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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Spring Lawn Tips

Posted by John Fulton -

As expected, things are really bunching up due to the cold weather throughout most of March. Spring seeding should be done between March 15 and April 1 for the best chance of success. The reasons for the early date are the heat and the long germination time for Kentucky bluegrass. It can take up to a month for bluegrass seed to germinate. This means an April 1 seeding might germinate May 1. Then add six to eight weeks for it to become established. This could then be close to July 1. Usually we tend to get hot weather by then. Let’s start with the basics. The normal seedings are a blend of Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue. The fine fescue is much better in shade, and the perennial ryegrass will provide quicker cover. The seeding rate is generally four pounds per 1000 square feet in bare dirt seedings. Use two pounds per 1000 square feet in overseeding thin lawns. Of course this can run into some real money when doing very large areas. Many rural seedings are done more on the basis of a pound per 1000 square feet. There are almost 44,000 square feet in an acre, so you can do the math on this one. If you seed grass seed, you can’t use a crabgrass preventer.

If you do plan to use a crabgrass preventer, time it so it is on about the time the forsythia blooms. This would be the approximate soil and air temperature needed for the crabgrass to germinate. April 1 is a good guess, but this date can vary widely with the weather. Many crabgrass preventers also only last for four to eight weeks, so plan on repeating the application in June anyway.

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