When Is It Too Late To Plant Grass Seed?
Plant Your Grass Seed at the Proper Time
That bare spot on the front lawn has been bothering you for months now; even worse, your entire backyard needs to be totally broken up, fertilized, aerated, and planted with grass seed. You are motivated to accomplish these tasks now, but is it too late to conquer these at this time of year? Knowing the appropriate general type of grass seed is your first step, then you can determine the time frame for planting in your region.
There are two general types of grass seed: warm season and cool season. Warm season grass seed (bermuda, St. Augustine, zoysia, bahiagrass, centipede, buffalo grass) are best planted from early spring into summer. In the United States, these grasses grow well from the Lower Midwest and Upper South to the Deep South. Cool weather grass seed (Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, perennial rye, bentgrass) are planted in late summer to early fall from the Lower Midwest and Upper South to northern regions in the United States. Once you know which seed is appropriate for you, your planting time can be determined.
Early Spring/Summer Planting
When daytime air temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (soil temperature at 70 degrees Fahrenheit), it is time to begin planting warm season grass seed. Planting time even within the same state can vary; however, most of the southern states can be seeded from March through August. Some areas in the Deep South can be seeded even later than August. Some of the northern regions in the transitional region (middle of the United States) should delay planting until April or May. To avoid planting warm season grass seed too late in the season, first, find the average first frost date for your region. You can locate this on maps and charts on many websites. Second, plant seed more than 60 days before this date. You should achieve high germination and vigorous growth before the first frost by doing this. By following this guideline, you will prevent the young seedlings from becoming dormant when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If frosts or freezes cause the seedlings to go dormant before storing up nutrients from the soil, they may not survive the winter.
Late Summer/Early Fall Planting
Late summer/early fall cool season grass seed planting should begin when the daytime temperatures are 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (soil temperature 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit). In the summer months, extreme heat and lack of water can cause young seedlings to wither and die. Cool season grasses can also go dormant (stop growing) when temperatures rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase your chances of having a lush lawn, seed your lawn no later than 90 days before the first average frost in your area. This will allow your seedlings to absorb nutrients from the soil and develop adequate root systems before winter arrives.
The closer you follow the guidelines set by turf experts, the greater your chances are of having a thick, beautiful lawn. You are almost guaranteed to accomplish this if you seed your lawn at the proper time. Remember, do not plant warm season grass seed later than 60 days before your average first frost; do not plant cool season grass seed later than 90 days before your average first frost.