How to Grow Carpetgrass Seed: A Step-by-Step Guide

Growing carpetgrass from seed can be the easiest – and most economical – way to establish this popular grass. Carpetgrass (Axonopus compressus) is a perennial grass that loves wet, sandy soils and is often used as a low-maintenance turf grass.

carpetgrass seed

It is commonly used in warmer climates and in regions where other grasses might have trouble, such as in acidic and shady locations.

Your success in growing axonopus carpetgrass from grass seed will depend on an understanding of its preferences and seasonal growth patterns, as well as on your ability to adequately prepare the soil and time your seeding to the grass’s growth cycle.

To establish a lawn with carpetgrass seed, choose a site that gets full sun to partial shade. While carpetgrass does best in full sun, it does tolerate shadier conditions, providing a certain amount of versatility to a variety of other lawns and landscapes.

As with any grass, choosing the right time to plant is essential; carpetgrass seeds will germinate only when soil temperatures are warm.

For best results, plant your axonopus carpetgrass seed mid-spring through early summer, when soil temperatures are 70 to 75 degrees F. This will allow your grass to grow quickly and establish before the cooler months.

Proper soil preparation helps ensure the successful establishment of carpetgrass. Prepare a smooth and firm seedbed free of debris and weeds to maximize seed-to-soil contact.

Your seeding rate will vary depending on whether you desire the fastest coverage possible or whether you are willing to seed more economically and wait a bit longer for full coverage.

After planting, maintaining soil moisture is critical to germination and establishment of a carpet-like stand of carpetgrass.

Understanding Carpetgrass seed

Carpetgrass seed Axonopus compressus

Carpet grass, Axonopus affinis, is an attractive choice for anyone who needs a tough, low-maintenance lawn. It is easy to care for, requires no special mowing or fertilizing equipment, and tolerates a variety of soil and site conditions well.

Species and Varieties

Carpetgrass comes in three primary types: 

  1. Narrowleaf Carpet Grass (Axonopus affinis)

  • Carpetgrass axonopus affinis most often used in low-maintenance areas such as medians, parks, airports, and golf course roughs.

  • carpetgrass axonopus affinis tolerates low fertility soils and shade.

  • Blade width from 1/16-¼ inch (about 2–6 millimeters)

  1. Broadleaf Carpet Grass (Axonopus compressus)

  • Spread extremely fast, making it good for ground cover and it’s okay to graze it in orchards or plantations.

  • Not planted as often for lawns as narrowleaf carpet grass due to its more aggressive spreading habits.

  • This carpetgrass has wide leaves and wider than narrowleaf carpet grass, wide leaves means its in between ½-¾ inch (approximately 1.3–1.9 centimeters)

  1. Louisianagrass (Axonopus fissifolius)

  • This is often the name people think of for broadleaf carpet grass, but Louisiana carpetgrass is native and has a specific variety within the genus Axonopus carpetgrass.

  • Creates a denser mat-like covering than broadleaf carpet grass.

  • Thrives in very wet environments and is more common in the Southern U.S.

  • Louisiana carpetgrass is native to the Gulf States and tropical areas, and they spread by underground stolons (or rhizomes) instead of putting out new shoots from the crown.

Although there are few varieties, they are widely adapted to different environments and other tropical climates and are chosen for use because of their ability to grow in difficult areas where most other species of grasses won’t.

Climate and Soil Requirements for Grass Seed

carpetgrass axonopus affinis thrives under warm and humid conditions, which makes it suitable for both tropical climates and subtropical regions other tropical climates. It’s not frost-tolerant and grows best when temperatures are above 70°F consistently.

It can grow in relatively infertile sandy soils of the east, and can withstand wet conditions; this being said, it prefers acidic sandy soils of the east. Its pH range is 5.0 to 6.5.

Planting Carpet Grass Seed

Planting Carpetgrass seed

Successful carpet grass seeding depends on perfect timing, meticulous site preparation, and proper sowing techniques. The following grass seed guide will help you to establish a hardy carpet grass lawn.

Ideal Sowing Time

Sow the carpet grass seed between mid-April and the month of May. This will allow enough time for the grass seed to germinate when the soil is at its warmest. It’s not advisable to sow any later than September 15 as colder weather can stunt growth and establishment.

Site Preparation

Ensure that the soil is prepared and moist before sowing. It’s important to water the soil a few days before sowing so that it is sufficiently moist. Carpet grass prefers acidic soils so if necessary, adjust the pH.

