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Is it Too Late to Plant Grass Seed in November?

Seeding Fall
4 min read

The answer to this question is: not necessarily. While planting grass seed in November is too late to make the fall growing season, there is a method called dormant seeding.

Through dormant seeding, grass seed can be planted in November when the weather is cold enough to keep it dormant until the weather warms up in the spring. Once spring arrives, the seeds will sprout and grow normally. Dormant seeding is done to save time in the spring and to save waiting until the ground warms up to prepare the soil.

The Process of Dormant Seeding

Dormant seeding is done exactly the way you would lay down seed in the spring or fall, it is simply done in winter. Ideally you want to lay down seed at a time when it will be quickly covered by a layer of snow. This will not only protect the seeds but ensure that they will stay dormant. There is a risk associated with dormant seeding and that is if the weather unexpectedly warms up through the winter. If the weather warms up to activate the seeds, they might sprout and the seedlings will not survive when the weather turns cold again.

The only difference between dormant seeding and seeding in the fall or early spring is the time.  The soil needs to be prepared to support the new seeds once they come out of dormancy. First, the pH of the soil must be tested. This will let you choose the right brand of Mag-I-Cal® for Lawns in Acidic Soil to use to correct to pH to the right level for seed germination. The ideal range is between 6.2 and 7. For soil that is above this range, use Mag-I-Cal® Plus for Lawns in Alkaline & Hard Soil and for soil that is below, use Mag-I-Cal® for Lawns in Acidic Soil.

After treating the pH level, the soil should be fed with Love Your Soil®. This product makes the soil biologically healthy to support the growing root system. It also loosens the soil to allow the roots to grow deep into the soil.

The seed is put down over the prepared soil using a spreader. If there are bare spots the seed will need to be raked in after being put down.  The seeds must have contact with the soil and be covered by about a quarter inch of soil for proper germination.

What Seed Should You Use?

Just like with preparing the soil you should pick the same seed for dormant planting that you would use for planting at other times during the year. Seed should be high-quality with no fillers. Black Beauty grass seed from Jonathan Green is the result of over 100 years of innovation and research.

Black Beauty® Original Grass Seed is known for its waxy coating which is similar to the coating you would find on a fresh apple. The coating protects the grass from disease and helps seal in moisture to protect against drought. The roots of Black Beauty grass reach up to four feet deep into the soil, far deeper than other grass varietals. It is also entophytic which makes it naturally insect resistant. It is the choice of sod growers around the country.

While November is not too late to plant grass seed, it is not without risks. Those risks can pay off with an easy planting season in the spring or it could mean the loss of your seeds if the weather warms up. We recommend following the planting guidelines on your grass seed for the best results. For more grass seed tips and advice visit Jonathan Green online or your local independent retailer.

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