An easy to follow seeding grass guide for a lawn with lush, dense grass, no bare spots, weed control, and a backyard you can enjoy all summer long A patchy and weedy lawn is unpleasant and unappealing. Luckily, there are ways you can get rid of the weeds and replant grass seed to have a lush lawn. Before you start, it's important that you purchase the right type of seed for your… Are you anxious to seed your lawn to fill in bare spots? The truth is, seeding in the spring is not a good idea. Read these tips on when to plant grass seed and how to achieve the best results.
How to Plant Grass Seed and Grow Your Best Lawn Yet
Landscaping an emerald lawn comes with an important skill: seeding grass. The health of your existing lawn—front yard or backyard—is decidedly linked to the state of your grass. A verdant yard can’t exist on its own, and it’s good practice to reseed every three to four years. The frequency of seeding grass often depends on foot traffic and whether pets have wreaked havoc in your yard and left bare spots. Maintaining your grass not only helps with weed control but will keep larger areas from thinning out. Seeding grass regularly is what gives your lawn that plush density and curb appeal.
“During the 1800s and 1900s, lawns were considered a status symbol,” David Angelov, CEO of PlantParenthood in Swampscott, Massachusetts, says. “Back then, it was really hard to maintain, so if you had a pristine lawn, you were considered in good status.” Whether you want to live like nobility or grow a small patch of new grass, here is the DL on seeding grass.
What is grass seed?
All existing lawns start from grass seedlings at some point. If you skip seeding grass, your yard will look like an unkempt plot. Grass seed is exactly what it sounds like: the seeds from which new grass will germinate. Generally, grass seeds are a light tan color and range in size from a quarter of an inch to three-quarters of an inch, depending on the variety. Angelov points out that the grass lawn is made up of millions of tiny individual plants that are matted together. “When the seed germinates, it spreads the root down,” he says. “Each seed shoots up one blade of grass, and then they spread like a carpet.”
How do you choose the correct grass seed for your lawn?
The best grass seed for your lawn comes down to a few factors: local climate, expected usage, and the aesthetic. First determine whether your lawn is best suited for warm-season grasses or cool-season grasses.
Then, consider foot traffic. Do you plan to entertain or play on your new lawn? Decide if the grass will endure the shenanigans. Look at your existing lawn and landscaping and note the amount of shade your yard is getting. Finally, think about how you want the lawn to look. Outlining these considerations is especially helpful when asking for recommendations when you head to a local nursery or garden store.
What are some common grass seed varieties?
Grass seed comes in many different types, each with its own look and care requirements. For lawns, you’ll usually find turfgrass, which is narrow-leaved grass seed species that you can mow short, about two inches or shorter. This grass seed can tolerate foot traffic well. Generally, turfgrasses are divided into two categories: warm-season and cool-season grass.
Warm-season grasses begin active growth in late spring and are generally more tolerant to heat. Cool-season grasses, on the other hand, begin active growth much earlier in the season, usually mid spring, and grow better in cooler climates. Some common grasses you’ll find as part of a lawn include:
How to Reseed a Lawn with Weeds
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
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A patchy and weedy lawn is unpleasant and unappealing. Luckily, there are ways you can get rid of the weeds and replant grass seed to have a lush lawn. Before you start, it’s important that you purchase the right type of seed for your environment and you test your lawn so you know which kind of amendments and compost to use. If your lawn is really spotty and full of weeds, you should kill all of the weeds and old grass in your lawn and start over. If you only have a few weeds, you can spot weed and reseed.
3 Things to do Before and After Yard Pest Control Treatments
If you have bare or thin spots in your lawn then you might be thinking about seeding. Seeding can be a great way to solve these problems, however, homeowners often mistakenly assume that it’s something they can have performed any time during the year. For optimal results, that’s simply not the case.
Because we want the best for your lawn, we’ll explain when to plant grass seed in spring or fall and how to achieve the best results.
Can I Seed my Lawn in the Spring?
This is a question that we receive quite often. If you have a lawn that has bare spots or thin areas, then you might be anxious to seed in order to fill them in. But the truth is, seeding in the spring is not a good idea for two key reasons that we’ll explain.
