 to figure out how much you need for a single acre.

This comes out to just under 218 pounds for an acre.

From there, you’ll also be able to calculate how much grass seed you will then need for multiple acres! 

If you need to seed 5 total acres of your lawn, multiply the 218 pounds mentioned above by 5. 

This comes out to about 1,090 pounds to thoroughly seed 5 acres of a new lawn.

This is a general estimate, though, and certain grasses recommend using different amounts. 

Some grasses require as much as 12 pounds for a 1,000′ square foot lawn, while others only need two or three pounds to cover the same sized area. 

Additionally, the difference between overseeding an existing lawn and reseeding a brand-new lawn is vast. 

While you would likely only need about a pound or two of seed to reseed 1,000′ feet of an existing lawn, you should generally expect to require at least twice as much to seed a new lawn from scratch. 

Quick Reference Table For How Much Grass Seed You Need

Size Of Lawn5lb of Recommended Grass Seed Per 1000’ sq ft12lb of Recommended Grass Seed Pet 1000’ sq ft
1,000’ sq ft5lb12lb
10,000’ sq ft50lb120lb
20,000’ sq ft100lb240lb
30,000’ sq ft150lb360lb
43, 560’ sq ft (1 acre)218lb522lb
87,120’ sq ft (2 acres)536lb1,044lb

The Easiest Way To Find How Much Grass Seed You Need

If the above method is still a bit too complicated, there’s an even simpler one at your disposal, and all you need is a phone or computer to access it! 

Lowe’s has a handy online grass seed calculator that considers various factors, from the climate zone you live in to the type of grass you want to use to whether you’re seeding a new lawn or overseeding an existing one.

The calculator certainly isn’t flawless, but it provides pretty reliable estimates if you have no idea where to start when it comes to determining the approximate amount of grass seed you’ll need to cover your entire lawn.

By using this calculator in combination with your grass seed manufacturer’s general guidelines, you’ll be able to get a decent range of roughly how much seed is necessary. 

It’s best to go ahead and buy and apply a bit more than you think you’ll need. 

It’s always better to have a bit of seed leftover rather than having to frantically calculate precisely how much of your lawn is left and how much seed you now need to cover the remaining space.

How Much Does It Cost To Seed An Acre Of Grass?

The cost to seed an acre of grass also depends heavily on the type of grass used and how much grass seed is necessary for light coverage, i.e., overseeding versus heavy coverage like seeding a football field or seeding a brand-new lawn from scratch. 

As we touched on in the previous section, depending on numerous factors, you’ll either potentially need only a couple dozen pounds of grass seed up to thousands of pounds to cover bigger yards with multiple acres! 

Certain types of grass seed cost more than others, but in general, a 10 lb. bag of seed usually costs between $15 and $40. 

Once you’ve calculated approximately how much seed you need to cover your lawn, you’ll be able to pretty quickly and easily figure out how much the total amount of seed will cost.

For example, perhaps you live on two acres and have determined you need 7 pounds of grass seed for every 1,000′ square feet. 

Since an acre contains 43,560′ total square feet, multiply 7 by 43.56 to figure out how much seed you need per acre. 

This comes out to just under 305 pounds per acre, or 305 x 2 for two acres, or 610 pounds of seed needed for the total acreage.

Now, say the type of grass you want to use costs $20 for a 10 lb. bag. 

Divide 610 by 10 to find how many bags you need, which comes out to about 61 10 lb. bags of grass seed. 

Finally, just multiply 61 bags by the $20 cost per bag, which comes out to $1,220 to seed the 2-acre yard in this example.

Can You Put Down Too Much Grass Seed?

It’s certainly possible to put down too much grass seed if you aren’t careful, which often results in too many seeds competing for resources within a single area. 

In turn, specific patches of the newly-planted seeds won’t germinate and grow normally. 

If the seeds aren’t germinating correctly within a week or two after you planted them and certain spots are growing a lot better than others, the density of the seed is probably too high in the more sparse areas. 

Some of the more densely-seeded patches will initially produce very lush-looking grass, but they will usually be wiped out by fungal infections or other lawn diseases very quickly.

When you’re planting your grass seed, it helps to use a seed spreader to ensure the seeds are evenly distributed throughout your lawn rather than being dense and clumpy in some areas and sparse in others. 

While it is a good idea to buy a bit more seed than you think you need, you don’t want to always have the same attitude towards how much seed you apply to your lawn. 

You’re always able to add more seed to sparse areas, but thinning out the dense patches is a lot more challenging to tackle.

How Much Hay Do You Need To Cover One Acre Of Grass Seed?

Covering your newly-planted grass seed with a layer of hay or straw will help protect it from the elements, most importantly wind and rain. 

The protective layer will prevent the seeds from eroding and washing away before taking root. 

Want to use peat moss instead? Our guide for covering grass seed with peat moss will help.

As a general rule of thumb, a single bale of straw is usually enough to cover about 2,000′ square footage of any given yard. 

For an acre of land, somewhere between 20 and 25 bales is sufficient to protect the grass seeds while they germinate.

The best thing about using straw or hay to protect your new grass seeds is it also provides a nutritional boost to the seedlings! 

As the straw slowly breaks down on top of the seeds, the seeds absorb their nutrients, which helps them grow much faster and healthier. 

You usually won’t even have to remove any straw or hay after the seeds have begun sprouting since, at this point, it’s usually completely decomposed.

Check out this chart for a general hay recommendation. 

Size Of Lawn# Of Bales Of Hay
1,000’ sq ft0.5 bales
10,000’ sq ft5 bales
20,000’ sq ft10 bales
30,000’ sq ft15 bales
43, 560’ sq ft (1 acre)23 bales
87,120’ sq ft (2 acres)46 bales

What Is The Best Grass Seed For Overseeding?

When overseeding a lawn, there are many different types of cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses which work well for different climate zones. 

Generally, it’s best to simply use whatever type of seed the existing grass in your lawn grew from, but there are many other options if you aren’t sure what type it is or if your yard is made up of a blend of grasses.

Some great options include:

  • Bermuda grass
  • Zoysia grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Tall fescue seed blends
  • Annual or perennial ryegrass

All of these quality seeds grow quickly and are hardy and vibrant for when you need to fill in sparse patches of your yard. 

They’re also relatively low maintenance, so they don’t require much upkeep to grow and thrive, and each type’s seeding rate is quite fast in optimal conditions.