Spring Seeding Success

May 18, 2020 | By: Randy Tischer

Green Velvet has been planting hundreds of acres of grass seed here in Ohio every year for the last 60 years, so we bring a fair amount of experience to the table when discussing the best times of the year to plant grass seed. History has proven that Fall seedings, those planted from August 1 thru September 30th is still the best time of the year to plant grass seed. I am a big fan of Winter Dormant seedings, which I rate as the second best time of the year for seeding success. Coming in 3rd on my list is Spring Seeding. This is based on the fact that temperatures are steadily getting warmer in the spring as compared to getting cooler in the fall. This, combined with the fact that every broadleaf weed and annual grass plant is germinating in the spring and competing with the tiny grass seed plant, are the reasons why I place Spring seedings as the 3rd best time of the year to plant grass seed. 

To be successful in the spring, here are a few tips:

  • Plant Early! The earlier you get your grass seed in the ground the better! March seeding are better than April seedings. April seedings are better than May seedings and so on. Planting early gives the grass plant a head start over the competing weeds and grasses. If you have not planted by May, you may have better seeding success if you wait and do an early fall seeding! July has proved to be the single worst month of the year to plant grass seed due to high temperatures and lack of moisture.
  • Feed the Baby! Don’t forget to apply a seed starter fertilizer, one that is high in Phosphorus, to your seedings. We suggest one application at time of seeding and another 5-6 weeks after seed germination to speed up plant growth and grow roots. The more mature the grass plant is, the better chance of it surviving the heat of the summer.
  • Use pre-emergent herbicides such as Tenacity (mesotrione) at the time of seeding! These relatively new herbicides do a great job preventing annual grasses and broadleaf weeds from germinating, while allowing the grass seed to germinate and get established in a much less crowded environment.
  • Water – Water – Water! Because temperatures are steadily getting hotter and any moisture received in the spring evaporates quicker and quicker, if you have access to irrigation, use it!

The bottom line here is that regardless of the time of the year that you plant your grass seed there are no guarantees! The best turf professional, using the best products, and applying these at the very best time of the year should probably only receive 50% of the credit for success and should be blamed for no more than 50% of the failure when planting grass seed. We all have a partner in our efforts to grow turfgrass – Mother Nature! She can make all of us look like a turfgrass genius, and also make us look like we have absolutely no idea what the heck we are doing!