Tips for a Successful Fall Seeding
Fall is a perfect time to thicken up your existing lawn or establish a new lawn. As you prepare for the fall seeding here are a few tips to consider:
Why Is Fall a Good Time to Seed?
Fall is a great time to seed because the cooler fall temperatures and higher moisture levels are conducive to the seed germination process. Seeds germinate when air temperatures are approximately 60°F to 75°F and when soil temperatures are approximately 50°F to 55°F. The higher moisture level in fall also provides additional help for providing water to assist in the process. Seeding in the fall allows the roots to develop and strengthen throughout the winter and spring before the summer drought season begins. Although the fall season is a good time to seed, remember that planting too early (when temperatures are a little warmer) or too late (when temperatures are a little cooler) in the season will lengthen the time it takes for the seeds to germinate or prevent them from germinating at all. The industry rule of thumb is to seed by October 15th.
Tip #1: Preparation of the Area
In order to reduce the interference of weeds to the germination process, it is recommended to apply a weed control application approximately 10 to 14 days before seeding. It is best to check the label of the herbicide to confirm when you can seed after application.
Aeration is a great way to improve the overall success of overseeding an existing lawn as it improves the overall health of the lawn. A healthy, thick lawn will make your seeding more successful as it reduces the area for weeds to grow and compete with the germination process. Another benefit of aeration is that it opens up the soil to allow water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the soil. Aerating also allows oxygen to access the root system to create a deeper and stronger root.
Tip #2: Use of a Soil Aid
It is recommended to add a soil aid like gypsum when seeding particularly in situations where the soil conditions are not ideal. The soil amendment will improve the overall condition of the soil by breaking down the hard clay to allow nutrients and water to access the seed. For those of you that have dogs, the soil aid also helps clean up the dead spots left by the dog’s urine. Additionally, it will also mitigate areas that suffer ice melt damage from last winter by removing the sodium.
Tip #3: Type of Seed
The type of seed will vary based on geography and application. Check out the 2019 Advanced Turf Solutions Seed Guide for a complete listing of the seed types we offer.
Sungold Turf Type Tall Fescue is a great seed choice for cool-season grasses. This seed has excellent wearability, heat and drought stress recovery, and disease resistance.
We now offer Advanced Turf Type Tall Fescue XCD (Advanced TTTF with XCD) that has a proprietary, protective coating to hold moisture and allow the seed to survive in hot and dry conditions. Ask your sales representative for more details on this exciting new product! Blends are also available that mix turf type tall fescue with bluegrass or rye.
Tip #4: Use of a Starter Fertilizer
It is recommended to apply a starter fertilizer like 16-28-12 with ZnB to help promote root growth. Another fertilizer option to consider especially if you’re dealing with a bare area is 21-22-4 Fertilizer with 0.08% Mesotrione Herbicide. Mesotrione applied at planting prevents the emergence of crabgrass seedlings and controls broadleaf weeds without harming desirable turfgrasses.
Make sure to check in with your ATS sales rep to discuss strategies for your fall seeding!