The best time to seed in the spring is mid-March through early April. Like fall seeding, the soil must first be prepared. The recommended method is verticutting. A verticut slices grooves in the soil that allows for the necessary seed and soil contact for germination.
Several distinct advantages make fall the best time to plant cool-season grass seed. In early autumn, the soil is still warm from months of summer sun. This combination of warm soil, moderate day temperatures and cool evenings encourages fast germination and establishment of newly sown cool-season grass seed.
Warm-season grasses, on the other hand, are meant to be planted in late spring or early summer. So yes, you can plant cool-season grass in spring, and you should shoot for April if you’re doing so. But, your lawn will have a much better chance at survival if you wait until later in the year.
It’s too cold to plant grass seed if there is still the danger of frost in the spring or if the first frost of the late fall has arrived. Cool season grasses should be planted in early spring, typically in March. Wait until late spring to plant warm season grass seed — May in most areas.
Cool-season grasses, bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and tall fescue, take time to begin growing in the spring. Soil temperatures have to reach the 45 to 55-degree mark before growth starts to pick-up. In some cases, these soil temperatures may be delayed until late April or even mid-May.
If you simply toss the grass seed onto the soil, you will end up with poor germination. Thoroughly rake the area to remove any loose debris and to create grooves in the soil. These grooves will help increase the seed -to-soil contact that is imperative for germination.
Typically, germination takes between five and 10 days. Once germinated, the grass will continue to grow at a rate of about 2/3cm per week.
Prepare Your Soil First, use a sharp shovel to remove any existing grass, or, if it is a large area, rent a sod cutter to get the job done faster. Then, take a walk around and inspect the area. Remove large rocks and debris, fill in low spots, and if your soil is compacted, work it over with a tiller.
Mow Low. Before overseeding your thin lawn, cut your grass shorter than normal and bag the clippings. After mowing, rake the lawn to help loosen the top layer of soil and remove any dead grass and debris. This will give the grass seed easy access to the soil so it can root more easily after germinating.
Plant Grass Seed Put half the grass seeds in a drop or broadcast spreader. Turn the rake so the tines are facing up. Cover the ground with a thin layer of mulch made from wheat straw, if your lawn is uneven and prone to erosion. Water the lawn lightly each day until the grass is 2 inches tall.
Although September is the best time, often we can still plant grass seed up to October 15 with good results. The problem with late season seeding is that Mother Nature is working against us. Shorter days and cooler temperatures prolong the germination of the seed and its establishment.
Fall is the best time to introduce new seed into an existing lawn of cool-season grasses. But, depending on your grass type, overseeding in spring can yield good results, too, if it’s done early enough in the spring to give seedlings enough time to mature before the onset of the summer heat.
Spring seeding is your second best option for planting cool-season grasses. Aim to seed early in the season, but wait until daytime temperatures are in the 60 to 75 degree Fahrenheit range. This roughly corresponds to the optimal soil temperatures for cool-season grass seed germination.
When you start your lawn, spread a starter fertilizer over the ground with your grass seed. You can broadcast the seed and fertilizer separately, one immediately following the next, and it does not matter which order you spread it in.
It’s best not to walk on your newly planted grass until you have had the chance to mow your lawn at least 3-5 times. It can take roughly 3 months for your lawn to grow enough to mow several times and walk on it. Here are a few rules to follow: Grass seeds take about 8 weeks to reach 3-4 inches in height.