If you have a large area on your property that you want grass on, you may be wondering what your options are.
The first option that often comes to mind is to use sod. While this can work, it’s often expensive and labor-intensive. Even if you do all the labor yourself, it still can be expensive and the work is not exactly easy.
You can also choose to simply spread grass seed around in the area. This is the cheapest option and relatively easy, but the seeds often get taken by local birds or wind and rain wash them away before the seeds take hold.
But an interesting option is somewhere in the middle. A seed mat allows you to roll out a mat, similar to sod, but mats are much lighter and easier to transport and put down. Many of these mats have grass seeds already in place and are held by a biodegradable woven material.
It’s a great option to bridge the gap between expensive sod and somewhat ineffective seed spreading by hand.
Below, we’ll look at the top seed mats you can buy for your lawn to help save money and still get nice, full green coverage.
Grotrax Grass Seed Mats
Price: $45 – 100 square foot roll
Gotrax offers a variety of seed mats and most are differentiated by their sizes and areas of coverage. You can find mats ranging from 50 square feet to 100 feet square feet, depending on your area of coverage. They also offer varying seed types like Bermuda Rye or other blends.
You can also combine these to cover larger areas or cut them down as needed.
The Gotrax uses a biodegradable mesh to hold the seeds in place. There are actually two layers of mesh, and the seeds are sandwiched between them to hold them in place. The seeds themselves are surrounded by fertilizer to help them germinate. This means you really only need to add water on a regular basis.
Overall, we liked the Gotrax seed mats. The mat is not extremely durable though so people and pets need to stay off the area for a while as the seeds take hold. But as long as you follow the directions and water this on schedule, you will get results fairly quickly. Grotrax also has a nice variety of seeds based on your area.
The initial grass is a bit thin as is expected, but it does thicken over time with proper care. The mesh took longer than we thought to totally disintegrate, which left a bit of an unsightly look behind for a while, but it does clear up and this is typical with seed mats. Although some biodegrade faster than others.
Amturf Sun & Shade Seed Blanket
Price: $35 – 100 square foot roll
The Amturf is another great seed blanket that offers some great features that help it stand out from other options.
To start, they use a special mesh that is made from mulch that seems to biodegrade more evenly and faster than some other products. This can make the transition from bare dirt to grass look a little better in some cases.
They also use their patented seed technology which they call Double Time. This technology also claims to need less water and fewer pesticides to deal with possible weeds. This can make this a nice eco-friendly option for those who want to limit their pesticide or fertilizer use as much as possible.
Similar to other mats, they can be damaged easily so make sure to keep kids and pets off the surface. But other than that, these really only need water and time and you will soon start to see grass coming up.
They come in 25-square-foot rolls and 100-square-foot rolls and can also be combined or cut rather easily to fit almost any size. The Amturf mat is best suited for northern states and uses a mix of seeds including ryegrasses and improved Kentucky Bluegrass, among others.
Jonathan Green Black Beauty Seed Mat
Price: $40 – 50 square foot roll
Black Beauty is a type of seed sold by Jonathan Green, a well-known supplier of grass seed for home and commercial use.
The Black Beauty seed mat is meant for the northern half of the United States as the weather there suits the seed type the best.
The grass used for this mat is known for being thicker than more traditional grass blades, so this means the initial growth from these is a little thicker and more appealing than other mats which can start a bit thin at first.
Overall, you’ll see grass from this mat in about two weeks after regular watering. The Black Beauty mats only come in 50-square-foot rolls so are best for smaller areas.
Pennington Netless Seed Mat
Price: $30 – 39” X 18’ roll
The Pennington Seed mat is best for those who need a specific type of seed for their climate or soil and a mat that comes with its own seed just isn’t available.
The Pennington mat allows you to use your own seed, then you place the biodegradable mat over it. It’s a good option for those who simply can’t find a good pre-made mat to match their soil or conditions.
It works exactly the same as the previous mats, you simply add your own seed before using the mat as a cover. This makes the process very similar, except you do have to stake these down every few feet or so to keep the seeds tight underneath.
The mat is made from natural wood fibers and we found it biodegraded completely soon after the grass started to take hold with little residue left behind.
Dalen Grass Fast
Price: $30 – 40” X 50’ roll
This is another option for those who need to supply their own seeds to fit their climate or simply their own personal taste in grass types.
The Dalen Grass Fast is somewhat thinner than other options, but we wanted to add it for those who prefer this sort of mat. The benefits are that it degrades much faster once the grass starts coming in. However, the trade-off is that it is not as durable. So heavy storms or winds before the grass comes in could be a problem
But for those who need to use their own seed mixture and want a fast biodegrading mat, the Dalen is a great option.
Tips To Get The Most From Your Seed Mat
We’ve found the biggest issue when people don’t get good results from seed mats is that they don’t prepare the soil before application.
Make sure to at least rake the area to be covered and remove all debris, rocks, or weeds. If you know the soil already has a problem, try to mix in the necessary dirt needed to improve it such as topsoil or mulch. However, if you do this it must be evenly raked in with the existing soil. The mats and seed must be touching the soil below it, not a mulch layer.
Try to rake at least 2 inches deep to fully break up the soil.
As for watering, each mat may have its own instructions, but generally, you want to keep them wet all day with a gentle sprinkler, not a direct hose or high pressure aimed at the mat as this can wash away the seeds and fertilizer mix.
Once the grass grows, wait until it is about 3 inches before the first mow. Mowing before this can harm the grass. You also want to make sure to use a sharp mowing blade to be as gentle to the grass as possible in this early stage.
By following those basic instructions, you should be able to get very good results out of a seed mat. These also take less effort and you save money compared to a sod installation. Best of all, you can start seeing grass in about 15 days with the right watering schedule and soil prep.
So check out the list of seed mats above and pick the one that’s best for your situation, whether that be one with seeds included or a mat to use with your own seeds.