Going in with a Plan: Spring Seeding, Pros & Cons

We are starting to receive quite a few calls requesting quotes for general lawn care and in regards to bare spots in lawns or general thinning of the turf.

A few key points about seeding:
Seed germinates when soil temperatures are roughly 50-55 degrees – sandy soils will warm up faster and clay will take a bit longer to reach that temperature. The seed will not die off due to frost.

Problem # 1: Pre-emergent herbicide
Most customers who have a lawn care program are signed up for the annual dose of pre-emergent crabgrass control. This pesticide is designed to halt the germination process of seedlings; the target is crabgrass, but your turf-type grass seed will be effected as well. There are a few options when faced with the spring bare spot in the lawn; each with it’s own pro & con:

  • Scenario 1: Seed the areas that are thin or bare – IF you do this make sure to inform your lawn care company NOT to apply pre-emergent crabgrass control as that will also target your seed. If you do your own lawn care, ensure that the product you purchase does not contain a pre-emergent herbicide. A seed-starter fertilizer may be applied instead. The CON: your lawn will not be protected from crabgrass.
  • Scenario 2: Have your normal applications done on the scheduled time. AFTER your first application (which typically contain the crabgrass pre-emergent) apply a layer of soil about 1/2″ and the seed over that. The newly added soil will create a barrier between your new seedlings & the herbicide. Once your grass begins it’s root structure, your new turf should be ok. Follow up with a starter fertilizer and a proper watering schedule.
  • Scenario 3: Hold off your seeding until late summer/early fall. We highly recommend seeding in fall as the soil temperatures, natural moisture and fertilizer will work in your favor.

We hope this information was helpful.

Team GSI

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