The very best time of the year to plant grass seed is in the fall, September into the first two weeks of October.
Looking back over the lats two falls, Cincinnati has had weather of the opposite extremes. Fall 2010 was very hot and dry with no decent rain fall until November. Last year we lived in a rain forest, setting record highs in rain throughout the year.
Those two extremes made it impossible to be successful planting grass seed at what should be the best time.
If you fit into this category or just want to plant some grass seed and thicken that lawn, take heart in the fact that the second-best time to plant grass seed (and the easiest) is during the month of February and the first 10 days of March.
No raking or other soil prep is necessary. Nature will finish planting the seed through its heaving and thawing process that occurs through mid-March. Your grass seed will germinate when your soil temperature reaches into the 50-degree range.
The only type of grass seed that I’d recommend planting would be a turf type fescue like Fine Lawn or Avenger to name a couple. Turf fescue is the best grass for sun and shade. It is drought tolerant. Turf fescue also blends well with other types of lawn grasses that might be present.
Place the seed on your lawn where the existing grass is thin to missing. A lawn spreader is the best and most even way to apply your seed. Adjust the setting on your applicator so for to five seeds per inch of lawn are being applied.
Ground moss should be removed before seeding. It rakes off easily. Do not apply and pre-emergent crab grass control until your new grass is up and growing.
For those using a lawn service, notify them that you have winter-seeded. Notify the service when the new seed starts to grow. No fertilizer is needed, especially for lawns that were fed last fall. You can apply a light feeding when you apply your pre-emergent.
Do not use a lawn roller. Lawns can be very bumpy coming out of winter due to the natural heaving and thawing that occurs, magnified by your existing lawn grass laying flat. This is nature’s free aeration and the lawn qwill smooth out naturally as it starts to grow new blades.
Keep foot traffic to a minimum, especially if the lawn is wet or frozen. Take you mower in for service now before the line gets too long. Get the blade sharpened professionally while it’s at the shop.
Article courtesy of The Cincinnati Enquirer, 02/04/2012, by Denny McKeown.