Like we mentioned in our previous post on planting grass seed in the late summer / early fall, certain conditions are necessary in order for the seed to GERMINATE at its highest potential rate.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re trying to get your newly planted grass seed to germinate:
- Like we discussed in our previous blog post on the best time all year for planting grass seed in northern Indiana (between August 15 – September 15), you want to plant grass seed during this ideal window of time if possible. In this previous post, we also discuss the importance of fertilizing your newly planted grass.
- Soil temperature and air temperature play a critical roles in this process, and different varieties of grass may germinate best at different temperatures.
- The seed hull, or hard outer casing, may delay this process until conditions are favorable.
- Once the germination process begins, if the environment changes significantly (for example, if it becomes too hot and dry), the seed or young plant (a.k.a. grass seedling) will be vulnerable and may even die. If conditions become unfavorable, the seed or seedling may become unable to begin the growing process, or it may pause and restart the growing process when conditions become better again. On the other hand, if conditions are unfavorable, some or all of the grass seed or seedling may simply die.
- When the grass seedling breaks through the seed, it also needs oxygen for the growth process. If the soil is over-saturated with water or if the soil is too compacted, there won’t be adequate oxygen and the new grass plant will likely die.
- If the grass seed is planted too deep (more than ¼ inch), seedlings won’t be able to break through the surface in order to get the sunlight required for the photosynthesis process to occur and create food for the plant.
- The grass seed should be in direct contact with the soil to absorb moisture. Rake the soil two times to incorporate the seed into the ground. Some seed will be visible on the surface. Again, seed buried deeper than ¼ inch will not likely come up.
- If you’ve used any chemicals like weed killers, weed & feeds, or pre-emergents on the lawn area you’d like to seed, you will need to wait the appropriate length of time before planting seed. The product label should indicate the waiting period.
- Avoid purchasing inexpensive “too good to be true” grass seed varieties when establishing or renovating lawns.
- Be aware that birds love to eat uncovered seeds.
- Kids and pets are known to disrupt the grass seed germination process.
- CONSISTENT, LIGHT, FREQUENT WATERING is essential. Avoid over-watering. Avoid under-watering. When you see new plants emerging, reduce watering to the point where you prevent the soil from drying out but do not keep the soil saturated.
- Mow your new grass when it needs it. CLICK HERE to read more about grass seeding, including Purdue Extension’s recommendations for mowing new grass grown from seed.