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Careful Calendaring: When to Plant Grass Seed

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

For folks lucky enough to live in regions with year round sun, timing grass seed planting is fairly easy. Your warm-season grass seed will do well anytime the temperatures are nice, which is a big chunk of the year. For folks in four-season climates, successfully putting in grass seed gets more complicated. Here are a few grass seed timing tips for those of us who face winter, spring, summer, and fall.

If you're seeding a cool season grass (Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, perennial rye, etc.) timing is key to the seeds' success. But that doesn't mean you're stuck with a two week window and no other options.
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Fall Grass Planting

The ideal time to seed your cool season lawn is between August 15 and September 15. Temperatures will have dropped a bit, making the seeds and new grass less likely to be scorched from the face of the earth. Plus, there'll be plenty of time after September 15 for your new grass to take hold before winter sets in. If it goes down for winter in great, mature condition, it'll come back that way in the spring.

Dormant Grass Planting

Just because you've missed the August to September window doesn't mean you're out of fall grass planting options. You can always take your chances planting a little later, particularly if you're enjoying an Indian summer. Or you can wait until late autumn to spread grass seeds. They'll remain dormant all winter, but when spring returns they'll start sprouting, giving you a jump start on the next growing season. There are risks -- the seeds can be washed or blown away by harsh weather -- but it's a good option for those who don't want to wait.

Spring Grass Planting

An early spring seeding, during the month of April (or March if the snow has melted in your area) is another good option. If you plant early enough, you'll give your tender young grass enough time to establish it's roots before the heat of summer arrives.

Whether you plant in the spring or fall, baby your new lawn and you'll see great results.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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