Grass grows everywhere, right? Surely this means it just seeds itself and keeps on going.
Well, not really. Like any other plant, grass is sensitive to temperature and rainfall, and sun.
It doesn’t just grow, you need to decide when to plant it and then help it to grow.
The Best Time to Plant Grass
Generally, the best time to plant grass is in early spring, although it is also possible to plant in autumn. It depends on the type of grass, the location where it will be planted, and the variety.
The Best Time to Plant Grass
Generally, the best time for planting is in spring. The ground is no longer frozen and dormant and plants can begin to establish themselves.
The temperatures are also not too hot, which can destroy young plants. Spring is the time of overall growth and this means that weeds will also grow.
As these fight for their place in the soil and for water, they can effectively ‘push out’ the grass. This is why planting as early as is practical in spring is what you should aim for.
Of course, this is all affected by where you live. If you live in a warmer climate, then really early spring, or even late winter, may be a better time to plant.
In colder climates, if you are planting warm-season grass, then you must wait until after the last freeze.
If you are planting a cool-season grass variety, then the best time is during fall. Warm-season grass should be planted during spring.
Always pay attention to whether it is a cool or warm season grass you are planting. It may be better to plant the warm season grass in spring, while cool-season grass can be planted at either time.
Grass plugs are already growing and sensitive to cold temperatures, so you must only plant them after the last frost. Grass sods can really be planted at any time, but cooler weather is preferable, especially when there is still some rain.
Reasons to Plan
When you plant grass in a year will affect the germination of the seeds and how well they become established.
If you plant an already established grass plug or sod will affect how well it survives the planting and then its growth. This means you need to plan your planting according to the weather.
At certain times of the year, when the growth of plants is quite prolific, weeds will also grow quickly and may interfere with the growth of your lawn.
This means that you should plan to plant when there is not so much competition from weeds. If you’re going for bermuda grass, then here’s a cool guide on how to keep weeds out of your bermuda grass lawn.
Types of Grass
There are basically two grass types: warm-season and cool-season.
A cool-season grass is one that grows best between 60° and 75° Fahrenheit (15° and 24° Celsius).
This means that they grow best in spring and fall when the temperatures are not very hot — and definitely not terribly cold. Varieties of cool-season grasses include fine fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.
A warm-season grass is one that grows best in temperatures over 75° Fahrenheit (24° Celsius).
This doesn’t mean that these grasses can only grow in tropical areas. It does mean, though, that the summers need to be consistently warm for the grass to thrive.
Factors Affecting the Time of Planting Grass
Type of Grass
Cool-season grasses should be planted during either early spring or late fall when the temperatures are cooler.
Warm-season grass should be planted in spring.
Form of Grass
Grass can be grown from seeds, plugs, or sod.
A plug is a single grass plant that is specifically grown in a seed tray. These are planted out separately, but quite close together.
The plants will grow and spread, eventually to meet and make a lawn. Sods are not necessarily better to use than seeds, but they do have the advantage of being established already.
Grass sod is squares of established grass that can be laid next to each other, as though the lawn is being built up as a checkered floor.
This form of grass is even hardier than plugs and will become established more quickly. As with any grass, though, sod grass is still sensitive to cold, especially if it is warm weather grass.
Variety of Grass
Remember that different grasses are suited to different environments and different climates.
Grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, or perennial ryegrass suit cooler climates. Grasses such as Zoysia grass, Bermuda grass, or Buffalo grass prefer warmer climates.
There are some varieties of grass that can grow equally well in cooler and warmer climates, such as Kikuyu, which is one of the reasons that it is a popular grass.
If your area has cooler temperatures, including a very cold winter, then you will need to grow cool-season grasses.
In warmer climates, particularly where the temperatures climb to the upper 70s (20s), then a warm-season grass should be planted.
Most grasses grow best in full sun, so this will also affect where you plant the lawn. There are specific varieties of grass that can grow in shade.
Among the warm-season grasses, Zoysia grass grows well in the shade. Cool-season grasses generally are more shade-tolerant than warm-season ones.
One variety that grows particularly well in shade is fine fescues.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Time to Plant Grass
Can I buy the grass before I plan when to plant it?
You can purchase grass seeds really any time before planning when to plant them. However, if you are going to plant sods or plugs, make sure that the area is completely ready before you even buy the grass.
Is rain important when I plan to plant grass?
Don’t plant your grass during the height of the rainy season, or the roots may become water-logged even before they have a chance to become established. Similarly, don’t plant new grass when there is no rain at all — unless you can water regularly.
Temperature, type and variety of grass, and location. These are factors to take into account when planning to plant grass.
If you take them all into account and plan your planting accordingly, your lawn should establish itself and then flourish. With a little care.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.