When Do You Weed And Seed Your Lawn

For optimal growth, learn when the best time is to plant grass seed in spring for the Northeast and Midwest, and why the best time to plant grass seed differs based on certain regional weather elements. Overseeding—the process of adding new grass seed to existing turf—is something that you should tackle once per year, and preferably in the fall, says our expert.

Can I Plant Grass Seed in April?

When you plant grass seed, you want your new lawn to grow in green and healthy.

How can you make that happen? Well, timing plays a huge role. Planting grass seed at the right time of year is one way to make sure your lawn can flourish.

Let’s talk about one particular time—April. Is April a good time to plant grass, or should you aim for a different date? Keep reading for the verdict.

When to plant grass seed in spring

If you have your heart set on planting grass in spring, early April is, in fact, the best time to do it. But, depending on where you live, spring seeding could come with complications.

Here’s the thing—spring elements in the Midwest or Northeast (i.e., temperatures in the 60s and 70s and steady rainfall) are actually great for growing cool seasons grasses. The problem is, weeds also thrive in these elements. That means your grass will be forced to compete with unwelcome weeds as it tries to grow. Not to mention, if springtime weather isn’t just right, like for example, the soil is too cold or it’s overly drenched by rain, you probably won’t have much success growing new grass. Also, if your lawn is scheduled to have pre-emergent weed control applications around this time, be aware that this will inhibit grass seed from germinating.

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Now, let’s say the weather is perfect for planting grass in April. Should you do it?

You could, but there’s a chance you’ll run into issues come summertime. Stressful summer heat could slow or completely stop the growth of cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses, on the other hand, are meant to be planted in late spring or early summer.

So yes, you can plant cool-season grass in spring, and you should shoot for April if you’re doing so. But, your lawn will have a much better chance at survival if you wait until later in the year.

Best time to plant grass seed in the Northeast

If you live in the Northeastern U.S., the best time to lay new grass seed is mid-August to mid-September. Here’s why:

  • The warm days and cool nights are perfect for seed development
  • The soil is still warm from summer, which helps with seed growth
  • Lawns that have time to establish themselves in fall are much better equipped to handle hot summers than lawns started in spring

Best time to plant grass in the Midwest

Cool-season grasses are also prominent in the Midwest, so fall is the best time to plant grass seed in this area. Again, aim for mid-August to mid-September.

Why the best time to plant grass seed differs

You’ve read about two different types of grasses here: warm season and cool season.

As their names suggest, each one grows best in certain regional weather elements. In a nutshell, cool-season grass needs mild daytime temperatures and cooler nights to thrive. Warm-season grasses grow best when the days are warm and when they have time to establish before things cool down in fall. You can read more about these grass types here.

Your region also determines when other lawn care should happen. Do you see any bare patches or bald spots? If so, consider overseeding your lawn.

How Often Do You Need to Overseed a Lawn?

If your neighbor’s thick, lush lawn has you green with envy, it might be time to perform some routine maintenance on your own landscape. Overseeding—the process of adding new grass seed to existing turf—is a great starting point if you’re looking to fill in thinning or sparse patches. “Many grass types lose density over time and require periodic overseeding,” says Marc Mayer, the regional technical manager at TruGreen, who notes that you should aim to tackle this task annually. Below, Mayer explains why timing is everything when it comes to your lawn; he also shares other best practices for success.

Time it right.

Mayer advises against overseeding in the spring “due to weeds competing for space, nutrients, and water.” Instead, he suggests putting down seed in the fall when soil temperatures are still warm, which also allows the seed time to “become more established” without the stress of summer heat.

Determine your grass type.

Before getting started, it’s important to understand your grass type. If yours turns brown in the winter, then you likely have warm-season turf. Common varieties include Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede, or St. Augustine, explains Mayer, all of which respond more favorably to sodding or sprigging opposed to overseeding. However, if you reside anywhere throughout the Midwest or Northeast where grass remains green through the winter months, then you’re dealing with cool-season iterations, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue, or Ryegrass.

Prepare for overseeding.

Once you’ve determined your type, it’s time to prepare your lawn for germination. First, inspect your lawn for clumps of dead grass material, also known as thatch, as this will help ensure “good contact of seed with soil.” Next, mow your grass to the shortest height your mower will allow, bag the clippings, and then rake your lawn in order to remove any leftover debris and loosen the top layer of soil. Then apply your seed.

Don’t forget to water.

According to Mayer, “watering is one of the most important aspects of successful overseeding.” After applying seed, a heavy watering is in order, after which a daily watering should be performed until seeds germinate, which can take up to two weeks. Once germination has occurred, continue to water thoroughly every few days. “It’s important to keep the soil bed moist during the germination process or seed failure could be the end result,” says Mayer, adding that it’s also important to avoid heavy activity, such as mowing, on the delicate area.

Make it an annual practice.

“Annual overseeding is recommended to thicken lawns and make them more attractive, but also to introduce improved varieties of grass that are hardier, less prone to insects and diseases, and more drought tolerant,” explains Mayer.

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