Keeping your lawn lush and green every year requires more than just a bit of work.
Your lawn has plenty of natural enemies. Weather, invasive weeds, and insects make up just a few of the challenges that lawn enthusiasts face when maintaining a perfect lawn. Whether you’re planting seed for the first time or retouching your lawn after a particularly harsh season or severe weather, it’s important to know when it’s the best time to plant your grass seed.
Your grass type
Knowing what type of grass comprises your lawn is a major factor in determining the proper time to seed your lawn. There are generally two types of grasses, cool weather grass and warm weather grass. In respect to their types, as you might expect, these grasses tend to favor their respective climates. Cool weather grasses grow best in areas with cooler summers and winters, warm weather grass prefers the opposite. Surprisingly though, they are not exclusive to any particular region. You can grow cold weather grasses in warm regions and vice versa.
Bluegrass and Fine Fescue are two examples of cool weather grasses, while Zoysia and Bermuda grass are examples of warm weather grasses.
Major Climate zone
In the United States, there are four major climate types and one transitional climate which all affect the planting and growth of turf grasses. These climates are known as Warm/Arid, Warm/Humid, Cool/Arid, Cool/Humid and the Transitional Zone. Every state falls into at least one climate zone, though some may overlap with the transitional zone.
USDA Climate Zones
USDA climate zones are smaller climate zones found within the four major zones. Unlike the major zones, you’ll find that some states have multiple climate zones. There are 12 USDA climate zones, and keeping track of them can be a bit daunting. Most seed packets and some containers will have a simplified map on the back of the packaging that clearly marks the USDA climate zones. This map outlines the specific temperature differences across the USA. You can use this to find which climate zone you live in. If you’re unable to find the map on your package or want the more detailed version, the web is a handy resource to find this information.
When to plant your grass seed
Ideally, you’ll want to seed cool weather grass in the late summer and early fall. Plant your warm weather grass in the spring or summer. When planting grass that doesn’t match your climate zone, you’ll find that getting the timing right can be tricky. You’ll want to plant your grass at the time that best matches a particular grass’ ideal climate. So if you’re planting cool weather grass in a warm region, aim for the time when the temperatures are on the cooler side. Remember, for the best results, it’s always more important to accommodate the seed rather than your region.
For a more on successfully seeding your grass, visit The National Turfgrass Evaluation Program website. This organization has done extensive research on turf grass planting cycles and can provide some detailed information on when best to plant your grasses, including which grasses will grow best in your USDA climate zone.