Best Time To Weed And Seed Your Lawn

My Lowes 4 step fertiizer weed and feed program. Use Scotts or Sta-Green. I show you how to create a weed free program for a lush green lawn every year! Dreaming of a lush lawn? Successful sowing hinges on first understanding your grass type and how it affects when to plant grass seed. See our guide here. Timing your grass seeding project properly helps you seize the opportunity for success.

When To Apply Weed and Feed-Complete Year Round Guide

As a Lowes garden manager, one of the most asked questions I get is about healthy, green, weed free lawns. Here are my tips and directions for your Lowes lawn care program applying Sta Green or Scotts.

Weed and feed fertilizer will help improve your lawn.

The number one question: When is the best time to apply weed and feed to my lawn?

Well…it depends really. Where you live, whether you have sun or shade, and lots of other things make a big difference in what your lawn needs. Most regions in the United States can apply weed and feed from March till November.

A well-fed lawn is healthier, which means it has a better root system to combat heat, cold, drought, mowing, foot traffic and other stresses.

One easy to follow rule is to use the summer holidays as your guide.

If you’re going to fertilize, remember the summer holidays of Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day as good times to apply.

Weed and Feed Basics and the 4 Step Process

Ok, this is my disclaimer: This is my version of the 4 step program that I have used for years. It works! Make sure you always follow instructions on the bag and use the correct settings on your spreader.

You will find many different versions of weed and feed programs out there. They all will be some variation of the following:

Step 1. Crabgrass Preventer
Step 2. Weed and Feed
Step 3. Summer Fertilizer with Insect Control
Step 4. Fall or Winter Fertilizer

The #1 Mistake: Skipping Step 1 and not using a crabgrass preventer.

The best looking lawns don’t have crabgrass for a reason; they use a crabgrass preventer every year! You can skip it if you want, but I don’t recommend it. Most people don’t realize this, but Scotts Halts and Sta Green Crabgrass both have fertilizer as well in the bag. So take care of the crabgrass and get in that first application of fertilizer.

Your soil supplies some of the nutrients that grass needs but most soils are not able to provide all of them during the entire growing season. Fertilizer helps your lawn stay healthy by promoting new blade and root growth and will aid in recovery from summer foot traffic and pest damage.

Weed & feed is the generic name for a broad range of lawn chemical products designed to strengthen existing grass and kill off certain weeds. It generally improves your lawn’s ability to absorb water and food, and adds necessary nutrients which promote healthy growth. A healthy lawn discourages weed growth and enables a strong root system for your lawn.

The “weed” portion of weed and feed is one of a variety of broad leaf-targeted herbicides, usually Dicamba or 2,4-D, that attacks dandelions, dollarweed, and most other green leafy weeds. The chemical is applied to and absorbed by the leaves of the weed.

The granules will not sit on grass blades, which is why weed and feed generally won’t kill grass unless it is incorrectly applied. There are also liquid forms of weed and feed that are generally applied with a sprayer.

The “feed” portion of weed & feed is a fertilizer that contains some combination of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to green up your lawn. The exact blend of fertilizer ingredients varies by brand, but all products will contain some percentage of nitrogen. Some products also include additional benefits, such as timed-released nitrogen for extended feeding.

When to Weed and Feed With Lowes Sta Green or Scotts

While feeding your lawn once a year will improve its condition, feeding it four times a year will make it even healthier. If you put your lawn on the regular schedule it will stay lush and green all season long.

Fertilize your lawn in the spring, early fall and/or late fall (such as late March, early April, early September and early November). However, if you live in an area with long, cold winters, then late April, August and the end of October may be best.

In most climates, late fall tends to offer better results because that’s when weeds grow stronger roots and take the herbicide to the roots along with it, killing them. You should also never fertilize any cool-season lawn during hot summer months.

If you live in the southern or western parts of the United States, such as Florida, Texas, Alabama or California fertilize your lawn in early summer and again in late summer or early fall. The application process is slightly different if you are using a product for southern lawns, such as Scotts Bonus S.

