Spring grass seeding timing and care #744343 - Ask Extension

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Spring grass seeding timing and care #744343

Asked April 14, 2021, 3:07 PM EDT

Hello! I have a shady front yard with patchy grass. (Photo for reference, when the tree above leafs out, there's very little sun) I've already had the soil tested - it's the variety of grass (bluegrass) that is causing the poor coverage. I got some dense shade seed mix (mostly fescue) from Twin City Seed, and was hoping to get it started this spring. I know fall is better for seeding, but don't want to wait through the summer. Should I wait another week or two to get out of frost danger before seeding, or start now? I'm assuming I would follow the guidance on this site for seed/ground contact and watering. Thanks!

Hennepin County Minnesota

Expert Response

Hello David,

Thank you for contacting University of Minnesota Extension about seeding your lawn. You’re correct, it is better to sow seed in the late summer or fall for a number of reasons. Spring seeding may be successful if the timing is right, however the variables of weather and germination of weeds makes the timing difficult to predict. Due to the warm weather we had earlier we may be seeing early emergence of weeds this season.

Grass seed will germinate when the soil temperatures are consistently at least 50 degrees, so you will want to wait until then to put your seed down. If you go to this National Weather Service Site (https://www.weather.gov/ncrfc/LMI_SoilTemperatureDepthMaps) you can find out what the 2 and 4 inch soil temperatures are in this area.

As of today, April 14, the 2 and 4 inch soil temperatures in Chanhassen are 37 and 39 degrees respectively. So, you have a bit of a wait yet. How competitive weeds will be when you get to the right temperature to seed is hard to say. If you are set on seeding this spring you may want to have enough seed to over-seed again in Mid August to Mid September. Be sure to give your new grass adequate water when the temperatures get hot over the summer.

Here are some U of M pages that may be helpful to you:

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/lawn-care-calendar

https://extension.umn.edu/lawn-care/renovating-lawn-quality-and-sustainability

https://extension.umn.edu/lawn-care/seeding-and-sodding-home-lawns

Good luck! Let us know if you have any other questions.

Ed Colon Replied April 14, 2021, 6:25 PM EDT

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