If you miss the optimal lawn seeding window, you can still put down grass seed in the winter. This is called “dormant seeding.” The seed will lay dormant until the soil starts to warm up in spring, when it will germinate. Dormant seeding comes with some risk but can be beneficial and save you time on seeding in spring. Learn the essentials of dormant seeding from the experts at Jonathan Green.
We have been perfecting grass seed over 100 years. Since 1881, six generations of the Jonathan Green family have experimented with the best varietals of cool season grass to create a seed blend that is unmatched. Black Beauty grass seed mixtures are specially formulated to be disease and drought resistant.
Dormant Seeding: The Process
It is usually best to undertake dormant seeding when you want to reseed bare soil areas or thicken up thin lawns. The process is nearly identical to planting grass seed at other times of the year.
The best dates for dormant seeding will vary based on your location, but soil temperatures should be consistently below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve the best results.
The most important part of the dormant-seeding process is to ensure seed-to-soil contact with proper soil preparation. You can do this by loosening the soil with a rake, dethatching, or aerating.
Loosen the soil so the seed can be easily incorporated into the top ¼” of soil. If the lawn contains holes, spread topsoil to fill in the depressions and then level it with a rake and apply grass seed over it. Do not bury the seed with too much topsoil.
After sowing the seed, water the area lightly and leave it alone until the seeds germinate in spring. In the cool or cold winter temperatures, the area will stay moist for longer than it would in summer.
If the weather warms up and the seeded area drys out, you may need to water lightly just to keep the seed bed moist. This is only important if you’ve reached the time of year when the seed can germinate. This is usually mid-spring when the soil temperature reaches a consistent 55°F.
The cycle of freezing and thawing during the winter will pull the seed down into the soil, and any snowfall will compress the soil around the seed and aid in germination.
Dormant Seeding: The Benefits
By dormant seeding in the winter months, you will be giving your lawn a head start come springtime. You are less likely to get weeds, and grass plants will have more time to develop vigor and hardiness before hot summer conditions arrive, making them better able to tolerate summer stresses.
Dormant Seeding: The Risks
If the weather suddenly turns warm, the grass seed may germinate too early. When it turns colder, the seedlings could be pushed up out of the ground and killed. Seeds also risk being washed away if snowmelt is excessive in the spring. Don’t expect miracles. It’s possible that the dormant seeding could fail if the weather doesn’t cooperate, but that is true with seeding at any time of the year.
It is important to understand that, if you postponed your lawn seeding in the fall, you can still put down grass seed in the winter. When you are ready to get started, visit Jonathan Green online or stop by your nearest independent retail store to discuss your project.