Dormant Seeding 101: Prepping Your Lawn for Spring

Feb 20, 2020 | Landscape Supply, Uncategorized

We all want to have a nice, luscious green lawn in the summer, right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen overnight. Lawns need to be properly seeded, fertilized, and cared for throughout the year in order for you to enjoy a plush green lawn come summer.

There are many steps that you can take to keep your lawn in good shape, including clearing the leaves before the snow comes, ensuring that you keep it watered well during the spring and summer, and providing the right nutrients for healthy growth. Another way to give your lawn an extra boost is by dormant seeding.  If you’re not sure what dormant seeding is, keep reading!

What is dormant seeding?

Dormant seeding is the term used to denote overseeding a lawn in the late fall and winter. It is done when the soil temperatures are so cold that the grass seeds cannot actually germinate. Typically, dormant seeding is done when soil temperatures dip below and are expected to remain below 50 degrees.

Why should you dormant seed your lawn?

You now understand what dormant seeding is, but the reasons behind it might be unclear. The reason you should dormant seed your lawn in late fall or winter is that it helps to eliminate bare spots and thickens the turf. This helps fight weed presence during the spring when temperatures warm up.

Is dormant seeding the same thing as frost and snow seeding?

Frost seeding and snow seeding are both types of dormant seeding. Frost seeding refers to overseeding moist soil before the freezing weather hits. Over time, the natural freeze and thaw cycle create small pockets and cracks in the soil, which catch and hold the grass seed. As the soil dries out, the pockets will collapse, and the soil covers the seed. Then, when temperatures warm up, the grass seed can germinate.

Snow seeding, on the other hand, is when you wait until there is a light snowfall to overseed the lawn. After a light snow where there is just under an inch of snow and you can still see the bare spots of your lawn, take a hand spreader and spread grass seed on the bare areas that you would like thickened up come spring. As the snow melts, the seeds will be brought into good contact with the soil, putting them in a position to germinate when the temperatures rise in spring.

When is the best time for dormant seeding a lawn?

Dormant seeding is best done during the late fall and early winter months. You should wait until after the last of the leaves have fallen off the trees. It is important to rake up and remove the leaves so that the grass seed can make good contact with the soil. If there is a layer of leaves, dormant seeding will be pointless and not have the intended effect.

As far as when exactly to dormant seed, there are a few things to take into consideration. You should determine whether you want to frost seed or snow seed. If you want to frost seed, you should wait until the temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t wait for them to drop below freezing. If you are planning to snow seed, you will wait until the first light snowfall. However, keep in mind that you want less than one inch of snow so that you can still see the bare spots that need to be addressed.

No matter what type of dormant seeding you want to partake in, it’s important that it takes place after temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit so that the seeds cannot germinate. In addition, you will also want to do it early enough in the winter months to avoid the muddy season that comes with the spring thaw and rain. Typically, December through early March are the best months for dormant seeding.

What type of grass seed is best for dormant seeding?

If you are planning on utilizing dormant seeding to give your lawn a boost, it is important to use the right grass seed. So, what is the best grass seed to use for dormant seeding? Studies have shown that cool-season grasses are the best for dormant seeding. This includes bluegrass, turf-type tall fescue, and perennial rye grasses. When the cool-season grasses are spread over cold winter soils, they will germinate sooner than if the same exact grass seed was sown in April. That means you’ll see a better-quality lawn when the spring thaw hits, and you won’t see as many weeds sprout up as the dormant seeding helps reduce weed growth.

It is important to note that when spreading the seed, you should use the bare soil seeding rates specified by the manufacturer, instead of the spot repair rates. The extra seed won’t hurt your lawn and if anything allows for some loss to due extreme weather or birds.

Let Kurtz Bros., help with your dormant seeding this winter!

If you are planning to partake in dormant seeding this winter, Kurtz Bros., can help! We sell quality landscaping supplies and tools, and our knowledgeable team can work with you to develop a plan of action for dormant seeding your lawn this winter. From selecting the right grass seed and tools to choosing the optimal time for dormant seeding, trust our experienced staff to help you prep your lawn for its best year yet.  

At Kurtz Bros., not only can we help you with dormant seeding, but when spring hits, we have everything you need to keep it green all summer long. From fertilizer to grub repellent, we have it all. Give us a call or stop into one of our local stores to pick up everything you need to give your lawn a boost!  

You May Also Like

Expertly Reviewed By:
Matt Malone, Vice President Operations
Matt Malone
Matt is an accomplished business professional with over three decades of experience in the green industry. As a graduate of the University of Toledo with a Bachelors of Business Administration, he has put his extensive education and training to work in his nearly 15 years with Kurtz Bros., where he currently serves as Vice President of Operations.

Learn More About Matt

The Benefits of Buying Salt in Bulk

The Benefits of Buying Salt in Bulk

Discover the advantages of purchasing salt in bulk and how it can benefit you in various ways! Understanding Buying Salt in Bulk When it comes to purchasing salt for ice melting, buying in bulk can be a smart choice. Buying salt in bulk means purchasing a large...