Peat Moss or Straw for Grass Seed?

When managing a lawn, you can use either peat moss or straw moss as a way to fertilize your plants. For faster results, use peat moss. For environmentally friendly results use straw. By the end of this post, you’ll have enough information needed to use both effectively for your porch or lawn.

Can You Cover Grass Seed With Peat Moss?

Yes, you can peat moss to cover grass seeds. Usually, you can place the peat moss on newer lawns to help the grass seed grow faster. The peat moss protects the grass seed from wind, birds and rain.

In addition, using peat moss prevents the soil from drying and keeps the grass seeds hydrated. When using peat moss, the grass seeds germinate faster than their regular rate.

Straw vs peat moss – Which is better

Peat Moss

Peat moss is characterized by its brown appearance and its ability to enhance the soil. It’s made out of decomposed organic material and is used by lawn owners for their gardening projects. Using peat moss, you’ll find it easier to increase your grass’ growth rate while protecting it from weather and sunlight issues.

Remember, peat moss can expire. After being applied, the peat moss begins to decompose immediately. Usually, the peat moss will last for 1-2 years and can expire your potting mix if not used properly.

Peat moss Pros

  • Doesn’t Bring Weeds To Your Lawn

When planting grass seeds, peat moss should be added to prevent ongoing weed growth on your lawn. Peat moss doesn’t contain any seeds or weeds in them. Plus, they don’t contain pathogens that can damage your lawn.

With peat moss, you can cover your lawn’s bases and disinfect it from previous weeds. As a result, you’ll be able to maintain the soil while preventing weeds from ruining your lawn’s aesthetic value.

  • Protection From Birds and Elements

Birds tend to eat grass seeds, making them a huge threat to a growing lawn. Place the peat moss on the seeds before the germination phase to experience maximum growth.

Peat moss protects the seeds from heavy winds and strong rain, making it weatherproof. Birds would eat the grass seeds if they were bare and the wind would blow them away. So using a bit of peat moss will help your grass grow properly.

  • Water Retention

Peat Moss improved the water retention of lawn grass, making it a suitable choice for growth. Loose soil has a low water retention capacity and insufficient water. As a result, the grass blades start to curl and lose their foundation.

When planting grass seeds, peat moss helps it retain water so it can grow faster. On average, it has 20x of its dry weight once wet. The peat moss acts like a sponge by holding the water and allowing the roots to absorb it. Including peat moss will help add water to your turfgrass anytime.

  • Protection from Diseases

Since peat moss is a sterile form of fertilizer, it can protect your grass from pathogens during the growth stage. It doesn’t include weed seeds or microorganisms, making it easier for the grass to grow safely. Many lawn owners use peat moss because it helps their plants grow without the risk of diseases or infection.

  • Creates Acidic Soil

Peat moss is used to manage pH levels. When planting acidic-based fruits such as blueberries, add a small amount of peat moss to help regulate the soil.

It can be used to neutralize alkaline soil via lowering its intensity. This allows you to grow camellias and other plants that thrive in neutral soil.

Peat Moss Cons

  • Environmental Impact

Peat moss takes thousands of years to form, making it a nonrenewable resource. The peat moss that you see comes from American and Canadian bogs. Once the peat moss is fully extracted, it’s gone for another millennia.

Harvesting peat moss releases CO2 (carbon dioxide) and methane. Once released into the air, it can start negatively affecting the ozone layer and oxygen around us. Both gasses are known to cause global warming so you’ll have to be careful when using it.

  • Doesn’t Work on Certain Plants

Peat moss turns the soil’s pH balance to an acidic rating. However, not all plants can survive in acidic soil. This means that plants such as blueberries, daylilies and raspberry seeds are unable to grow with peat moss. If you on using peat moss, check the pH balance levels to ensure it doesn’t cause a negative reaction with the plants nearby.

  • Expensive

Since peat moss is non-renewable, it’s sold at a higher price than traditional soil. Fortunately, there are more affordable alternatives such as compost and coconut coir.

On hot days, you can use traditional mulch to improve water retention. While peat moss is expensive, there are multiple ways to ensure that your lawn is growing correctly. Try using renewable resources (ie. straw) if you want a more cost effective form of grass growth.


Straw is an environmentally friendly alternative to peat moss. It can be used for traditional seeding purposes as it provides a basic source of protection for your plants. Since straw comes in bales, it’s a lot easier to find and obtain than peat moss.

Straw : Pros

  • Sunlight Protection

While sunlight is an important aspect of photosynthesis, too much of it can damage your seeds and plants. Straw helps cover the grass seed and prevents it from washing away via rain. Because of this, you should add straw to your lawn during the summer to prevent your grass seeds from overheating.

  • Soil Utility

Like peat moss, straw can be used to help regulate the soil. When in use, it allows the soil to stay at a neutral pH level, allowing for more plants to grow on it. Try using straw if you are planning to grow grass seeds without having to cause too much damage to the soil.

  • Environmentally Friendly

Straw is less invasive on the environment in comparison to peat moss. However, you should not apply straw too thickly or it will negatively affect your grass roots. Unlike peat moss, it does not contain chemicals such as methane that can destroy your lawn if overused.

Straw :Cons

  • Damages New Grass in the Removal Process

When grass seeds go through the germination stage, they have young roots that have to be nurtured. Removing straw after the germination period will damage the grass if not done correctly. Make sure the grass seeds are fully established before removing straw from it.

  • Difficult to Apply

Straw is known for its messy application process. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing grass fertilizer to look at and requires skill to apply to properly. When the wind speed is high, it is more likely to break off into smaller pieces.

  • Weed Seeds

One of the biggest disadvantages is that straw has weed seeds. This will allow for weeds to grow at the same rate as the grass. You’ll have to remove weeds periodically to help maintain your lawn.

When applying straw, don’t use a rake to remove it. This will cause the weeds to interfere with the grass blades in the soil. Instead, use a weed remover or remove itmanually.

Which is Better to Grow Peat Moss or Straw for Grass Seed cover?

Use peat moss if you’re experienced at lawn management. It works by keeping the soil regulated and has a faster germination rate than its straw counterpart. Through peat moss, you can keep your grass growing at a reasonable rate and speed through the germination process.

However, peat moss isn’t suited for every lawn project. For example, if you have a smaller lawn, it’s better to use straw because it provides similar benefits and is more cost effective. For optimal results, check the size of your lawn and determine which will work better for your grass.

Straw is a good choice when your grass is after the germination phase. That’s because straw helps retain moisture and heat from the sun. You’ll still have to be careful when using it, as it will damage your grass soil if it’s removed early.

How to Use Peat Moss

Peat moss is used for potting soil or as a soil amendment. It can be used for acidic plants such as camellias as it helps keep the soil at a neutral level. Since it doesn’t break down easily, one peat Moss application can last for several years.

Take the environment into consideration when using peat moss. It does release carbon dioxide, which can kill your plants if you’re not careful. So always use a reasonable amount to ensure your grass grows quickly and safely.

How to Use Straw

Start by placing a thin layer of straw in a patch of grass. The mulch from the straw will protect the seeds and retain the soil’s moisture levels. Keep the straw on top of the grass seeds until the grass is tall enough to be mowed down.

After the grass is mowed, you can either allow it to decompose within the grass blades or remove the straw. Only now the grass when the seedlings reach 2-3 inches tall to get optimal results.

Also read

Best Peat Moss Spreader

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