Choose the Appropriate Season – The planting season has a direct effect on the success of grass seed. Timing ensures that your grass seed will germinate properly, grow rapidly, and remain healthy as new seedlings establish themselves. The optimal time to plant grass seed depends on your grass-growing region and the type of grass you cultivate.
Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and perennial ryegrass are commonly found in lawns throughout the northern United States. Planting during cool weather in the fall and spring coincides with these grasses’ most active growth periods. In Massachusetts, for instance, planting grass seed in early autumn is optimal.1 This time of year, the soil is still warm enough to promote germination, but the days are cool and occasionally rainy.
This mixture helps prevent newly planted seeds from drying out. There is also enough daylight in early autumn for new grass to flourish and become established prior to winter. The second-best method for planting cool-season grasses is in the spring. Aim to sow seeds early in the season, but only when daytime temperatures are between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- This roughly corresponds to the optimal soil temperature for the germination of cool-season grass seeds.
- Springtime sunlight and precipitation both contribute to robust grass growth.
- Warm-season lawn grasses such as Bermudagrass, Zoysia grass, Bahiagrass, and Centipede grass dominate the southern half of the United States.
These grasses should be planted in the spring and early summer, not in the fall, during their optimal growth period. Plant warm-season grasses when daytime temperatures remain at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and all risk of a late spring frost has passed in your area.
When may I sow grass seed in my region?
What is the Best Time to Plant Grass Seed? – Fall Lawn Tips | DoMyOwn.com
WHY SPRING IS BEST FOR WARM-SEASON GRASSES – Warm-season grasses germinate most effectively when soil temperatures are consistently between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This typically corresponds to daytime air temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Warm-season grasses have the advantage of warm soil and early seasonal rains during germination and establishment when they are planted in late spring and early summer. The moderate spring climate aids the growth of grass seed planted in the spring. As with cool-season grasses, optimal planting times for warm-season grasses vary by location.
Mid-April to mid-May is the optimal time to seed warm-season lawns in California.3 In the central and southern regions of Arkansas, warm-season grass seeding is scheduled for late May through June.2 It is tempting to seed at the first sign of spring, but patience is rewarded.
Wait until all frost danger has passed and the soil has warmed. Cold, wet soil promotes poor germination, seed rot, and disease. Your county’s extension agent can assist you with anticipated frost dates and timely weather-related advice. In general, warm-season grasses that are planted at least 90 days prior to the first fall frost have ample time to establish before winter.
These summer-loving grasses go dormant at temperatures around 55 degrees Fahrenheit, preventing late-planted seedlings from preparing for the future. With proper timing, warm-season grass seed receives a natural boost from summer’s warmth and a full season of active growth and development prior to the onset of winter dormancy caused by cooling temperatures.
Should new grass be planted in the spring or fall?
Autumn is the best season. Autumn’s mixture of warm soil and cool air is ideal for sowing grass seed and allowing new grass roots to develop before the onset of winter. It is also a good time to fertilize in order to develop stronger, deeper roots for the winter, which will result in a thicker, greener lawn in the spring.