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What are Grass Seed Mats and Do They Work?

In Grass Guides, Lawn & Garden, Lawn Care by Jamie

Imagine trying to grow a grass lawn in front of your home only to find the grass has grown in unsightly clumps. This is a common problem that arises when freely planting scattered grass seed. But is there another way to do this without risking clumpy grass?

Grass seed mats are an alternative method to seed scattering that evenly distribute seed for a more uniform look. This method is also recommended for lawns that suffer from soil erosion. Grass seed mats also go by a variety of different names, but they all complete the same job.

In this article, we’re going to go over exactly what grass seed mats are, how well they work, and other frequently asked questions about grass seed mats. We’ll also recommend five mats to get the job done.

What are Grass Seed Mats?

Grass seed mats are commonly used among homeowners that want to patch up bare grass spots or want a completely uniform lawn at a new build. Instead of freely scattering grass seed and risking a portion of those seeds to disappear after rain or wind, grass seed mats hold the seed in place so it can grow properly.

These mats are also known by several other names including seed germination blankets, lawn seed blankets, seed starter mats, and erosion control mats, to name a few. Although these blankets are known by many names, the purpose of each is the same.

Check out our related article “What Can You Cover New Grass Seed With?

Do Grass Seed Germination Mats Actually Work?

Seed germination mats do, in fact, work. However, it’s important to lay them correctly to ensure you maximize the effectiveness of the mat. Grass seed germination mats are also more effective than traditional seed scattering because seed scattering leads to a higher chance of seed clumps.

When seeds clump together and germinate, they will strangle each other. This then leads to clumpy lawns and bare spots. Using a seed germination mat instead helps keep the seeds evenly distributed throughout your lawn.

How Long Does it Take For a Grass Seed Mat to Decompose?

The amount of time it takes for a grass seed mat to fully decompose will depend on which mat you choose to use. With that said, you’ll find that many grass seed mats will begin breaking down after 90 days.

Although this may seem like a long time, most grass seed mats are colored in a way that will blend in with your lawn. While you could lift the blanket once you see seedlings growing, it’s not recommended as you can pull up the vulnerable seedlings in the process. Because it isn’t designed to be unsightly, it’s best to leave the blanket and allow natural decomposition to take place.

As for the stakes used to hold the blanket down, it’s best to use biodegradable wooden stakes. These stakes usually take around six months to fully break down. As long as the stakes are firmly put all the way into the ground, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Grass Seed Mats vs. Traditional Grass Seed Methods (Which is Better?)

Choosing between grass seed mads and other traditional grass seed methods can be difficult. When it comes to traditional methods, the most common practice is using a blanket of hay to cover your growing lawn.

Blanketing your lawn with hay while the grass grows works similarly to grass seed mats. However, you still run the risk of hay being blown around by strong winds. With that said, the hay is still effective in keeping grass seed in place.

In comparing both methods, we firmly believe grass seed mats are the better option if not for anything but convenience. Seed mats already come with seeds within the blanket, so you don’t have to worry about scattering seed evenly and then covering it with hay.5

Best Grass Seed Mats

1. Grotrax Biodegradable Grass Seed Mat Grotrax Biodegradable Grass Seed Mat - 110 SQFT Year Round Green - Grass Seed and Fertilizer All in One for Lawns, Dog Patches & Shade - Just Roll, Water & Grow - No Fake or Artificial Grass

This Grotrax grass seed mat is 110 square feet of biodegradable blanketing. It can also be purchased in 50 sq ft, 55 sq ft, or 100 sq ft. The mat is available in one of two styles: year-round green and Bermuda Rye. The mat contains seeds that are designed to grow in all climates, is designed to maximize watering efficiency, and the mat also has built-in fertilizer within the blanket.

2. Amturf Sun and Shade Mix Northwest Lawn Seed Blanket Amturf 25215 Sun and Shade Mix Northwest Lawn Seed Blanket , Green , 25 sq ft roll

This Amturf lawn seed blanket will cover an area of up to 25 square feet. The material is biodegradable and regular watering is required to ensure the grass fully grows. The blanket itself is made from pulverized mulch and is meant to biodegrade relatively quickly. Although the blanket is lightweight, it can be secured to the ground with stakes.

