It’s spring! The weather is becoming warmer, and you’re ready to get outside and turn your attention to lawn and landscape projects. While spring may seem like a great time to seed some of those thin or brown patches in your lawn, it may be better to wait. Here’s why…
Spring seeding makes it difficult to effectively control annual weeds, such as crabgrass, with pre-emergents. Pre-emergents stop weeds by creating a barrier below the soil surface to keep the weeds from ever sprouting. However, the same pre-emergent that kills crabgrass seedlings will keep your new grass from sprouting, too.
Putting off your early spring application of pre-emergent weed control can give crabgrass, and their weeds, a strong foothold. Once established, crabgrass spreads very quickly and can crowd out your new grass.
Choosing to seed after pre-emergents have been applied also presents problems. Raking, or cultivating, the soil for planting will break the pre-emergent barrier under the soil and decrease its effectiveness.
Conditions are best for planting lawn seed in the fall. Soil temperatures are ideal in late summer and early fall for quick germination of your lawn seed. Seeding in the fall allows your new turf to develop a strong root system before heading into the next season’s hot, dry summer months.
If Spring Seeding Can’t Wait, Consider These 6 Things!
- Wait to sow your seeds until soil temperatures reach 55 degrees (use a meat thermometer to check soil temperatures at a 1” depth).
- If you have bare spots that you must seed in the spring, mark the seeded areas with straw or light mulch so pre-emergents can be avoided in those areas.
- Keep the seeded area well watered, as crabgrass thrives in dry soil.
- Mow the area normally once the new grass is as tall as the rest of the lawn, to avoid the new turf growing too tall and lanky.
- Weed control applications should be avoided on the young grass until it has been mowed 3 to 5 times.
- If you plan a general, or large area seeding, a special program of crabgrass control should be worked out to prevent problems in the summer.