You Can’t Put Down Some Lawn Care Materials
If you’ve seeded in the spring, then you can’t put down crabgrass preventer for approximately 3 months afterward, and at that time, it will be too late to prevent crabgrass.
The material being applied will not know the difference between a desired turfgrass seed and a crabgrass seed, and will ultimately prevent both from growing.
Sometimes people ask us about just skipping crabgrass control but in our opinion, this is risky. Skipping crabgrass control can become a potentially serious concern because of how quickly the pesky weeds can spread. Crabgrass also grows most freely in the thinner areas of your lawn, such as the ones you may have seeded, which makes seeding a bad idea.
Likewise, broadleaf weed control cannot be applied until your new grass seed begins to grow and has matured enough to mow it a couple times. Again, that time frame will end up being very late in the spring to early summer and at that time, your lawn will have also developed quite a crop of weeds along the way.
The Upcoming Weather is Not Ideal
While the springtime weather may be fine for growing grass seed, it won’t be long until the hot summer sun impacts growing conditions. Most people assume that winter is the most challenging time for grass but it’s actually the summer. It’s very difficult to keep brand-new grass seedlings alive with the heat of the summer sun beating down.
The Best Time to Plant Grass in Virginia
You might be wondering when is the best time to plant grass in Virginia if it’s not the spring. Ideally, seeding should always be performed in the fall. Not only does this allow you to get through the spring season utilizing the professional weed control products that your lawn will need to look its best, but weather conditions in the fall are ideal for new seedling growth.
The weather is cool, the ground is moist, and the soil is still warm. In these conditions, your lawn will develop a healthy root system that will allow it to become established in plenty of time before the summer stress sets in.
When it comes to broadleaf weed control, you can apply a late summer or early fall application of this material and then wait approximately a week and seed your lawn. This allows for getting rid of most of the weeds in the lawn prior to seeding and then not having to worry about them for the rest of the fall.
Of course, you might also be wondering specifically when to plant grass seed in fall? The optimal time is anywhere between late August (technically late summer) through the end of October or possibly even early November. It’s not so much the exact time as it is the weather conditions.
Is There Ever a Time to Plant Grass Seed in Spring?
Even though we tell homeowners that seeding the lawn in the spring is not ideal, we occasionally still have people who really want it done. This is usually the case for homeowners who just bought a home and have no grass at all or have so many bare spots that they’re desperate for at least some new grass.
In these circumstances, it’s all about expectations.
We are honest with homeowners that we can seed their lawn in the spring but chances are only about half of it may survive, if they’re lucky. They may also have to deal with weeds in their lawn since we can’t put product down. Then we’ll still need to re-seed in the fall and perform aeration or power seeding. Once homeowners look at it this way and recognize that they’ll be paying for seeding twice (without much luck on the first go-around), they usually just choose to wait.
Of course, another option, for the homeowner who is truly desperate for grass, is laying sod. This is another service that we can offer should you not be able to wait for seeding in the fall (plus the process of nurturing and growing that new grass).
Laying down sod is basically like getting an “instant lawn” and some homeowners decide to do it if they have a party coming up or just can’t wait for the grass to grow. However, you should know that it can be costly and the bigger the yard you have, the more it will be. For that reason, this is something we perform for townhomes or small sections of lawns more often than the entirety of expansive properties.
Wanting the Best for You
We have no doubt that there are lawn care companies in Northern Virginia that will agree to seed your lawn in the spring even though they know it’s not the ideal timing. Companies like these do not have your best interest at heart and would rather just get paid for the work.
At Kingstowne, you can always count on us to give you the honest truth, even when we know it’s not always what you would prefer to hear. Though it can be hard to wait when you really want to seed sooner, waiting until the optimum time to seed your lawn will pay off with better results (and a wiser investment on your behalf).
Our objective is to do what’s best for you, even when it means forgoing potential revenue we could earn in the spring. Ideally, we would love to see all of our customers hold off on seeding until the fall so that you can have the best possible outcome.
If you’re ready to work with an honest company who is committed to doing what’s best for your lawn, then request a quote and relax while we get to work.