Sow grass seed in early September to early October or in February – Plant between September and October. In Virginia, the optimal period to plant grass seed is between the first week of September and the first week of October. The optimal period between these two months of autumn is when precipitation begins and the soil warms.
- This condition encourages rapid development and optimal germination.
- Do dormant seeding in February,
- If you missed the opportunity to plant grass seeds in the fall, dormant seeding might be used as a replacement.
- It is a planting method in which seeds are sown when the weather does not enable germination.
Before your grass may begin to grow in Virginia, the air and soil temperatures must be optimal. When the soil temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the environment is frosty, which happens from November to February, seeds cannot germinate. Therefore, this time period is optimal for dormant seeding.
When should I aerate and overseed my Virginia lawn?
When do I need to aerate? Late August to mid-September is the optimal period to aerate cool-season lawns with tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass in Virginia. This is the time when these lawns emerge from summer slumber and enter a period of robust development. At this time, lawns will recover fast from aeration.
How long does grass seed require to germinate in Virginia?
Turf-Type Tall Fescue Grass – As one of the most prevalent grasses for Virginia lawns, tall fescues have strong roots to prevent drought. This grass seed is resilient and performs best when initially planted or oversown in early autumn. It germinates rapidly, often within 10 to 14 days.
- Tall and turf-type fescues perform well in full sun to mild shade and will convert your lawn into a rich carpet of green.
- These are our top tall fescue grass mixtures for your lawn this fall: Virginia’s Choice Turf-Type Fescue is a grass seed formulated specifically for our location.
- These seeds were created in Oregon and tested in five state co-ops to determine the optimal fertilizer and growth-promoting technology for Virginia soil.
These seeds, infused with Opti-Root and Aquawise technology, making it easier than ever to cultivate grass at home. Scotts Classic produces greener, denser grass in both sunny and shaded environments. Black Beauty Original by Jonathan Green provides a naturally darker green grass with enhanced disease resistance and drought tolerance.
- Grows well on soils composed of clay or sand, and in full sun or light shade.
- Black Beauty Ultra by Jonathan Green germinates rapidly and repairs damaged grass areas.
- Contains a variety of species, including Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Perennial Ryegrass.
- Produces a consistent, dark green grass.
Early fall is the optimal time for germination of turf-type tall fescue grasses since the soil is still warm but the air temperature is dropping. In regions such as Virginia and North Carolina, these grasses have the highest chance of surviving during the early autumn months.
– March is too soon to plant the majority of grass seeds. This time of year, temperatures will be too low unless you reside in a warm climate. Plant grass only when the average daily temperature is approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is the finest grass seed for Virginia?
What are the best varieties of turf for Central Virginia, and how can I choose one for a new or completely redesigned lawn? Choosing the proper grass type for a lawn in Central Virginia can be challenging. Virginia is located in a “climatic transition zone” with winters that are just cold enough and summers that are just warm enough to make choosing between a cool-season grass and a warm-season turf difficult.
- Let’s investigate the trade-offs between the two categories in our location.
- Take a soil sample from your yard and have the nutrients evaluated at the Virginia Tech soil lab to get started.
- Instructions for obtaining a sample are provided below.
- The local VCE office’s Horticultural Help Desk may also give guidance on obtaining a soil test kit, collecting a soil sample, and interpreting the results.
By having a soil study prior to laying sod, you (or your landscaper) will know how to best prepare the soil for your chosen grass. If you are in a construction zone, you may also be required to remove construction debris and other waste. Ideal topsoil depth is 6 to 8 inches, and it should settle for two to three weeks prior to sowing or sodding.
- What to plant and when? There are two types of turf: cool-season and warm-season.
- Cool-season grasses like temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Late July is the greatest time to sow cool-season grasses.
- Early spring is a viable time for seeding, but crabgrass and summer dryness make it more difficult to establish seedlings.
The most productive growth seasons for these plants are 1) late summer to early winter and 2) early spring to early summer. These grasses can even retain some green coloration during the cold months in Central Virginia. Unless they are often watered, they tend to fall dormant and brown during the hottest part of summer.
- In contrast, warm-season grasses prefer temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
- May through July is the optimal period to sow warm-season grasses in Central Virginia.
- This species of turfgrass remains dormant throughout the winter and will lose its green hue for three to five months.