With all fertilizer schedules, you can add one treatment in midsummer, but avoid fertilizing when the temperature is too hot, particularly when it’s 85 degrees or above.

> Read our guide on southern weed and feed

Some Products Need Dry Lawn, Others Need Wet Lawn

For most areas of the United States, weed and feed products should be applied to a wet lawn either from rain or dew, on a calm day and left on the surface for 24 to 48 hours.

You can also wet the grass with a garden hose or turn on your sprinkler system for a few minutes before applying weed and feed.

The general exception is crabgrass control and southern weed and feed products.

Note: Scotts Bonus S, Sta Green Southern weed and feed and most crabgrass control products should be applied to a dry lawn.

A wet lawn helps fertilizer particles stick to the blades of grass and the weed leaves. To ensure that the particles have the best chance of doing their job, don’t water the lawn again for 48 hours.

If you’ve recently used grass seed, sod or sprigging, wait until your new grass has been mowed at least three times before applying any weed and feed product. For best results use a broadcast spreader set to the level indicated on the product package.

Early Spring: March – April. Step 1

Feeding your lawn in the spring strengthens roots and gets it off to a good start. Crabgrass control is the number one reason to use a pre-emergent fertilzer. If you had crabgrass last year, apply a combination fertilizer with a pre-emergent to control it.

Pre-emergents, such as those commonly used to prevent crabgrass, is weed control which must be applied before the weeds germinate. They are ineffective if the weeds are already actively growing.

You will only have about a 3 week window to apply Step 1. Use Scotts Halts plus Crabgrass Preventer or Sta-Green Crab-Ex Crabgrass Preventer. This early application is the most important part of getting a weed free and healthy green lawn. Yes, use it even if you didn’t have crabgrass last year.

Soil Temperature Map: Find your local ground temperature here

Step 1 should include pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer used in early spring. This can be from mid March to late April.

Crabgrass normally germinates when the ground temperature reaches 55° F . This is also the ground temperature at which dogwood trees start to bud and forsythias begin blooming.

Late Spring: April – June. Step 2

Spring is prime time for lawns. Your grass is busy growing and using up stored energy. Step 2 weed and feed fertilizer is designed to strengthen existing grass and kill off weeds at the same time. Its also the best time to apply a weed and feed product.

Weeds want sun, water and food, which, is what your lawn needs too. That’s why you want to supply the lawn with a weed and feeding product designed for this time of year. Your grass is growing and unfortunately, broadleaf weeds are actively growing, too. It improves your lawn’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.

Weed & feed has a fertilizer to help “green up” your lawn. It also has a weed killer that targets broadleaf weeds like dandelions and many others. Many weed and feed products also have timed-release nitrogen for extended feeding.

The weed killer in post-emergent types of fertilizers are contact killers, and are effective only if the weeds are already actively growing. They will not kill weeds which have not yet germinated.

Applying in the spring and summer also gives your lawn a nitrogen booster that helps build the roots of your grass. Feed your lawn with a combination of fertilizer with broadleaf weed control like Scotts Turfbuilder with Plus 2 Weed Control or Sta-Green Weed and Feed.

Summer: June – August. Step 3

If you’re going to fertilize, remember the summer holidays of Memorial Day and Labor Day as the best times to apply. But what about summer months? What to do around the Fourth of July? Step 3 weed and feed products are designed for maximum effectiveness with a late-spring to mid summer application. They contain herbicides designed to kill actively growing broadleaf weeds like dandelions.

These herbicides are much more effective if you apply them in the spring or even the fall. At that time, the weeds are either growing or storing up reserves for winter and moving nutrients from the leaves to the roots. They move the herbicide to the roots at the same time, resulting in a better kill.

You can still apply weed and feed in the summer

It is not recommended to apply if the temperature will be above 90 degrees and no re-application of any fertilizer for another 30 days.

Summer is tough on grass. You can still apply a weed and feed product, but do so cautiously. Heat, drought, foot traffic, and insects stress it out. Feeding your lawn in the summer still helps to protect and strengthen it against these problems.

