Fall is considered the very best time to plant grass seed! Grass seeds thrive in the warm soil, cool temperatures, and increased rainfall of the autumn season. While planting in the spring is also an option, young grass can be susceptible to high weed pressure going into the summer months. Seeding your lawn in the fall allows the young grass more time to establish before the threat of weeds and the stress of summer heat and drought. Whether you are overseeding, filling in bare spots or seeding bare soil, planting grass seeds now will get you one step closer to that lush green lawn that you have always wanted!
When planning to seed your lawn, consider the different kinds of grasses, be aware that high-quality seeds should be used, and understand that the soil and site need to be prepared in order for proper growth. There are a few main types of grass that make up a typical mix. These include fescues, ryegrasses, and bluegrass which all have a different overall look and growing habit. Consider the area you are planting, but also what look and maintenance level you would prefer. Additionally the type of grass seed you plant depends on the traffic in your yard and whether your yard gets a lot of sun or is shaded. These are the kinds of questions we ask before recommending a specific seed mixture for your lawn.
If you had previous issues getting grass to establish, it might be a good idea to take a soil test. Testing your soil will allow you to evaluate the current soil conditions and then properly determine how to amend the soil if necessary. Most grass types prefer a neutral pH of 6.5 to 7. Available in our retail store are a variety of testing methods that make it easy to learn the health of your soil. Before sowing the seeds, it's important to lay the groundwork to ensure proper growth! Prepare the area by loosening the top layer of soil, approximately 1 inch deep. Loosening the soil before planting will give the young grasses the ability to establish strong root systems. You will want to clean out the area to be planted from weeds, stones, leaves, dead grass, and other debris. Work some nutrients into the soil like compost or a slow-release fertilizer, adding topsoil to fill uneven areas, if necessary. Rake the planting area and gently tamp it down. Scratching up the surface of the soil allows for better seed-to-soil contact, which results in overall better germination. The soil should contain moisture, however it is too wet for planting if the area appears muddy.
With the soil prepped, it's now time to start planting by scattering the seed! Small areas are fine to be done by hand, but for larger areas, investing in a hand crank spreader or walk behind broadcast spreader will distribute the proper amount of seed evenly across the area. It is important to apply seed at the recommended seeding rate. Proper coverage is key - too much seed can cause grasses to compete against one another and ultimately be crowded out. When planting grass seed on bare soil, we always recommend providing protection as the seeds germinate. A thin layer of weed-free loose straw, straw blanket, or mulching material are great options! Lightly cover the seed with Rohrer Seeds Fine Straw Mulch to protect the seed and preserve the moisture. Any leftover seed is best stored in a cool, dry area and can be used for the following season.
Now that the work is done, provide regular watering as the young grass develops. Water once a day, when no rain is forecasted, to keep the soil surface moist. Continue watering until the seedlings are approximately 3 inches tall. When it comes to watering, use your best judgment as over-watering can damage young grass. Grass seeds generally germinate a week to 10 days after they have been planted. This timing depends on several factors, including the type of grass seed, climate, moisture, and soil condition.
With the right type of grass, proper soil preparation, and the right maintenance, you can have your yard looking great! Stop by Rohrer Seeds in Lancaster, PA or order here for our high quality Turf Perfect lawn mixtures. If you are interested in learning more about grass seed varieties or desire lawn care advice, please reach out to us on social media, or send us an email at email@example.com!