Having a great lawn takes more than great grass seed. Sometimes, it takes a bit of effort effort. One of the tasks that people always seem to focus on is seeding and reseeding their lawns.
One way to cut down on the time and energy it takes to do this chore is to seed over the winter in a process known as dormant seeding.
Is It Possible to Seed Grass in Winter?
Seeding grass in the winter can be done and is known as dormant seeding. It is best done in places with a good amount of snow and consistently cold temperatures that freeze the ground until spring.
As long as you use a species of grass that can hold up to cooler temperatures, like some Kentucky bluegrasses, some varieties of ryegrass, and some tall fescues, you should have no issue sowing seed during the winter months.
The grass seed will lay dormant through the winter months until it thaws and sprouts as the temperature rises.
Dormant Seeding: How to Sow Grass Seeds in Winter
Seeding your grass in the winter is easy to do. Preparing your lawn and soil for the seed you want to sow will just take some preparation work.
Mow your lawn to be as short as possible. Lower your lawn mower to its lowest setting and mow it two to three times. Normally, this would not be healthy for your lawn, but doing this is called scalping your lawn.
Go over the area you plan to seed with a wire rake, scratching the soil's surface as much as possible. Your lawn is prepared to start sowing. The best way to sow your grass is to use a broadcaster.
A handheld broadcaster or a wheeled seeder will work. If you can time doing this before a forecasted rain; that is even better. Now, it is just a matter of letting winter's natural cooling and warming process do its job.
As the ground shifts, the grass seed will maintain ground contact, absorb water, and begin to germinate as the temperature rises.
Caring for Seeded Grass in Winter
Dormant seeding does not work everywhere and may require extra care in areas not ideal for this seeding method. The most important thing for dormant seeding to work is moisture.
The best conditions for the dormant seeding to work are snow-covered ground from winter that won't melt until spring or consistently cold temperatures with high precipitation rates.
If you live in a location that does not receive either, you may need to spritz the area that's been seeded occasionally.
Another concern may be protecting the seeded area if it is not covered by snow. Snow coverage protects the seed from being eaten by wildlife and blown away by the wind. Covering your newly seeded area with a thin layer of straw can help protect your lawn until it is ready to germinate in the spring.
Either way, dormant seeding is a great way to save you time, effort, and sometimes money sowing a lawn and replacing sod. Even having to do a few extra steps to protect a seed sown during the winter is nothing compared to having to reseed a lawn in the hot summer months or calling a lawn company to do it for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best grass seed to use for winter seeding?
Any grass can be used for winter seeding, but the best options to give your lawn the greatest chance at being successful are perennial ryegrass or Kentucky bluegrass.
Should you plant grass seed before winter?
Different grass seeds call for sowing at different times, so the question of when you should plant a certain seed is a matter of species, cultivar, or variety. Ultimately, any seed can be planted at any time with some degree of success, but for the highest success rates, always follow the recommendations for the seed you are planting.
Is it fine to put down grass seed before it snows?
This method can have its positives and negatives. The snow will keep the seed in contact with the soil and allow it to interact with the soil naturally as it expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations. The negatives will be lower germination rates and the possibility of premature thaws and germination and late thaws frost damaging newly sprouted grass.
Read the original article on The Spruce.