Don’t we all just love green, beautiful and lush-looking lawns whether at home or in commercial spaces? Yes, but we have to know When is the best time to plant grass seed to see best results.
The results depends on several factors such as the quality and type of grass seed used, the weather conditions and the maintenance practices involved.
Planning to revamp your lawn or come up with an entirely new lawn? Tired of admiring those green and beautiful-looking lawns? Worry no more because at the end of this article, you are going to learn the best type of grass seed to use, how to plant it, when to plant it and how to maintain it so that you keep up with the lush-looking lawns in your neighborhood.
What is grass seed?
When you see those nice-looking green lawns, you may wonder how they came to be. They could have been planted either from sod or grass seed. Grass seed refer to the seeds that are used to plant grass.
One may go for a single type of seed for planting or mix different types depending on why they are planting and the surrounding weather and ecological conditions.
Types of grass seed
There are different types of grass seed planted depending on whether they are for the cool season or warm season. These grasses thrive under different conditions, so it would be very prudent to know which type is suitable for your area. The most common types include:
- Zoysia grass seed
- Clover seeds
- Bermuda grass seed
- Scotts grass seed
- Fescue grass seed
- Buffalo grass seed
- Bahia grass
- Kentucky Bluegrass seed
- Ornamental grasses
- Perennial Ryegrass seed
Why choose grass seed for your lawn?
While thinking about greening spaces, some people go for sod while others go for grass seed. Well, here is why you should definitely go for grass seed:
- Unlike sod which is very perishable, when it comes to seed, you are in a position to store it for long until when you are ready or the weather conditions are perfect for planting.
- Depending on why you want to plant the grass, you can do the right seed mixes from the start.
- Any remaining seed can be kept for future use, whether it’s for a new lawn or maintaining the existing lawn.
- Also, with grass seed, you’ll be able to be part of the grass development from the start, noticing any changes and appreciating the effort throughout.
- The cost for using grass seed for your lawn is cheaper than buying ready sod when it comes to the actual purchase of seed, machinery and labor costs involved.
It’s not all bloom when using grass seed for your spaces. You have to be aware of the following precautions in order to ensure successful growth from beginning to end.
- There are so many grass seed mixes in the market, making it an uphill task choosing the best type. You need not be in a hurry when it comes to choosing. Take your time to understand all the seed varieties and which one is suitable for your lawn.
- Unlike sod which gives you an instant beautiful-looking space, you will have to wait longer for seed to germinate before you can achieve that lush looking scenery. It takes about six to twelve months under the right conditions for the grass to take shape.
- After planting, you need to be aware of birds and other invaders that might interfere with the seed before it matures.
Factors to consider before purchasing grass seed
By the time you think about buying grass seed for your lawn, you would have time to think about why your lawn needs a revamp or other commercial reasons why you need to plant grass.
But before you even think about when to buy and what type of seed to purchase, you need to put the following factors in mind:
- The location or region where the grass will be planted.
- The type of soil.
- Why you are planting the grass, whether for domestic or commercial purposes.
- The type or quality of grass seed available in your region.
- The climatic conditions; whether it’s the cool or warm season
How to plant grass seed
There are several steps you need to put at the back of your mind before you can dive into the planting of the grass seed.
1. Site preparation
Site preparation involves whether you are doing a completely new space or just repairing an already existing lawn.
If it’s an entirely new lawn, ensure that the area is cleared out by removing the old turf and any other existing vegetation and rocks. You have to make sure that all previously existing vegetation is dead before moving to the next step.
Grade and smoothen the area taking care of drainage and existing trees and buildings.
2. Soil preparation
It is very important that you understand the soil upon which you are going to plant the grass seed.
Test the PH and nutrient levels of the soil first. For optimal conditions, the soil PH should range between 6.0 to 7.5. You can do this yourself if you have the testing kit or send it to a reputable lab for analysis.
The results from the test will either compel you to amend the PH levels so as to maintain the balance or give a go ahead to continue to the next stage.
If you come from regions that have very acidic soil, you could amend that by mixing the soil with lime.
You have taken care of everything needed before you put your grass seed into the ground. Now it’s time for planting. Do you just plant the seed like you plant other crops or is there a specific way to plant grass seed?
Well, when it comes to grass seed, most of the packaging material provide the guidelines to take when planting. To achieve a nice spread of seeds, consider using a spreader which will evenly distribute the seeds especially for smaller spaces. There are other different types of spreaders used especially for larger spaces which will improve the efficiency of planting and limit seed wastage.
After spreading the grass seed, cover them with the loose topsoil using a rake, ensuring that you don’t burry them deeper than a quarter an inch.
You will then pass a roller to make sure that the seed makes good contact with the soil for faster germination.
