A very common question I hear is, “When is the best time to seed your lawn?”. My answer is usually the same due to a few basic factors. Fall wins over spring for a few key reasons. The first being the soil is already nice and warm- ideal for faster seed germination with sufficient moisture. Spring soil is usually cold and even after weeks of warm weather- soil temperatures do not reach into the low 50’s until mid to late May. Any colder and the seed tends to stay dormant and dry out. Therefore, fall is perfect for seeding since the soil temperature is already much higher than this- allowing for faster germination periods which means a better lawn for you.
The second reason is the competition- crabgrass and annual weeds like spurge and oxalis are just germinating in the spring- growing and fighting for space, light, water, and nutrients. Spring seeding and especially summer seeding can often spell disaster because crabgrass will grow so much faster than the seed you planted. This is an unfair competition because soil laden with crabgrass seed will win every time- even more so in hot, dry weather. In the fall, these plants are all dying! Hurray! Yes, the bad guys are dying and cannot harass your new grass. Therefore, you have two very big reasons to seed in the fall over the spring because its your time and money. Why not take advantage of the next 6 to 8 weeks and do a little lawn fixing? It will be an entire year before you see can seize this opportunity again.
If you seed now, you can apply a crabgrass barrier next spring and help suppress all the bad guys I mentioned above. If you wait to seed until spring, you will have to forego crabgrass control- unless you pay for a unique product that is VERY expensive which allows seeding and a crabgrass barrier to be applied at the same time. For most folks, seeding in the fall and applying a solid barrier in the spring makes the most sense- don’t make the fight uphill, go with the flow and take advantage of each season according to the life cycles and maximum benefit you can derive! Get seeding today!