Lawns in warm-season grass areas should be fed over the summer months as they grow steadily from spring to fall. Also consider spot treatment of weeds by using a product such as Ortho Weed B Gon.

A more common problem you will see in the summer months are insects. If you see insects in your grass, use a feeding product that also contains insect control, such as Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard. For additional insect control try Ortho Bug B Gon Max granules or try Bug B Gone liquid spray around the perimeter of your home.

Fall: September – November. Step 4

Fall brings back ideal conditions for your lawn. Cool nights, ample rainfall and morning dew all contribute to new growth for your lawn and prime time for Step 4. If you missed an early spring application of weed and feed, now is the time to apply.

Since the lawn is ready to grow again, it is looking for the nutrients it needs to recover from summer damage. Some experts say this is the single most important lawn feeding of the year, more important than an early spring application. Apply your final feeding right before the winter months. You can apply a fall fertilizer until the average daytime temperature is above 50 degrees.

This means most regions of the United States can apply into late October. This will strengthen roots and increase nitrogen storage for an early spring green up next year. Try Scotts Turfbuilder with WinterGuard or Sta Green Weed and Feed Winterizer.

Planting Grass Seed or Aerating after Weed and Feed

Weed & Feed prevents seed germination, so you should avoid planting new grass or aerating your lawn for at least four weeks. If you apply weed and feed in the spring and summer, spread new grass seed and aerate in the fall each year.

Reasons Weed & Feed Didn’t Work

Remember to always follow the directions on the package. Always use a spreader to apply. Here are some common reasons why a weed & feed application could be ineffective:

  • Weed & feed targets broadleaf weeds like dandelions, and dollarweeds. It does nothing for crabgrass and other grassy weeds. For these, you should use a pre-emergent like Scotts Halts or Sta-Green Crab Ex crabgrass preventer in the early spring. Must be applied before weeds and crabgrass are growing.
  • Mature weeds are not actively growing, so the product will not be as effective. Weed and feed should be applied early in the growing season and a couple days after mowing.
  • Rain and sprinklers can wash away the granules. Make sure there is no rain in the forecast and avoid watering for two days after applying.
What if You Apply Too Much Weed & Feed?

The best way to avoid damaging your lawn after too much fertilizer application is to flush out the weed & feed. Water your lawn with 1 to 2 inches of water for about 4 days. It would be best not to apply any other weed & feed fertilizer until the following year. Unfortunately, over watering can create run-off in certain drainage situations, so be aware of your location and where the water is going.

A Healthy Lawn With Lowes Using Scotts or Sta-Green.

Enjoy a lush, healthy lawn with Scotts Turf Builder fertilizer or Lowes exclusive Sta Green Products. Both combine essential nutrients for even feeding and weed control from early spring through late fall. Both provide uniform coverage and improves your lawn’s ability to absorb water and other nutrients to keep it healthy and looking great.

Remember to use the major summer holidays as your guide to the 4 step program: Step 1 Crabgrass in early spring. Step 2 Weed and Feed around Memorial Day. Step 3 Insect Control around July 4th. Step 4 Fall Fertilizer around Labor Day.

The 4 Step Weed and Feed Program-Make Your Own

The 4 step program from Scotts has been around for years. Did you know that it’s officially only available at local hardware stores and not Lowes or Home Depot? But, you can make your own version easily.

The bags sold at independent stores, like Ace Hardware, are a slightly different analysis and the bags will have each step number printed on each bag.

For example, here’s the difference in the first two applications of the 4 step process.

4 step bag: Step 1 for crabgrass ratio: 26-0-03. Step 2 Weed and Feed: 28-0-06

Lowes bag: Comparable Step 1 Halts crabgrass ratio: 30-0-04. Comparable Step 2 Weed and Feed : 28-0-03

Not a big difference. Sure, you can make a 4 step program simply by purchasing the four bags at Lowes or Home Depot, and many of us do, but the actual 4 step Scotts fertilizer program is only available at your local hardware.

