Should I Plant Grass Seeds in The Winter in New Jersey?

Should I Plant Grass Seeds in The Winter in New Jersey?

The farmer’s almanac has typically called for anyone in zone seven to plant their grass seed in the early fall or spring. If a lawn struggled over the year or died off throughout the summer, it can be a good idea to try dormant seeding. 

The team here at Chris James offers landscaping services to residents in New Jersey. Here are a few things you should know about seeding during the winter.

What is Dormant Seeding?

The practice of dormant seeding is a process to seed a lawn in the winter. For best results, perform dormant seeding between November and February. This process gives the dormant seeds a chance to settle in the soil over winter for optimal spring growth.

Dormant seeding works best on lawns that have bare areas or that are thin. The process of dormant seeding is virtually the same as seeding a garden at any other time. 

How to Dormant Seed 

Seed when the ground is cold enough to prevent the grass from propagating but not frozen. The cold lawn can often be hard and packed, so it is best to aerate the ground. Use a seed spread to deposit the seeds into the yard. After the grass is seeded, rake to get the seeds settled into the ground. To protect seeds from germinating, plant close to snowfall to ensure that they insulated from heat.

The seeds need to come into direct contact with the soil. It is possible to seed sparse areas of the yard, use a less dense spray setting on the spreader. Broadcast The seeds to the manufacturer’s instructions, without overseeding in any one area.

After sowing the seeds, rake them into the ground. Keep off the seeded regions to ensure they have time to take root as the snow melts and the ground shifts. Water the area lightly as the cold weather will keep the ground moist for longer.

What seeds are best for dormant seeding

Virtually any grass seed can work for dormant seeding, but more maintenance may be required. When doing dormant seeding, a seed that is cold weather hardy is best to use. A mix between Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fine fescue is suitable for average lawn conditions. 

What are the risks of dormant seeding

The most significant risk of dormant seeding is the weather. If it gets unexpectedly warm, there is a chance for the seeds to germinate early. If the sprouted seedlings are exposed to cold air too soon, that could result in them dying off. Clear dead seeds away to prevent overcrowding and spread new seeds in the area.

Another risk of dormant seeding is the chance of the seeds moving before they work into the ground. This movement can usually be the result of two different things. The first is is the seeded area is stepped or walked on. Stepping on the field can result in the grass seeds clumping in one area or being moved away to unintended areas.

The second way to interrupt seeding is the seeds washing away. Overwatering or torrential rains and snow melting can cause this premature movement.  

What to Expect

After the last winter frost, when the weather starts to warm, the grass will begin to germinate. The dormant seeding will lead to the grass growing earlier in the season. This can result in a more extended lawn season.

As the spring rains bring in more growth, it is best to use a weed and feed in the early spring to ensure that weeds are choked out before they can take root. It may be necessary to over-seed parts of the lawn to be sure the lawn is as lush as possible. After following these steps, follow up with regular care of your lawn to ensure a beautiful and lush yard all year long.

Contact us today to take care of seeding your lawn. The team at Chris James is ready to help you.