This time of year, instead of a blanket of lush green grass, the back yard is a patchy reminder of a lawn that could use some attention. Nothing to be done but wait until spring, right? Not necessarily. Your lawn may not be ready for the mower but dormant seeding the lawn now will help your lawn get a leg up on spring growth.
While many people are familiar with the term overseeding, you may not have heard of dormant seeding. This is a type of overseeding that’s intentionally done in the winter, when your established grass bed has gone dormant. While there is little value in scattering seed, broadcasting grass seed over bare or patchy areas gives seeds an opportunity to anchor in the soil before germinating.
Late summer is the best time to overseed your lawn, to address thin patches and fortify your lawn against weeds and intrusive grasses. But if you didn’t get a chance, or simply did not experience any problem areas until later in the season, then dormant seeding is your answer.
Dormant seeding is an inexpensive and fairly easy way to increase your lawn’s density without the full overhaul of laying fresh sod pallets.
Seeding may take place anytime during the months of November through February. However, in the last few years studies have shown that February may be the best month for deployment, with germination success rates as high as nearly 75 percent—a significant advantage over December or January rates of around 50 percent.
If you’re planning to seed your lawn before winter ends, follow these simple rules to ensure the grass will be greener on your side of the fence.
- Seeds must make direct contact with bare soil.
- Dormant seeding is most successful in soil that is loose or has been previously tilled.
- Rake the area before seeding to agitate the soil and ensure it is free of debris.
- Follow seed provider guidelines for broadcast coverage. Too much seed can be as detrimental as under-seeding.
- Once seeding is complete, lightly rake the surface to cover seeds.
- Keep off the lawn and allow the weather to do your dirty work. The winter cycle in the coming weeks will help the seeds set and any freezing weather will result in even soil compressing, which will aid in germination.
- Hold off on the use of any herbicides until after germination has set in.
Now go inside and have a little hot cocoa. Maybe hit the web and find someplace to take your mower for a tune-up. It’s going to get a good workout on that beautiful lawn of yours.