The beauty of lawns lies in their richness and density. That’s what you want and that’s what every other homeowner in the neighborhood equally wants. Achieving that can come in two ways; turfing – where you purchase turfs and plants or by seeding the lawn. But, what is the best time to seed lawn? The latter method involves you creating the lawn from scratch using seeds, tend to them, and watch them mature into healthy lawns. This seedling method is relatively cheap and it then gives you a sense of fulfillment. You watch it rise from its cradle to the maturity level and you get to be happy.
But there’s something you need to know about seeding new lawns.
Best Time to Seed Lawn: The Right Timing
Timing is everything when it comes to seeding lawns. You get the timing right and you get the success without stress. How your lawn will flourish is dependent on the season you rooted its seeds down to the earth. There’s strength, lushness, thickness and rapid growth and all of these can be achieved if the season you are planting is in tune with the natural germinating season of the seeds. It’s just like farming where certain crops have their unique season for planting.
Another factor comes to play when seeding new lawns and that’s about the nature of the grass. There are cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses, each thrives well when planted according to their favorite season where they germinate rapidly and stay healthy. So grass type should also be considered when seeding lawns.
In this article, we will look into the two grass types and their favorable seasons for going down the soil. Let’s start with the cool-season grasses.
Best Time to Seed Lawn: Cool Season Grasses, Best for Fall Season
Some of the grasses that fall into the cool season category include Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescues, and perennial ryegrasses. They thrive better when their seeds are sown in late summer and early fall. At this time, the temperature is relatively getting cooler even though the soil is still warm from summer.
The transition from summer to winter places the seeds of cool-season grasses in a mixture of temperatures; late summer is still warm and early fall is cooler. Being in the middle is favorable for their growth. It facilitates rapid growth and enables them to come out strong and fresh.
Technically, cool-season grasses should be planted at least 45 days prior to the first frost that comes with fall. So the late summer shouldn’t be too late, even if it’s late, be sure that when your seeds are planted, there’s enough time for them to settle before fall sets in fully with all of its winter-like temperatures.
New seeds need enough moisture to thrive and that’s what fall provides, but if it becomes excessive, it then becomes a problem which is why the seed needs to be planted when the climate is still warm. With all the moistness that accompanies fall, you might not be doing much of watering. If you live far up north, you will really need the early fall planting season.
Best Time to Seed Lawn: Warm Season Grasses, Best for Spring
Warm-season grasses include Bahiagrass, Centipede grass, and Bermudagrass. Their growth process is accelerated in late spring when the temperatures are getting warmer. Late spring heralds summer’s arrival and does that with increased temperatures. The seeds of warm-season grasses perform better in terms of germination with this increase in temperature usually from 65F to 70F.
Again like cool-season grasses, the seeds of warm-season grasses are placed in the middle of two moderate temperatures; late spring and early summer which is favorable for their growth. Warm-season grasses thrive better under these conditions.
Remember early summer comes with little rains that can supply moisture and even the spring fading away is still not entirely dry of moist. Relatively, the temperatures at this time are warmer and that’s what the seeds of warm-season grasses need to germinate and flourish optimally.
Northern regions that are usually hotter should utilize mid-April to mid-May season of spring for planting these seeds. These times are suited for lawn seed germinations. Ideally, for those in the South, wait a little while until the frosts of early spring are all gone. This is to ensure you don’t compromise the germination process of the seeds.
Early spring is still very much cold in the south and colder wet soils can promote the growth of diseases in the soil which will, in turn, affect the seeds. Colder soils are not ideal for seeds generally and coupling that with a disease in the soil and seeds makes it worse.
Technically, the seeds of warm-season grasses are meant to be planted 90 days before the first frost that comes along with winter. When this warm season seeds that are trying to germinate are greeted by lower temperatures, they tend to decline in their growth speed. Lower temperatures weaken them and their results will let you know they are not happy at winter’s chilling breeze.
Other Things to Note About Timing
Even though the timing is of the essence, there are other best lawn practices that you need to imbibe for your lawn to thrive. This is more important because you are building the lawn right from their seeds to maturity.
Understand the true nature of the grass seed you are planting as well as your immediate environment. Get lawn experts to counsel you on the best conventional care habits that would be beneficial to your lawn.
When your seeds begin to germinate into a lawn, they become very sensitive, fragile, and easily irritated by unhealthy habits. They need care and attention to survive their infant stages. If you deny them of this attention, they won’t survive.
Fence your lawn or barricade it from passers-by. Constant footing on the lawn would lead to their untimely death.
Another noteworthy thing here is the kind of grass seed you are buying. Buy from recommended transparent sources. Find out about the authenticity and credibility of the company producing the seeds before investing your money on the seeds. Trusted sources, best seasons, and best lawn care practices are keys to growing lawns from scratch.
Can you mix cool season grass with warm season grass?
Even if you have the same type of grass, it is not recommended to mix them. There are a few reasons for this:
- Temperature and humidity also play a big role in how the grass grows. Mixing cool season with warm season grass may result in less or little growth of the desirable cool season grass and more growth of warm season grass, which would be an inconvenience to your lawn.
- They are different types of plants and require different nutrients, so they cannot be mixed together well.
- Cool season grass likes to be watered on a daily basis. Warm season grass should be watered once every two weeks.
- Don't forget to keep the soil moist and well-drained so that the plants can take up water and nutrients without any issues.
- Along with temperature, time of day also plays an important role for successful plant growth. For example, morning sun is great for warm season grass, while cool season grass prefers shade during the day.
What is the difference between warm season grasses and cool season grasses?
Cool-season grasses grow during the winter months, while warm-season grasses are typically found in the summertime. These two types of grass differ in their growth patterns and preferences for light, temperature, and water.
Some cool-season grasses include Kentucky Bluegrass and Fescue. Some warm-season grasses include Bermuda Grass, Zoysia Grass, St Augustine Grass, Muhly Grass, Tall Fescue, and Bahia Sedge.
-Warm season grasses have a damp texture to them while cool season grasses are drier
-Warm season grasses grow in cooler weather because they need more moisture than cool season grasses
There are also some other types of cool and warm season grasses such as tall fescue, red fescue, timothy and ryegrass which can be mixed together to create a variety of hybridized plants for different areas.
What is the best height to mow grass?
Mowing height is one of the most important things that we should pay attention to while we are doing our lawns. The height of the grass depends on what season it is. In summer, shorter heights are preferred to allow sunlight to grow more. In winter when there is less light, taller heights are needed so snow doesn't get blown around and fall on your lawn.
Choosing the right height for your mower will make it easy for you to maintain a healthy lawn. If you have thin or sparse grass, use a higher setting, and if you have dense, green grass, use a lower setting.
Consider keeping it at a height of 2.5 inches. If your lawn is taller than 2.5 inches, it will give your leaves and other detritus more time to decompose into the soil. And when this happens, the nutrients in this soil will be depleted and it will affect your lawn's health over time.
When should cool season grasses be planted?
Cool season grasses are plants that need cold temperatures to survive. When should these plants be planted? In most parts of the US, cool season grasses can be planted during fall.
Tony Manhart is a passionate gardener who has been tending to gardens for over 20 years. He takes pride in creating beautiful outdoor spaces with plants, trees, and shrubs that can thrive in any environment. He loves to share his knowledge with others and has taught classes on gardening basics and advanced techniques. He is committed to sustainability, using natural and organic methods to create and maintain gardens. He also works with local organizations to create green spaces for communities. When he’s not gardening, Tony enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with his family.