© 2008, 2014 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee
“A good question, when IS the Best Time To Plant Grass seed anyway?
Logically, most seeds are planted in the spring by human beings practicing agriculture, yet in observing the actual production of seeds, one will discover that seeds are produced and distributed in the natural world at highly variable times, even from the same plant. A good question then, when is the best time to plant grass seed?
Modern grass seed is related to common grains used for food. Food-grain seed, including wheat, flax, oats, barley, buckwheat and corn was historically hoarded over the winter as a food supply, for that practice also guaranteed human survival by retaining and guarding enough seed for spring planting.
The immediate derivative conclusion might be that all seeds must be planted in the spring. Not so. Deciding when to plant grass seed might be reasonably considered a decision of logic, available time, economic practicality or the science of Mother Nature herself.
Warm season regions
In warm season regions, one can plant grass seed at any time except the very hottest time of the year. Even then, if watering is carefully supervised, adequate and consistent, grasses will emerge successfully and grow. The question of specific timing for planting of grass seed therefore, is really more applicable to colder areas suffering from extreme seasons.
Cool season regions
Cool season regions are different. Fall planting of other grains is practiced. Winter wheat withstands even the severe cold of the Canadian prairies, planted even very late in the fall, allowing only enough time for the wheat to barely emerge before freeze up.
“Cool season” grass seed is capable of the same amazing performance. If you live in a cool season region, it is a safe practice to plant grass seed in the fall. Bluegrass, fescues and perennial rye may all be planted in the fall and germinate with good success.
In addition, the same grasses may also be planted immediately prior to freeze up, just as Mother Nature herself might do. Grass seed planted at that time will simply remain dormant and germinate in the spring. Grass seed dropped onto frozen ground is more likely to end up as bird food. If it is not eaten, damaged or washed away in spring floods, it will eventually root, even exposed, laying on the surface of the ground..
Logically then, one may plant grass seed early in the spring, too, as soon as the snow is gone, and soil is visible. That process may be logically equated to a very late fall planting on frozen soil with a subsequent winter period of dormancy.
Scientifically, the fact of dormancy becomes involved with all seed. If conditions are too hot, too cold or otherwise, seed will simply not germinate and remain dormant until conditions are suitable for the specific seed.
The only caveats in very early spring planting are the possibility of a cold, wet and extended spring season, which could cause some seeds to rot and reduce germination rates. The arrival of a very early, extremely hot summer could subsequently stress and perhaps damage late emerging young grasses that have not developed powerful root systems.
Nature produces her own seed
Surprisingly, in nature, grass seed is produced by some species, virtually throughout the growing season. Grasses such as Bahia, a warm season grass, demonstrate almost continuous seed production.
That fact suggests that you may plant grass seed virtually any time of the year, and it will grow as conditions become suitable. The germination rate clearly may not be as high with extreme severe summer heat and lack of water may damage newly germinated plants, with immature root systems, but if watered correctly, it will survive handily.
The general conclusion is that fall, rather than spring, is the best time to plant grass seed , so for cool season areas, late August to September may generally be considered to be optimal but in fact, grass seed may theoretically be planted at any time. When the conditions are right, seed will germinate, and if watered correctly, that seeding may well survive and thrive regardless of the planting date.
The specific question of when to plant “modern” grass seed can, therefore, be answered by simply observing how and when Mother Nature herself plants grass seed. Get out there and plant it. Not doing anything else? Good. Now’s the best time to plant grass seed.
Is that Incoming I hear?
tags: #lawn maintenance, #planting grass seed, #when to plant grass seed #lawn #home&garden