Why plant grass in the fall?
I. Figure out what type of grass will grow best in your region
Cool-season grasses grow best between 60 degrees F and 75 degrees F and can handle cold winters.
Warm-season grasses grow best in temperatures above 80 degree F and thrive in milder-winter regions.
Associate cool-season grasses with blue spruce and warm-season grasses with palm trees and you're on the right track.
Typically, cool-season grasses are grown in USDA Hardiness Zones of 6 and colder while warm-season grasses are grown in zones 7 and warmer.
So in New York, we're looking to plant cool season grasses. In Florida, you'd plant warm season grasses.
II. Remove rocks, sticks and other debris then mow
III. Till that top layer of soil
IV. Level the ground
V. Scatter the seed
For small areas spread the seed by hand. Apply 16 seeds per square inch.
- Overseed your lawn. When I cram too many seedlings in my plastic containers in the spring I end up with leggy, spiny and weak plants. The same theory applies to your lawn.
- Overseeded areas will grown thin, lanky and unhealthy grass because the seedlings are fighting so hard for nutrients.
VI. Protect the seeds with topsoil
Topsoil can be purchased in bags from a big box store or look for free fills signs where you live. Newly planted seeds need to be protected from the elements until they take root.
If you have a hard downpour right after you plant, that stream could easily uproot your seeds before they even have a chance to root. Not good! Spread the topsoil by hand or with a cage roller
- You may also want to consider using straw or other organic material to lightly cover the seed and protect it from pecking birds, squirrels and deer. Straw will also help keep it moist.
VII. Water the seeds
Overwatering can also kill seed. Because grass seedlings need constant moisture, water frequently and shallowly so the top 2 inches of soil stays moist, but not soggy.
Check regularly and water if soil is dry. Do this for four to six weeks until roots grow and then water less often but more deeply.
Try setting the sprinkler on a mist settings. Never use a jet or other powerful stream of water or you will wash away seed.
Water twice a day, once in the morning and then again at night with this light spray. Continue until the grass sprouts to a few inches.
• Each watering should penetrate the soil to a depth of several inches to promote good root growth!
VIII. Keep people and pets off the lawn
The same with our kids walking on the lawn or the dogs trudging back and forth. Constant foot traffic will compact the underlying soil, which in turn restricts healthy root growth.
So grass grows poorly and bare tracks may appear. In wet weather, compaction is even more likely to occur (We're getting a lot of rain here daily here.)
I thought it was slightly passive aggressive, but Tom insisted on putting up yellow tape attached to poles to keep kids and pets off.
But I drew that line at caution tape and asked him to at least stick with plain yellow. I think everyone got the drift that the man is trying to grow grass.
IX. Fertilize that seed
X. Keep the lawn watered
Just make sure the soil gets a good soak and if you do notice any grass turning brown, water quickly to revive it. Never water after a heavy rain because you don't want it to become waterlogged.
Not everyone has Tom's skills, patience or tools to create the perfect lawn. In that case, consider hiring a professional lawn care service like the ones experts from House Method recommend.