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The 5 Tips For Germinating Grass Seed

1. When is the best time of year to germinate grass seed?

The best time to germinate grass seed is between 60-80F. That’s why spring and fall are the best times to germinate grass seed.

2. Is spring or fall better to germinate seed?

It really depends on your lawn needs. For maintaining a nice lawn, fall is recommended.  For establishing a damaged or new lawn, spring or fall are both fine.  A lawn program must be altered if the seed is applied in the spring.  The main changes are:

  1. A pre-emergent crabgrass control cannot be applied in the spring when germinating. Crabgrass is a grassy weed and the chemicals can’t tell the difference between the grassy weed seedlings and the grass seedlings that is applied.  Pre-emergent Crabgrass applications prevent the germination of grass seed for 120 days; this typically puts you into fall time.
  2. Broad-leaf weed control cannot be applied until the seedling is established. This means that you may not be able spray weeds for 1-2 months after the seed is first applied.

3. How long does it take to germinate grass seed?

It really depends on the type of seed used.  Take a look at the diagram below:

This is a diagram that shows how to germinate the different types of grass seed.

4. How much water does it take to germinate grass seed?

After planting grass seed, watering needs to be done on an as-needed basis.  The top 2 inches of soils should remain moist, not sopping wet throughout germination.  Feel the soil to see if it’s moist or dry.  Water whenever the soil is becoming dry. If the soil gets too dry, the germination process will stop. When watering, do not water so much that it pools on the soil’s surface.  After the germination process is over, regular maintenance watering is required.  Click here for more watering tips.

5. When can I mow my new grass?

Grass seed should only be walked on and mowed after the germination process is complete. In general at least a 4 week period needs to pass before any type of mower should be on your lawn.  Any type of traffic could damage the weak seedling blades.   It is important to allow the seedlings to strengthen themselves by letting them establish their roots.  If you mow too soon, the wheels of the mower could compact the soil which could contribute to poor root spread of the seedling.  Another way to tell if the grass seed is ready is to see how long the grass sprouts are. If the sprouts are 3-4 inches, your grass is ready to be mowed. Keep in mind that you should allow the grass about 48 hours to dry to prevent any root damage from the soft soil. Remember to not mow more than 1/3 of the grass at a time.  Click here for more mowing tips. 


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