Bales of Straw Needed for Ground Cover

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Equation / Last modified by AndrewBudd on 2018/08/20 15:55
KurtHeckman.Bales of Straw Needed for Ground Cover

The Bales of Straw Needed for Ground Cover calculators computes the number ofFieldDimensions.jpg                               AREA COVERED Straw1.JPG    Pasture covered in oat straw for new grass.  IMG_2010.JPG                   The End Result regular square-bales of straw needed to cover an area such as a field, garden  or planter. 

Calculate the number of Bales of Straw:

  1. Choose length units (e.g. feet or meters)
  2. Enter the length (L) of the area covered.
  3. Enter the width (W) of the area covered.

Bales of Straw: The calculator computes the number of bales of straw needed to cover the area for seed growth.

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For a video on how to use this calculator, CLICK HERE.


When planting grass, it is often recommended to cover the seed with straw to protect the seed and encourage the growth of the grass and retention of moisture.  This answers the question, "How much straw do I need to cover grass seed?"

  • This formula uses 300 ft2 as the average area covered by one bale of straw or hay.  The number of square feet covered was computed in a larger application of 20 bails and averaged out.
  • This formula mentions hay.  However, straw is better than hay for ground coverage that is trying to encourage undergrowth in applications such as new grass seed.  Straw is often a little cheaper than hay.  For those who don't know the difference, straw is the remains (stalks) after the grain has been harvested (e.g. wheat and oat straw). Hay is grass that is allowed to grow high and cut before it goes to seed.  Hay has significant forage value (nutritional value) for animals like cows and horses where straw typically does not. Grass by Region.png      Types of Grass by U.S. Region
  • Coverage for planted grass seed is different than coverage as mulch for weed suppression.  If you are using straw as mulch (e.g. in a vegetable garden) you will need to make it deeper than covering grass seed.  This should make sense.  We want the grass to come up and grow in this application, but we want to stifle weeds when mulching.  To compute how much straw is needed for mulching, CLICK HERE.
  • Square bales are actually rectangular, roughly in the shape of a right parallelepiped (box). This formula returns the number of square bales of straw needed.  Straw is typically not processed into the large round bales.  That treatment is typically reserved for hay.
  • Type of Grass is a very important consideration.  Some grasses do much better or will not survive in different climates.  The graphic shows different types of grasses including: Bahai, Bermuda, Centipede, Bluegrass, Kentucky 31, Rye-grass, Shade Mix, St.Augustine, Sun and Shade Mix, Tall Fescue, Zoysia.  It also shows which parts of the country where they are commonly used.

See Also

Straw2.JPGSquare Bales