Here are a few more helpful guides for weed and feed, grass seed and crabgrass control:

Solved! The Best Time to Plant Grass Seed

Dreaming of a lush lawn? The trick to successful sowing is a clear understanding of your type of grass and the climate it thrives in.

By Amy Lynch and Bob Vila | Updated Apr 29, 2022 5:55 PM

Q: I’d like to lay some grass seed this year, but I don’t want to get the timing wrong and create more work than necessary. What’s the best time of year to sow a new lawn from scratch?

A: More than anything else, when to plant grass seed depends largely on the climate in your part of the world and the types of grasses that thrive there. Next, consider the actual forecast around that time to select the best time to seed a lawn. Most Americans want to be surrounded by green lawns they can spend time in, and a few factors come into play to ensure the grass seed put down takes root.

Grass Seed Generally Falls into 2 Categories: Warm-Weather and Cool-Weather Varieties

The best turf success comes from planting the right grass for the region in which you live. You might consider water and care needs and appearance. But selecting a grass not meant for your climate can erase some of those benefits. Grass is categorized by season, so choose based on when it thrives: cool season or warm season. Each of these varieties requires different maintenance and—you guessed it—minimum sowing requirements to grow good-looking grass from seed.

  • As you might imagine, warm-season grasses (including Bahia grass, Bermuda grass, centipede, and St. Augustine) thrive in climates with mild winters and hot summers and don’t require as much water as other grasses. They germinate and grow in temperatures above 80 degrees.
  • Cool-season grasses such as bluegrass and ryegrass fare best in places where summers are temperate and winter days often dip below freezing. Requiring more hydration (often delivered via snowfall), these varieties lie dormant in warmer summer months and do most of their growing in autumn and spring.
  • If you live in an area that falls between those two climate zones, you’re in a transitional region. Cool-season grasses (with late summer/early fall preparation) are more likely than their warm-weather cousins to flourish in a zone that falls between the extremes, but you can plant a mix of both—cool-weather grass sown in late fall and warm-weather planted during the spring and summer months of the following year.
  • Grass can thin over time, requiring you to overseed the lawn to fill in. You can mow the existing turf shorter than normal, prep the ground, and sow grass seed to fill in. Overseeding also works best when temperatures support germination for the grass type chosen.
  • Consider your neighborhood’s altitude and the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. If you’re still unsure which type of grass matches your climate, do some local research. This list of university extension programs might help you look for the safest choice and best time to plant grass in your area. Or consult local nurseries or hire a landscape professional.

DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.

Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get your lawn exactly what it needs to thrive.
Free Lawn Analysis

When is the Best Time to Plant Grass Seed?

The short answer is to match your timing to align with the natural course of a grass type’s active growth. That means when to sow grass seed depends on optimal temperatures for their germination. Of course, there is more to consider than just temps in your timing.

  • Take care not to distribute your seeds just before heavy rains, which can erode the soil and disrupt germination. (Sowing right after it rains is fine, but dry soil is generally easier to seed.)
  • Specific timing can get tricky for both seasons. The best time to plant warm-season grass seed is late spring or early summer, or when temperatures hover near 80 degrees or higher in your area.
  • Plant cool-season grass seed in late summer or early fall (when daytime temperatures lower to about 60 to 75 degrees) for best success. September is typically the best month, although you might be able to get away with seeding as early as mid-August or as late as mid-October; it all depends on the forecast.

Time When You Plant Grass Seed Well After You’ve Last Applied Herbicides

If you use chemical treatment on your existing lawn to control weeds, wait at least a month after the treatment before you lay down new grass seeds. If you’ve used a crabgrass prevention product, the recommended waiting period is even longer—usually around 4 months.

Ideally, plan your lawn maintenance well in advance so that you can wait the appropriate amount of time between treating a lawn and when ideal temperatures for seed germination typically set in. If you didn’t save yourself enough time to weed before seeding, know that you can resume your weed prevention routine once your new lawn has been mowed at least four or five times.

