Is it too late to seed my lawn?
Did Fall get away from you all of a sudden? November is approaching and you realized you never got around to seeding your lawn this fall? Is it too late to seed?
For a variety of reasons, property owners often find themselves in this lawn care dilemma. Colder temperatures are appearing and it’s suspiciously looking less than ideal to seed your lawn. The last thing you may want to do is waste your time seeding or paying a lawn care company to do this for you and have it not work.
What makes it too late?
Most people know that watering your new lawn is critical to get it to grow but it is also important to have adequate soil temperatures when you seed. If your soil temperature goes below 55 degrees Fahrenheit it will be very difficult to get those seeds to germinate. Likewise, if young tender seedlings are continuously hammered with frost or even snow they may not make it through to Springtime.
Soil is a better insulator of heat than air is. This may mean that just because it’s 50 degrees outside doesn’t mean your soil is that cold. Temperatures fluctuate throughout the day and night so soil temperatures will gradually lower as temperatures get consistently cooler at all times of day and night, and as sunshine isn’t as prevalent to warm up the ground.
Is there a date that makes it “too late”?
We wish it was as easy as saying a drop-dead date every year for fall lawn seeding, but every fall is different. One October may have snow, and one November another year may have short and T-shirt weather half way into it. It’s kind of a guessing game. We typically try to get our fall seeding operations completed by sometime in the first couple weeks of November at the very latest, but we even seed lawns later on athletic fields in a lot of cases after fall sports are complete. Each client who decides to do late fall seeding has communicated with them the proper corresponding expectations on their seeding projects.
If seed manages to germinate and you are mowing it when winter starts to show up, you really shouldn’t have any concerns. If your seedlings are small and not yet cut-worthy, it’s questionable on whether they will survive. In most cases they will be fine, but weather is erratic and out of our control so you never know. Occasionally, seeding can be performed and you may not even see that seed germinate in the Fall because temperatures were never warm enough for germination. In a lot of those cases, when the soil warms up in the Spring you’ll see your new grass growing.
Things to consider
There are a few main considerations you should note when deciding if it’s too late to seed. If your grass waits to germinate until the following spring, be very careful to not apply crabgrass pre-emergent until it’s appropriate or you may kill off your new grass plants. Be sure to also keep an eye on leaf cover for your new seedlings. They need sunlight to grow so make sure your lawn is tidy in the fall.
Hindsight is 20/20. It’s no surprise that the earlier in the fall you can seed the better. Try whenever possible, to start planning your fall seeding in the summer. This can help you to get this done at the best time if weather cooperates. If you missed that ideal window, unfortunately you’ll just have to take a gamble or wait and see. If you need a professional landscaping company that performs lawn seeding to help you, we’d love to talk with you.