Everyone wants a beautiful lawn and sometimes, no matter what you do, your lawn just won’t cooperate. Your best bet might be to scrap it all and start over by reseeding your lawn. It may sound simple at first blush and you might think that all you have to do is go to your local home improvement store, pick up a bag of seed, and spread it on your lawn. Will this work? Maybe, but if you spread a seed in the wrong season, it may end up looking like a hot mess because there is a best season for planting grass.
TIMING IS IMPORTANT
There are dozens of different grass species out there, but they all fall under two general categories, warm season grass and cool season grass. We’ll get into a more detailed breakdown in the next section, but as the names imply, one grows best during cooler weather and the other during warmer. Planting them in the wrong one will cause them to grow slower, thinner, or not at all.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Before you seed your lawn, you should identify what’s currently in your lawn. The last thing you want to do is mix grass types since they’ll grow at different rates and cause your lawn to look uneven. However, if you’re starting over from scratch, that won’t matter.
The best way to plant grass seed is to match the grass type with its natural growing season and to use a grass that’s native to your local area. This will help guarantee that it’ll thrive. You’ll also want to pick a grass type that will work on your property.
Some grasses are more shade tolerant that others and if you have large trees, you don’t want to choose a grass that needs to be in the sun all day (i.e. buffalo, bahia, etc.). You’ll be better off going with one that needs dappled shade like St. Augustine.
You’ll also want to be mindful of drought resistance as well. If you tend to get more (or less) than average rainfall for your area, matching the grass type will help guarantee that you won’t end up with dead patches in the heat of summer or cultivating fungus and diseases.
TYPES OF GRASSES FOR YOUR LAWN
There are two types of grasses, warm season and cool season. This information will be on the bag’s label when you’re at the store along with details about amount of sunlight, drought resistance, water requirements and so on.
WARM SEASON GRASSES
These grasses are typically found in the Southern parts of the US and are identified by their wide, coarse blades. These grasses grow best during the warm temperatures of late spring and early summer. They also thrive in humid southern climates as well as western climates. They typically tolerate shade well so you can have them under large trees without worrying about your lawn thinning out as the season goes on.
WARM SEASON GRASS SPECIES
BEST TIME TO PLANT WARM SEASON GRASS
Most places will tell you that you can plant warm season grasses anywhere from March until September, but you’re pushing your luck the longer you wait. Realistically, the sweet spot will fall somewhere between April and June depending on how quickly things warm up in your area. We say that because warm season grasses thrive in temperatures above 80°F and their prime growing season is during summer (May/June through August/September).
Plant too early and the cooler soil will hinder germination. Plant too late and you’re more likely to tip into Fall which is when warm season grasses start to go dormant. Ideally, the best time to seed warm season grass is when your soil temperature is 65-70°F.
COOL SEASON GRASSES
These are grasses that have long, fine blades and can be found in the Upper South to Northern parts of the country. They grow during Fall and Spring and can thrive in temperatures from below freezing up to 80°F. Cool season grasses should be kept at a taller height than warm grasses as well.
COOL SEASON GRASS SPECIES
BEST TIME TO PLANT COOL SEASON GRASSES
The best time to seed a cool season grass in your lawn is during the cooler days of early fall. For a good rule of thumb, you’ll want to do it a full month ahead of the first Fall frost in your area. This is so the seeds can benefit from a full growing season during the Fall and follow it up with another growing season when Spring hits the following year. If you missed the Fall deadline, that’s okay. You can still plant in early Spring though your lawn won’t be as mature and will also have to compete with early weed growth as well.
At the end of the day, you can plant grass any time you want. You can absolutely throw grass seed down and let nature do the rest. Some of the seed will take, but there’s no guarantee that all of it will and there’s no telling what sort of lawn you’ll end up with. However, like my dad always said, “If it’s a job worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” There is a best season for planting grass and if you follow our tips and guidelines, you’ll end up with a beautiful lawn.