Pay Attention to the Weather When Planting Grass Seeds

You can plan ahead for the best time to put grass seed down based on average temperature patterns in the area, but it helps to check the forecast to pinpoint the best time to plant grass seed. Make sure you won’t have an unusual cold snap or heat wave.

Likewise, watch for rain events. While a good soaking can help seeds germinate, a downpour can cause seeds to erode or migrate, gathering in a bunch at the bottom of a hill, for example. And it is best to plant grass seed before a steady rain, not right after a heavy one. Muddy ground is hard to work and too much moisture around new seeds could lead to a fungal disease that kills the seeds.

Seeds still can germinate in cloudy weather, assuming temperatures are near suggested levels for the grass seed you choose. It’s probably best not to seed the lawn on a windy day, which can affect broadcasting of seeds or blow just-set seeds around if not tamped down.

Scheduling Your Seeding Depends on When You Have the Time to Prep the Soil

Whether you seed or sod a lawn, allot time on your calendar for a bit of prep work as the time draws near. This might require some pretreatment with an herbicide, and that month or more of waiting. You can also simply remove all weeds with hoes and by hand.

Starting with bare ground? Loosen the top 2 inches of soil and remove any materials (i.e. sticks and stones) that could block airflow. If you’re broadcasting grass seed over a large, bare area, a seed spreader and light tiller might come in handy. Hard ground might first require aeration or loosening soil a little deeper, closer to 6 inches.

Otherwise, if you’re working with an existing lawn that just needs some rehabilitation, take the weekend to mow it as short as you can. Then loosen up the soil in any bald spots.

Next, no matter whether your lot is bare or simply balding, inspect that the surface is as level as possible and add fresh topsoil wherever it dips; this helps prevent puddles of standing water once you begin the irrigation process. With this prep work under your belt, you’re ready to begin sowing grass seeds—and soon enjoying a lush lawn.

Time Other Activities That May Affect the Seeding of Grass

Planting grass seed is one of the least expensive ways to a lush lawn or to fill in a large bare area of weeds or blowing dust. Still, the seeds and their early growth (seedlings) need a little tender loving care early on.

Typically, you should avoid walking on the new lawn area for at least 4 weeks. Any activities from kids or dogs on the growing lawn can disturb your carefully broadcast seeds. Once the seeds germinate, the seedlings are tender as they grow above and below the ground, establishing roots. Walking on seedlings can damage them or uproot them.

So, avoid kids’ birthday parties or training a new puppy within a month of setting seed. Avoid mowing until the seedlings reach at least 3 ½ inches high; the longer you can wait, the better.

How Long Will It Be Before You See Results?

Time from planting to picnicking on a new lawn can vary depending on the specific seed type (some grow faster than others), site prep, seed quality (and age), and unpredictable factors like weather. In general, cool-season grasses grow faster than warm-season ones. Most cool-season grass seeds should begin to germinate in 5 to 7 days. Popular warm-season grass seeds usually take nearly 2 weeks and as long as 3 weeks. Be patient; a few factors can affect germination, such as:

  • How well you prepped the area, loosening soil, leveling, removing rocks and weeds, and mulching lightly.
  • Unseasonal dips or peaks in temperature, even in the evening, that can affect soil temperature and seed germination.
  • Lack of sunlight; seeds can germinate in cloudy weather, but seedlings need some sun (6 hours a day or more) to help them grow and spread to form turf. Grass seed planted in shady areas of the lawn might take longer to germinate.
  • Irrigation, especially too little, affects time to germination. Seeds need steady moisture to sprout, and do best with water sprayed lightly on the soil surface. Over-irrigating to the point that water pools or runs is nearly as bad as drying out. Spray seeds several times a day for the first few weeks, depending on the weather.

FAQ About When to Plant Grass Seed

Will grass seed grow if I just throw it down?

Yes and no. Native grasses, in particular, will likely sprout in some areas, but there is a difference between sporadic sprouting and a broad area of seeds taking root. Just throwing seeds out will likely lead to uneven coverage. Plus, the blades that might pop up will not be healthy, well-rooted grass without adequate site preparation. If you want to speed up the process, try asking a lawn care professional to hydroseed your lawn.

