Whether you are planting a new lawn for the first-time, or reseeding a small area, a lush green yard is what you are after. But obtaining one is more than throwing down grass seed and adding sun and water.
A beautiful yard is the result of many factors: high-quality grass seed, proper watering techniques, fertilizer, aeration, and good timing. A well-timed and well-informed decision on when to plant grass seed may make the difference between a pristine lawn, and a blemished one. Let’s take a look at some considerations before the project begins to determine the best time to plant grass seed in Minnesota.
Before You Begin
First, why are you reseeding? For example, is the grass underneath your favorite oak tree thinning? Has the oak tree’s canopy expanded so that sunlight cannot protrude it? Is it likely that your favorite oak tree grows it is taking more water and nutrients to survive, and leaving less water and nutrients for the grass nearby? If this sounds familiar, or if your case is completely different, look to make changes (e.g. watering, pruning, etc) so you don’t find yourself in another reseeding project soon.
In cool weather states like Minnesota, the best time to plant grass seed is late summer to early fall. This time frame gives the cool weather grass seeds (e.g. Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues, perennial ryegrass, etc.) the best chance for survival. This time frame is also past any extreme heat from the summer months. Established grasses will be going dormant at winter approaches, giving the growing seeds a better chance of grabbing essential nutrients. Lawns seeded in late summer and early fall are more likely to fill in completely for winter and produce a thicker turf appearance the following spring. And with the onset of fall, the nights are growing longer and cooler which will help any new grass stay moist and not dry out.
During the growing season, grass can grow at almost any time but there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind. If you have an opportunity to select the time you plant, wait until the day before or the day of a rain shower to plant your grass seed. A gentle watering will help the seeds germinate. However, if a thunderstorm or significant rainfall is in the forecast, you may want to delay your plans. Too much rain on virgin or prepared soil will cause the seeds to runoff towards nearby storm drains. Causing you to literally watch your seeds go down the drain. On the other hand, if you plant seeds during a drought it will be very difficult to keep them irrigated enough to help them establish roots.
Lastly, avoid planting during an extreme heat wave or cold snap. Such extremes can occur in late summer and early fall, but these abnormal temperature swings will make it even more difficult for the seeds to germinate.
How Long Before Results
If you plant your grass seeds and they germinate, you should see new sprouts in about two weeks. If two weeks have passed and there are no grass sprouts, then reseed and be sure to water properly. The most important factor when planting grass seed is the proper amount of water. Frequent and timely irrigation to ensure that the soil is moist during germination is best. Too much irrigation will turn your yard into a lake and cause the grass seed to wash away.
- Seeding should be spread a half rate in perpendicular directions across the area that needs to be seeded.
- Follow up with a light raking, but allow 10-15% of the seed to show.
- Use a roller or cultipacker over the area will ensure good seed-to-soil contact.
- Follow a frequent watering program by applying light irrigation up to three to four times a day.
- After germination, reduce watering frequency as roots grow into the soil.
Where to Start
If you want it done right, you need to start with high-quality grass seed. Fra-Dor Landscape Supplies has grass seed, and other quality materials for all of your landscaping needs. For competitive pricing on all of your residential and commercial projects, contact Fra-dor for a quote today.