This is the most important phase because it will determine whether the seeds germinate or dry up. Just like when planting sod, grass seed requires that you water cautiously so that the area doesn’t become soggy.
The first few weeks before the seeds germinate would require watering roughly twice a day. Ensure that while watering, you use a light spray that ensures you’re not pouring a lot of water on the seeds.
Once the seeds germinate, this frequency can be reduced to once a day or a few times a week.
Maintaining the newly planted seed
Congratulations for having the newest lawn in the neighborhood or the newest golf pitch around! What next?
It’s not just enough to plant the seed and let it grow. The next stages are very crucial to the survival of your grass.
Monitoring seed development
This might take a while and you might even grow impatient waiting for the first seedling to pop out. Unlike sod which instantly gives the carpet-like look, seed development takes about 21 days to germinate and about eight more weeks for root establishment.
Sometimes, not all the seeds germinate, and this is the best time to check for any empty spots that require reseeding.
During this phase, ensure that you keep off traffic until at a time where the grass is well established to handle traffic.
Your lawn or course is now taking shape and there is that uniform green color everywhere that you were looking forward to.
Before you can mow your grass, ensure that the grass reaches a height of about 3 inches.
While mowing, ensure that you don’t cut more than a third of the grass blades to ensure that you avoid any weakness that would hinder their growth or pluck them out from the soil.
Depending on the type of grass planted, mowing schedules might be different. For grasses planted in the cool season, mowing might have to wait a little longer as the grass takes longer for root establishment.
Application of fertilizer depends on different factors such as the type of grass seed, soil fertility and climatic conditions.
This usually starts about two months after planting for grasses planted during the cool seasons and requires applying fertilizer up to three times a year.
You might have to wait a little longer, usually until the next spring, to apply fertilizer to grass planted during the warm seasons, and this could be done up to four times a year.
Frequency of applying fertilizer will then depend on the soil nutrient content and weather conditions at the time.
Why timing matters
When it comes to planting grass seed, timing is everything. Different seeds thrive under different weather conditions. The good thing with seed unlike turf is that you can purchase them and wait for the right time to plant them.
Timing ensures that right climatic and ecological conditions are in place to support the growth and maturity of grass seed.
When is the best time to plant grass seed
Warm Season Grasses
There are regions that experience warm conditions. Grasses that fall into this category perform well in warm climates.
During this period, the soil moisture content is usually low, but these grasses can still thrive in such type of soil.
Below are the common grasses grown during this season:
1. Bermuda Grass
This type of grass originates from East Africa and is suitable for many uses that include high traffic areas like soccer pitches, parks and golf courses because of its toughness.
It thrives well in the South Western parts of United States that experience tropical climate that ensures it doesn’t dry up or discolor throughout the year.
This grass originates from the Philippines and the good thing about it is that it is both weed and drought resistant.
Just like Bermuda grass, this is a tough grass that can withstand high traffic, thus suitable for very high traffic areas like parks.
Precaution should be taken when watering this type of grass as it does not thrive well when over-watered.
Bahia originates from South America and can withstand dry weather conditions. It does not require a lot of fertilizer or water for maintenance making it a suitable grass for the warm season.
Unlike Bermuda and Zoysia, Bahiagrass does not support high traffic and is not disease resistant.
This type of grass is suitable for home lawns where there is very minimal traffic.
Grasses that survive in these types of conditions thrive well in fluctuating temperatures and can withstand extremely cold temperatures without drying up. They grow well between 60- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.
These grasses are found in many areas around Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States.
1. Fine Fescue
This type of grass originated from Europe and the beauty about it is that it is disease resistant making it a favorite for farmers and home lawns.
It is a tough grass that adapts to different climatic conditions, being able to tolerate extreme conditions, either warm or cool without drying up.
2. Kentucky Bluegrass
This is a versatile grass that can be used for soccer pitches, gardens, lawns and even as plant for pasture.
This grass originated from different continents of Africa, Asia and Europe, but is widely being used in different parts of United States that experience cold weather.
Unlike the other grasses, Kentucky Bluegrass has very shallow roots that require frequent watering, but it grows densely making it also suitable for high traffic areas.
3. Perennial Ryegrass
Unlike its counterpart, Annual Ryegrass, Perennial Ryegrass thrives well in the cool conditions and is best used for pasture and home lawns.
It tolerates traffic as well and bounces back quickly after damage, making it a favorite grass for many people especially when it comes to reseeding.
In summary, when it comes to planting grass seed, all the factors above, including the type of grass seed, soil type, whether for domestic or commercial purposes, region, maintenance practices and prevailing weather conditions at the time, hugely contribute to the survival of the grass.
Check out your region and the corresponding climatic conditions and choose the grass seed that is best suited to thrive in such conditions. If you are not sure, kindly consult your local or nearby seed farmers for professional advice.