- You cannot do anything to fix this! The two recommended grasses for the chilly season are: Kentucky bluegrass, which is dark green and luxuriant with fine to medium blades, requires full sun, is moderately to highly maintenance-intensive, and may fall dormant in the summer heat.
It cannot withstand poor soil conditions and is an aggressive vine. Excellent candidate for high-traffic locations. Fine to medium-bladed, thick tall fescue may also become dormant over the summer. It lacks the recuperative properties of Kentucky bluegrass and may thus require occasional reseeding.
It thrives in full sun to light shade, requires low to moderate maintenance, and has deeper roots than other cool-season grasses, allowing it to handle drought better. NOTE: Tall fescue dominates the residential market in Central Virginia and is frequently blended with Kentucky bluegrass. Warm-season grasses have fewer insect issues, utilize water more effectively, and are more tolerant of harsh summer weather than cool-season grasses.
Choices for warm-season grasses include: Zoysiagrass has a fine to medium texture, prefers full sun, but also tolerates shade, turns completely brown after the first harsh frost, and returns to its green color in May. It has the highest cold resistance among Virginia’s warm-season grasses.
Although it requires little fertilizer and water, it is a very slow-growing creeper. Once established, its density hinders the growth of weeds, and it is resistant to insects and diseases. It recovers slowly and is not advised for high-traffic locations. Bermuda grass is a fine-bladed, drought-tolerant, fast-growing grass that prefers full sun, tolerates minimal shadow, and thrives in the warmest regions of Virginia.
However, new variants have increased its applicability throughout the state. Read the 2020-21 Virginia Turfgrass Variety Recommendations article for a comprehensive overview of the finest turfgrass for Virginia. How should I plant my sod? After determining the type of grass to use, you must choose between seed, sod, plugs (1″-2″ pieces of sod), and sprigs (small pieces of shredded sod).
The least expensive option is seed, but there are drawbacks. The seeded area will require protection against erosion and weeds and will take longer than sod to get established. However, once established, your grass’s root system will be well-connected to the soil. Be cautious to purchase certified seed to guarantee the kind and variety indicated on the packaging.
Sodding is somewhat more costly, but generates grass that is immediately appealing. If built appropriately, there are rarely problems with erosion and weeds. However, it might take sod a little longer to establish a firm connection with the soil underneath.
- Underseeding sod is a technique that promotes good roots (i.e.
- Spread seed on the soil just before laying the sod).
- Establishing plugs or sprigs is a third alternative for planting warm-season grasses such as Zoysia and Bermuda.
- Because Zoysia spreads slowly, it may take two or three growing seasons to completely cover an area.
What alternatives exist to conventional turf? A lush, verdant grass has been the standard landscaping for decades, serving as a place for children to play, for athletic activities, and as a frame for the entrance to houses and gardens. However, they are costly, time-consuming to maintain, can add to watershed pollution, and provide little habitat for pollinators or other species.
In recent years, it has become more apparent that decreasing or replacing lawns offers chances to better manage stormwater runoff and to restore habitat for diminishing numbers of pollinators and other species that are vital to local ecosystems. Read Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard (Timber Press, 2019) and Beyond the Lawn: Imagine the Options by Doug Tallamy to learn more about lawn alternatives and employing native plants to create healthy ecosystems (The Garden Shed, Sept.2020).
References: “Recommended Turfgrass Varieties for Virginia in 2021,” Michael Goatley, Jr., Virginia Cooperative Extension, SPES-237NP Publication, 2020. Beyond the Lawn: Consider the Alternatives The Garden Shed monthly newsletter, Piedmont Master Gardeners, September 2020, Melissa King.
Establishing Lawns,” Publication 426-718 of the Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2017. “Lawn Substitutions,” Maryland Master Gardener, Robin M. Hessey, University of Maryland Extension, Home and Garden Information Center. “Virginia Maintenance Calendar for Cool-Season Turfgrasses,” 2019 Virginia Cooperative Extension Publication 430-523 by Michael Goatley et al.
“Virginia Maintenance Schedule for Warm-Season Lawns,” 2019 Virginia Cooperative Extension Publication 430-522 by Michael Goatley et al. “Turfgrass Recognition,” David Gardner, University of Ohio State. “What type of grass should I plant on my lawn?” Michael Goatley, Jr., Extension Turf Specialist, Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2008.