The best way to ensure that your grass is growing properly is to plant it at the right time and use the proper amount of fertilizer. But when exactly is the right time? You might guess spring since that is the planting season for many crops, but this time you would be wrong! Although grass can be planted during the spring, it’s roots won’t get the chance to grow strong and deep enough to survive brutal summers or perennial weeds. With spring out of the question, the only other real answer is: Fall!
The optimal time frame to plant grass seed is the 2 weeks before and after Labor Day. Fall is also the optimal time for fertilization. You should put down an application of fertilizer in early fall (if you’re seeding or over-seeding then plan to do this at the same time) and once more in late fall.
You might be thinking, “Why Fall?” The answer is pretty simple: early fall temperatures are warm enough to encourage germination in the seed without being so hot that your soil dries out. The heat of summer would also require any new seed to be constantly watered. Cool fall nights allow the soil to retain moisture water for longer periods of time, which encourages better response from the seed.
In late fall, the weather begins to cool dramatically. This encourages your grass to grow deeper and stronger roots before the winter hits. By the time next summer rolls around, your grass will be strong and hardy thanks to the deeper root system that will be in place.
Ensuring the Best Growth
To make the most of the advantages toward planting grass seed that fall provides, there are 3 things you need to do:
- Buy the best seed you can
- Fertilize properly
- Correct your soil’s pH levels
The Best Seed
Grass seed isn’t a product to skimp or cut corners on. If you plant inferior seed, it won’t matter how many fertilizer and soil treatments you apply. Your lawn will never be any better than the seed it starts from. Make sure you’re buying a trusted brand! This is why we recommend buying seed like Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty® or Black Beauty Ultra® when looking for grass seed. We stock them at our Koopman Lumber locations and back them fully.
These premium seeds are bred for deep color, drought tolerance, and disease resistance. They will help you grow a thick, lush lawn that will last for years to come.
If you’re seeding a new lawn, you MUST use a starter fertilizer. Just as newborn babies require a specific set of nutrients to grow, grass seeds have different needs when they’re young. Starter fertilizers bring those needs to the young seeds and help in early germination.
If you’re over-seeding or fertilizing an existing lawn, then a regular fertilizer can be used to promote the growth of the existing lawn.
Fertilizer should be used once in early fall (when seeding or overseeding takes place) and once in late fall. When planting new seed, use a thinner layer for the first application than you do for the second. Too much fertilizer in the first application could suffocate the seed before it gets a chance to germinate properly and potentially damage existing grass. ALWAYS follow the instructions that come with your fertilizer.
Correcting pH Levels
Traditionally, people have used lime to counteract the acidity in the soil, but lately more and more people are using Jonathan Greene’s MAG-I-CAL calcium solution. This is a soluble calcium that works about as well as 10 bags of lime and works faster as well.
This should be put down at the end of the season after the last round of fertilizer so that come spring the pH level will be optimal for your new grass to grow!
With fall right around the corner NOW is the time to start thinking about your lawn. Whether you need to seed a new lawn, over-seed an existing lawn, or want to strengthen an existing lawn then Koopman Lumber is the place to be this Fall. We have all the seed, fertilizer, and MAG-I-CAL in stock that you could need and a highly knowledgeable staff ready to get you out working on your lawn in no time!