Imagine a sprawling lawn, deep green and lush, with no brown spots or ugly dirt patches. Now imagine that it’s your lawn. Your children and/or pets are outside, enjoying the lush grass, and everything seems right with the world. Now, how can you get that lawn? If your lawn is looking less than stellar these days, it may be time to plant grass seed.
Don’t rush out and buy seed just yet. When it comes to seeing your lawn, you will want to wait until it’s the right time of year. Typically, in California, that means the upcoming fall.
Does the time of year really matter?
In short, yes. Lawn grass varies in its cycle of growth and its preference for whatever climate it’s in. When you should seed your lawn mostly depends on where you live, and what kind of grass you have, you will want to seed.
Once you put down a layer of seed in the spring or fall, all the thin areas will then start growing grass, and your lawn will have that green, healthy, makes you want to curl your toes in it, an appearance that we all want.
If you can't seed in the fall, the next best time is the spring.
Cool season grasses
Cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrasses, and tall fescues, grow more during the cooler temperatures of late summer and early fall. These grasses flourish in the cool northern climates.
You should try to plant cool-season grass seed at least 45 days before the estimated date of your first fall frost, or before the soil and air temperatures drop. Your grass will enjoy a full fall season, plus a second cool, growing season come spring.
Warm season grasses
Warm season grasses, such as Bermudagrass, and Zoysia grass, peak in growth during the warmer temperatures of late spring and early summer. These types of grasses thrive in southern and western regions.
The warm-season grasses should be planted at least 90 days before the first fall frost (something we don't really have to worry about, here in California) in order to give the grass time to establish before winter. These summer-loving grasses go dormant once the temperature drops to around 55 degrees, so late-planted seedlings won't be able to 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.
Whether you grow a cool season or warm season grass, if you time your seeding to take advantage of your grass type's natural periods of peak growth, it will help the seed germinate as well as establish quickly.
Your seed gets off to the best possible start and your lawn will be looking great now and in the future.
What about overseeding?
You may want to overseed. Grass gets old, and needs to be rejuvenated. Older grass will allow room for weeds, and overseeding will save you the hassle of removing said weeds from your lawn.
Overseeding is relatively fast and inexpensive and will have your lawn looking great in no time.
If you overseed, you’ll want to cut your grass lower than normal, and be sure to remove the clippings. This step will allow the seed to penetrate the ground easier.
What kind of seed should I use?
The type of seed you use will depend on where you live and what lawn problems your grass has. If you can make it, a trip to your local garden center will connect you with people who can help with your individual needs.