Is March too early to plant grass seed?

In nearly all regions, March is too early to plant grass seed. Temperature is a better barometer; wait until days average about 80 degrees before planting grass seed for summer. March is too late to sow cool-season grasses.

Do you need to rake in grass seed?

Once you spread the grass seed, use a rake to work it into soil, but only to about ¼ inch. Don’t push the seed down too deeply or cover it with a thick layer of mulch that will block light. If you can, use a roller to pass over the area after raking to ensure seeds have good contact with soil. You can sprinkle a light layer of compost or straw over the soil to help retain moisture, but only thin enough to prevent blocking light.

Should I soak grass seed before planting?

It’s not necessary to soak grass seed before planting; the seeds are small and typically germinate 1 to 2 weeks after planting with consistent watering. If you have a short window for the best time to seed a lawn, especially for getting cool-season grass going before cold sets in, you can soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. Then, drain the water completely from the cup or bucket, and leave them in a warm location like a heated shed for a few days until small sprouts appear.

DIY Lawn Care. Simplified.

Bob Vila has partnered with Sunday to get your lawn exactly what it needs to thrive.
Free Lawn Analysis

The Best Time to Plant Grass

When your sights are set on a thick, lush lawn, planting grass seed represents an investment of time, money, labor and hope. From seeding new lawns to repairing rough spots and renewing existing turf, proper timing separates sweet success from something less. Your best time for planting grass seed depends on the type of lawn grass you grow and where you live. Understanding your options and getting timing right helps you seize every opportunity for seeding success.

WHY TIMING MATTERS

Grass grows fastest and strongest when your planting season aligns with the seeds’ natural periods of active growth. Just as with other kinds of plants in your landscape, lawn grasses vary in their growth cycles and regional climate preferences.

Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and tall fescue, including Kentucky 31 tall fescue, grow most vigorously during the cool temperatures of late summer and early fall. These grasses flourish across cooler northern climates and into the challenging “transition zone” where cool and warm regions overlap.

Warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass, Bahiagrass, Zoysia grass and Centipede grass peak in growth during the warmer temperatures of late spring and early summer. These grasses thrive in southern and western regions and up into the transition zone’s southern reaches.

Whether you grow cool- or warm-season grasses, timing your seeding to take advantage of your grass type’s natural periods of peak growth helps seed germinate and establish quickly. Your seed gets off to the best possible start and gets on track for both short- and long-term success.

WHY FALL IS BEST FOR COOL-SEASON GRASSES

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 daytime temperatures and cool evenings encourages fast germination and establishment of newly sown cool-season grass seed.

Cool-season grass seed germinates best when soil temperatures reach 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This roughly corresponds to daytime air temperatures in the 60°F to 75°F range. An inexpensive soil thermometer, available at garden stores and online retailers, can help eliminate the guesswork.

The farther north you live, the earlier cool fall temperatures and ideal planting times come. For example, Minnesotans in the Upper Midwest seed cool-season lawns from mid-August to mid-September. 1 For transition-zone lawn owners in central and northern Arkansas, September and October are the best time for seeding cool-season lawns. 2

As a general rule, plant cool-season grass seed at least 45 days before the estimated date of your first fall frost, before soil and air temperatures drop to less favorable levels. Your grasses will enjoy a full fall season, plus a second cool growing season come spring. Your local county extension agent can help with advice on average frost dates and optimal timing for seeding lawns in your area.

Newly planted seed needs consistent soil moisture, and fall planting offers benefits on that front, too. Fall typically brings more precipitation, which lessens the chance that cool-season seeds may dry out, and reduces the need for extra watering on your part. Using premium drought-tolerant, water-conserving grass seed products, such as Pennington Smart Seed and Pennington One Step Complete, lowers the risk of problems even more.