3. Ecoseed Grass Seed Germination Erosion Control Blanket Ecoseed Protector 4' by 50' Contractor Grade Grass Seed Germination Erosion Control Blanket for Homeowners and Professional Contractors (1 ct.)

The Ecoseed protector blanket here works best in full sun or very light shade. If you follow the recommended care instructions, you should see results within two weeks of staking down the blanket. This option is best for small to medium needs as it covers up to a 4 ft x 50 ft surface area. The net and straw materials the blanket is made from are completely biodegradable and manufactured in the United States.

4. Dalen Grass Fast – 100% Natural Grass Seed Cover Roll Dalen Grass Fast – 100% Natural Grass Seed Cover Roll – 4 x 50 feet – Protects Your Grass and accelerates Growth – Made in The USA

This natural grass seed roll cover is designed to not only protect the grass seed while germinating but also make the growth process go much faster than other rolls. The roll is also designed to maintain insulation and moisture to optimize growing conditions for the grass seed. It is made from completely natural products and also takes little to no time to unroll and stake down in your yard.

5. QuickGRASS PRO Erosion Control Blanket Roll QuickGRASS PRO Erosion Control Blanket Roll with Biodegradable Staples 2-1/2'x50' Natural

This erosion control blanket roll is compliant with most storm water management regulations and comes with 20 staples to help anchor it to the soil. Along with that, the blanket roll provides “super water retention,” which makes watering more efficient. The fibers in the blanket roll are designed to cling to the soil to help keep both it and the seeds in place.

With that said, this blanket roll doesn’t contain seeds inside. Instead, you’ll need to lay the seed down and then cover it with the blanket.

Grass Seed Mat FAQs

Does it Matter Which Side You Put Facing the Ground?

In most cases, it doesn’t matter which side of the grass seed mat faces the ground. The mats are usually made from mulch or hay and some type of netting, so the grass can easily grow through either side. With that said, you should always roll the mat with the beginning side facing you. Doing it this way will ensure you make uniform lines as you unroll.

What is the Shelf Life of a Lawn Seed Mat?

Grass seed can stay viable anywhere between three to five years. To store the mat for long periods of time, you should make sure that the roll is secured in a cool, dry area where moisture can’t get to it. Most professionals will recommend storing the lawn seed mat in an airtight storage bin.

Does it Matter What Grass Seed You Use?

To ensure the best results, it’s important to choose grass seed that thrives in the climate you live in. Along with that, you need to bear in mind how much sun exposure your lawn is subjected to as well as how often the grass seed will need watered. It’s also helpful to keep in mind how much foot traffic your yard will see.

Each of these factors will tell you exactly what type of grass seed to buy. To make it easier on you, there are some grass seed mats that come with “all-purpose” grass, which is grass that can grow in just about any climate or condition.

How Much Watering is Required?

In most cases, grass lawns need between 1-1.5 inches of water per week. Water can come from either natural rain or manual watering depending on the weather forecast. Grass is generally very difficult to overwater, so if you manually water the lawn on the same week that it rains, you’ll probably be okay.

To achieve 1-1.5 inches of weekly water, you typically only need to water your lawn once or twice per week.

How Long Does it Take for Grass to Start Growing?

When grown under ideal conditions, grass can begin growing anywhere between 7-21 days from planting. With grass seed mats, however, there are certain brands that boast faster germination and growing times. Although grass will grow within 7-21 days, it’s important to note that you should refrain from mowing your lawn for 3-4 weeks after seedlings sprout.

Do You Need to Remove the Grass Seed Mat Once the Grass Starts Growing?

Although some grass seed mats are made of synthetic materials, most mats are biodegradable. As long as the mat is made from biodegradable material, you don’t need to remove the mat after the grass germinates and starts to grow. In fact, it’s recommended to leave the mat to decompose on its own to avoid pulling up grass seedlings in the removal process.

Final Thoughts

Trying to achieve a uniform look with your lawn can be done so a lot faster by using grass seed mats. Not only that, but using these mats can also speed up germination and growing times so you can see results far quicker than with a traditional method.

Although there are a variety of different mats with differing names on the market, each one has essentially the same job. However, some mats will boast faster germination periods and some even come with built-in fertilizer.