The weather here in the Green Care service area since the beginning of 2019 has been keeping us on our toes with wild temperature swings and continuing wet weather. It’s been hard to know what season to dress for! Lately though, we’ve started to see signs of life, and hopefully more spring-like weather is here to stay.
With that, you may have started to gear up for spring lawn care, tuning up your mower for the first mowing of the year and surveying your lawn for areas that didn’t hold up as well through the winter. Those thinner or bare areas or spots covered by weeds may have you ready for a trip to the store for grass seed to repair these spots and finally get your lawn looking the way you want it—lush and green!
But before you rush off to buy that seed, we recommend you consider actually waiting until fall instead. While it may seem that spring is the best time to do this, here are 3 reasons why it’s actually not:
1. Summer Temperatures Will Undo Your Hard Work & Weeds May Take Over
Most lawns in our area are made up of cool season grasses, meaning they grow best in cooler temperatures like the ones we experience during the spring and fall. But when hot summer temperatures arrive, cool season grasses rely on the nutrients reserved in their roots. Growth slows and their crowns often go dormant.
This means that yes, you will probably be able to get some nice looking new grass growing in your lawn in the next few weeks. The problem is that new turf like this will not have the root development needed to survive the high temperatures of summer. Established turf can survive these high temperatures, but new turf usually cannot. So all of your hard work to plant, water, and care for your new grass will probably be undone once the heat of summer arrives.
As if this isn’t discouraging enough, not only is your new grass likely to die, but your hard work to prepare the area and water it has created the perfect spot for crabgrass and other weeds. These will often grow in place of the new grass that has died out in the summer.
All this to say, if you seed in the spring, you may be putting in time, money, and energy to end up with more weeds and less grass than you started with.
2. Fertilizer Needed for New Grass May Harm Your Lawn
New grass seed benefits from fertilization, specifically nitrogen fertilizers. So you while you’re out grabbing that grass seed, you may also buy some of that. What you may not know is that certain fertilizers can do more harm than good to grass when they are applied at the wrong times and in the wrong quantities.
Nitrogen fertilizers, especially in high rates, are not recommended for cool season grasses in the spring. According to VCE, this often leads to serious problems with disease, insects, or drought later in the year. For more information on recommended fertilizers, check out this VCE publication or get in touch with Green Care to discuss your options.
3. You’re Fighting Against Pre-Emergent Treatments
If you’re a Green Care customer, this is the time of year that we apply our first rounds of pre-emergent treatments for weed seeds to your lawn. This service prevents crabgrass and other common weeds from germinating and becoming a problem in your lawn this spring and summer.
Pre-emergent products work by preventing seed germination. So if you are putting grass seed out on your lawn and doing everything you can to get that grass to grow at the same time that we are applying pre-emergents to prevent weed seeds from growing, we are working against each other! Besides leaving everyone frustrated, keep in mind that our pre-emergents are likely to win the battle because most pre-emergents for weeds will also prevent desirable grass seed from germinating.
Wait Until Fall to Seed Your Lawn
Hopefully we’ve convinced you of the benefits to holding off on spring seeding and waiting until fall instead! With anything, there are exceptions. For example, heavily wooded lawns typically need to be seeded in the spring before leaves bud out on trees. But for the most part, we recommend fall seeding.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and do nothing this spring! Get in touch with Green Care today to discuss steps you can take now, as well as how we can work with you to improve your lawn’s health.