The second best time to seed cool-season lawn grasses is in the spring, once soil and air temperatures warm back up to their optimal range. However, late-melting snows and early spring rains can keep soil cold and overly wet, giving early weeds an advantage. Grasses also have less time to settle in before higher temperatures inhibit germination and cool-season grass growth begins to slow.

WHY SPRING IS BEST FOR WARM-SEASON GRASSES

Warm-season grasses germinate best when soil temperatures are consistently in the 65°F to 70°F range. This generally corresponds to daytime air temperatures near 80°F or more. Planting in late spring and early summer gives warm-season grasses the advantage of warm soil and early seasonal rains, which help keep soil moisture available during germination and establishment.

As with cool-season grasses, best warm-season planting times vary by location. In California, mid-April to mid-May is prime time for seeding warm-season lawns. 3 In central and southern Arkansas, lawn owners plan their warm-season grass seeding for late May through June. 2 It’s tempting to get out and seed at the first hint of spring, but patience pays off. Wait until all danger of frost has passed and soil warms. Cold, wet soil is a recipe for poor germination, rotting seed and disease. Your county extension agent can help with expected frost dates and timely advice when unexpected weather conditions factor in.

As a general rule, warm-season grasses planted at least 90 days before the first fall frost have time to establish well before winter. These summer-loving grasses go dormant once temperatures drop near 55°F, so late-planted seedlings can’t prepare for what’s ahead. With proper timing, warm-season grass seed gets a natural boost from summer’s warmth and a full season of active growth and development before cooling temperatures bring on winter dormancy.

One exception to the spring seeding rule for warm-season lawns is when overseeding with a cool-season grass, such as perennial ryegrass, for temporary winter color. Overseeding for green winter grass is always done in fall, once temperatures drop and warm-season lawns begin to go dormant and lose color.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NEWLY PLANTED GRASS SEED

Proper timing allows all types of grass seedlings to root well and get established before natural stresses hit. What that looks like in your lawn can vary depending on your grass type, your growing region and the conditions in any given year.

Grass types and varieties vary in their natural germination speeds. For example, cool-season Kentucky bluegrass germination can take two to three times as long as tall fescue varieties. Similarly, warm-season Zoysia grass may take two to three times longer than Bermudagrass. In addition, many seed products include a mix of seed types that germinate at different speeds.

Whether you’re repairing bare spots, overseeding an existing lawn or starting from scratch, you can generally expect grass seedlings to emerge within seven to 21 days when grown under proper conditions. It may take another three to four weeks of growth before grass is long enough to mow. For fall-planted seed, this can mean waiting until spring for your first mowing. Some grasses, such as Zoysia grass, may need several months of growth to fully establish.

Much of the initial growth of new grass seedlings happens underground, where you can’t see it. New roots get grass firmly established, prepared for the seasons ahead and positioned for strong, rapid growth when their peak season arrives. With proper timing, new grass seedlings compete well for light, water and nutrients and fight off lawn diseases and pests, including lawn weeds.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE THE TIMING ADVANTAGE

Even when you plant your grass seed at the best possible time, your lawn still needs help to thrive. Whether this is your first lawn or you’re the neighborhood expert, take some advice from turf professionals and get to know your grasses and your soil before you start seeding. Follow through on best practices for preparing and planting and don’t neglect traditional tasks, such as fall lawn care, that help keep your grass and soil healthy, well-nourished and ready to support new growth.

Do your research to understand what’s in a bag of grass seed and the company behind the seed. Pennington is committed to producing the finest grass seed products possible and providing you with educational resources to help your seed project succeed. By timing your lawn tasks properly, you can maximize your advantage and seed your way to the lawn of your dreams.

Pennington, Smart Seed and One Step Complete are trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.

1. Mugaas, R. and Pedersen, B., “Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns,” University of Minnesota Extension.

2. Patton, A. and Boyd, J., “Seeding a Lawn in Arkansas,” University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

3. UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, “Planting Times and Rates for Grasses That Can Be Established From Seed,” University of California.

See also  Weed Seeds Usa Coupon Code