As fall approaches, you may be thinking, “Is this the best time to plant grass seed in my yard?” The answer – it depends where you live. Whether you grow cool or warm season grass, timing your seeding helps seed germinate and establish quickly. But first, there are a few things to think about to help your grass get off to a good start:
- A healthy lawn needs good soil. Most turf grasses prefer neutral soils. To be sure that your efforts aren’t in vain, always perform a soil test first and make the recommended amendments.
- Don’t apply a weed preventer (liquid or granular) or use weed and feed fertilizer when planning to sow grass. You can control weeds only after you have mowed new grass seedlings at least four times. Any weed controls applied when you sow seed will prevent germination or kill immature seedlings.
Before seeding, first identify the type of turf currently growing in your lawn. If starting from scratch, select a turf type suited to grow in your region, and remember the specific requirements of your yard.
Grass seed labels help you determine characteristics of the grass, such as amount of daylight, hardiness and moisture requirements. Turf grasses are either cool-season grasses or warm-season grasses. In general, where you live determines your lawn type.
On the map, cool-season grasses are suited for areas shaded in blue. Warm-season grasses grow well in the areas shaded in orange. In the transition zone (green area on the map), mixtures or blends of warm- and cool-season grasses are sometimes required. Normally the transition zone has more success with the cool-season grasses over the warm-season varieties. Additional factors, such as altitude, the amount of sun or shade, the amount of foot traffic and the availability of water may affect the success of a turf grass variety.
- Are seeded mid-August through mid-October, depending on specific location and weather patterns
- Thrive in regions where winter temperatures reach below freezing
- Grow during spring and fall
- Go dormant in summer
- Thrive in temperatures from 60°
- Have longer, finer blades
- Are maintained at a higher mowing level
- Are generally bunch varieties
- The major cool season varieties are bentgrass, bluegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue and ryegrass.
- Should be seeded from March through September, depending on your specific location and weather patterns
- Need hot summers and mild winters
- Grow during summer
- Go dormant in fall and winter
- Thrive in temperatures above 80°
- Generally need less water, making them drought-tolerant
- Tend to have wide, coarse blades
- Should be mown close to the ground
- Are often overseeded with annual grasses for year-round color.
- Are generally creeping varieties
- The major warm season varieties are Bahia, Bermuda, carpetgrass, centipede, St. Augustine and Zoysia.