Remove any debris, break up the top inch of soil, and level the area to create a smooth, flat seedbed.

Sowing Techniques

Use two pounds of seed per 1,000 sq feet for quick establishment when sowing. Hand broadcasting can be done for smaller areas, while a mechanical spreader is ideal for larger lawns to disperse the seeds evenly across the prepared area.

Lightly rake the area to cover the seeds with soil after sowing, then roll the area to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Keep the soil consistently moist until the seedlings are well established.

Maintenance and Care

Consistent watering, timely fertilization, and regular mowing are the keys to a healthy carpet grass lawn.


watering carpetgrass seeds

A carpet grass lawn needs consistently moist conditions, but you don’t want to overwater your landscaping. Whether from rain or your watering efforts, aim for about 1 inch of water per week. In times of drought, slightly increase watering efforts to maintain moist conditions.


Apply a balanced fertilizer to your carpet grass to encourage good growth during the active growing season. You’ll want to use about 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually, split into multiple applications to achieve the best results.


Maintain carpetgrass at about 2 to 3 inches tall. Mow frequently, never removing more than one-third of the height in a single mowing to avoid stressing the grass.

Carpetgrass uses, pros, cons, seeding tips, and where to buy them.


Carpetgrass is best suited for use in the southern regions as a turf grass. It’s also used for erosion control on pond banks and sloped areas and general plantings on low fertility, poorly drained, sandy soils where most other grasses perform poorly.

Carpetgrass use as a pasture grass is limited due to its low forage quality and palatability.


  • Tolerant of low fertility and acidic soils

  • Thrives in shaded areas

  • Good for erosion control

  • Requires less maintenance


  • Considered less attractive than other turf grasses

  • May require frequent mowing during active growth

  • Can crowd out other species

  • Tends to brown more quickly during drought

Seeding Tips: When sowing carpetgrass seed, begin with a well-prepared seedbed that’s been cleared of debris and weeds. Sow seeds in late spring to early summer when soil temperatures are warm. Keep soil consistently moist until germination occurs. After establishment, carpetgrass requires less water and can be maintained with minimal fertilization.

Where to Buy: Carpet grass seeds for sale can be found at most local garden centers in the Southern U.S. or online through specialized turf suppliers. Be sure to purchase from a reputable dealer to ensure the quality and purity of the carpet grass seed.

Frequently Asked Questions:
The following frequently asked questions will guide you through the essentials of growing carpet grass from seed, addressing common concerns, and providing straightforward advice to support the development of perennial grass on your lawn.

What are the ideal conditions for growing carpet grass from seed?

You’ll need warm, humid conditions and should expect that your carpet grass won’t thrive in an area where the average temperature regularly falls below freezing. It prefers acidic to neutral pH soil (5-7). Full sun, or partial shade, is fine, but good drainage is key.

How can I properly identify carpet grass versus most other species and types of lawn grass?

Carpet grass has a coarse texture and grows with a dense mat-forming habit. It has broader, flatter blades that are light green. It doesn’t creep like some grasses do. It is identified by the slightly wider blade than centipede grass, with a green/yellow color.

How can I encourage healthy growth when it comes to this perennial grass?

Balanced fertilizer is perfect for carpet grass, as it is a moderate feeder and nitrogen-rich fertilizers can promote healthy growth in this variety. A fertilizer with a ratio of 3-1-2 for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is perfect. It should be used in spring and late summer.

How does carpetgrass compare to Bermuda grass in terms of maintenance and appearance?

Carpetgrass requires less maintenance than Bermuda grass and will give your lawn a more “home-grown” look. As an added benefit, it stays greener in the heat of summer. While Bermuda grass is technically a finer texture, it looks much more dense and requires more frequent mowing.

What can you expect the growth rates to be for carpetgrass after planting seed?

Carpetgrass seed will start to germinate in 7 – 14 days under good conditions. On a newly reseeded lawn, the grass may be under 30 days to being established, and a few months to put together forms a dense mat of coverage.

How can you get even germination when planting carpetgrass seeds?

To get even germination, spread the seeds evenly across a well-prepared loose, level soil bed. You can shield them by lightly covering the seed with soil. It is important to keep the seed consistently moist; water lightly twice a day until germination is successful. Overwatering can push the seed around, so be sure not to use too much at once.

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