This Turf-Tip was provided Joe Rimelspach and Todd Hicks with OSU – Plant Pathology and Turfgrass Program.
Of the four seasons, this is the “third best time” to seed a lawn. The best is autumn, then winter, followed by spring and the least desirable time is summer. The main challenge with the spring seeding is the large number of weeds (both grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds) that can come up with the grass seed. Seed as early as possible in the spring so new plant can develop a root system before summer heat and dry conditions occur. Following are some steps to use when seeding:
Select Grass Type:
- To match grass to the site
- For desired features
- Use quality seed
- Seed vs. Sod
- Apply starter fertilizer with high Phosphorous. Phosphorous (P) is very important for successful seed germination and establishment. This is true even when a soil test notes that there is adequate phosphorous to grow an established lawn.
- Seeding, for best results use a drill / slice seeder machine and seed in several directions.
- If the site is seeded by hand, lightly rake the seed into the soil. The seed must make contact with the soil. Seed on top of dead grass or thatch may germinate but quickly die. Roll lightly if possible for good seed soil contact.
- Mulch, to help maintain soil moisture for seed germination.
- Irrigate, keep soil moist until the new seedlings are growing and have an adequate root system to survive.
- Mow as so as new seedlings are tall enough to be mow at the normal mowing height.
- Avoid applying herbicides this spring, i.e. do NOT apply fertilizer plus crabgrass preventer or weed-and-feed products. Young seedlings don’t tolerate herbicides well and the general guideline is to wait until the seedling have been mowed three times before applying any herbicides. With all herbicide produces read the label and follow use directions.