When to plant grass seed

allison_gardenerJuly 15, 2009

I just finished a major house addition in which most of my yard was torn up. I have had several landscapers come out to give quotes on leveling the yard and planting grass seed (it is in a sunny area). I am getting mixed messages from them about they want to reseed the lawn. Some say they can do it now and that it is no problem if I keep it watered. Others say that I need to wait until the fall. I am in no hurry. Does anyone have any experience with this or advice? I live in Waltham.


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sunshineboy(Z5 MA)

Fall is the best time to plant grass. Grass likes mild temperatures with moisture. Summer is generally hot and dry (although so far this year not-so-much). I would wait until early september. This will give the roots ample time to grow deeply before winter.

Ever consider growing edible plants rather than a lawn? Michelle Obama is doing it....g

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 6:49AM
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Sunshineboy is right, but it also depends where you are and how much water you can use. And, of course, it depends on how much the bare earth is bothering you. So, the mixed messages are because there isn't exactly one right answer! Early fall IS best, but here, near the shore, we can start grass pretty much any time, preferably after the heat of mid-July is over.

If you can set up a sprinkler with a timer and just leave it there, you can get decent growth during August. An old friend who used to be in the business started grass around all his paving projects at any time (May to October, at least), using salt hay mulch over the seedbed with excellent results.

If I were shopping for a landscaper, I'd mostly trust the ones who said to wait until after July, because they probably have your best interests at heart.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 8:14AM
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We use Trugreen lawn care service for our grass, and I spoke to them. They seem to know a lot about grass and I have many patches of dirt in our lawn because the house was vacant for years before we bought it.
They told us we should wait until the fall and to use a mix of rye and blue grass. I trust them because they have an interest in us having grass in our lawn.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 9:51AM
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Thank you for your responses. That was very helpful!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 10:31AM
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Have you thought about whether you might reduce the grass "footprint". Sometimes there's nothing like a cool patch of grass, but sometimes less is more. And during the planning stages is a great time to get creative. You might look again at your space and ask "can I reduce the grass by a third or half?" Do you need some color, a graceful curve, height, fragrance anywhere in that spot: then you might put in some ornamental grasses to rustle in the wind, a tree with stunning spring flowers and interesting bark (stewartia, royal heritage birch, amur maple, paperbark maple) shrubs with fragrance and great leaves and/or flowers(daphnes, viburnums, midseason hydrangeas) Whether plants, trees or shrubs anything other than grass will support wildlife because it offers cover/shelter or food.

Lucky gardener, you have space to work with! Enjoy!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 11:08AM
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when I re-read your post, I saw you live in Waltham. I live in Lexington. If you need perennials, I always have things to divide and give away. It may also give you an idea of ultimate height and width of some shrubs for your garden. If you go to my member page my email address is there. please feel free to write to me and I'd be delighted to show you around.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 11:12AM
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I thought we were in zone 6, idabean. I live not far north from you guys. No wonder I only have a few flowers on my hydrageas. I guess I need to winterize my plants this winter.

I hate my lawn and all the work come with it, even it's a very small one. Now it's dying because of the insects, neighbor's dogs, diseases. Except those use commerical services, my neighbors have the same problem. Hubby still insists some lawn, not all garden because we might need to sell the house, just in case.

I wonder who was the person came up with grass lawn?

By the way, don't plant shurbs that fruit berries close to the house because they attrack animals in winter. It's pretty gross when you have animal drops all around your house.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 2:06PM
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generally a garden, even a vest-pocket one increases the value of a house. In town houses or row houses people have shrubs, trees and flowers at the perimeter and old brick patios and seating in the middle. No lawn.

I'd override my spouse and if you sell the house go to Mahoney;s a buy sod: voila an instant lawn!

I also think a ratty lawn would look like "work to be done" where as a small shady patio would say "kick back here, have a beer because you don't have to mow me!"
" As for zones every one will chime in that it can vary. Your hydrangeas might not be getting enough sun. But I garden for zone 5, which has proven very reliable. Almost every winter we have a string of days where the temp gets down to -5 at night.and that is what separates girls and boys from the women and the men

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 3:51PM
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Allison, if you get a chance, let me urge you to take advantage of Marie's offer of a tour-- her garden is lovely. :-)

(Marie, do you still have bees?)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 9:01AM
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Snowling, I have a lot of hydrangeas that don't want to bloom this year; it was a very weird winter. Don't give up on them too soon, see how they do next summer. The old reliables are blooming, as is the finnicky 'ayesha' - go figure! There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason, this year, at least, for why some are not producing flowers. It does seem to be the younger ones, a couple of years in place, that are skipping this season altogether. Others are doing much better than expected. Maybe we need a separate thread for this?

Anyway, I second greening - Marie's garden is WELL worth visiting. She has a good eye for the possibilities of a site. Now if I could only hire her ...

Animal droppings are gross? Hmmm. I guess if you mean a certain class of urban rodents, I'd agree, but otherwise, animals are part of the garden - welcome here if they're not destructive.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 9:30AM
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I still have bees.It has been a terrible season for them with all this rain.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 10:36PM
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Please stop by and see my garden.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 12:16PM
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