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too late to sow grass in zone 6

Posted by west9491 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 13, 10 at 22:11

we've had hard freeze nights, and frosts already i know....

but if I were to sow grass seed would it be a waste? would the seedlings die with each frost as they germinate?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

What kind of grass are you planning to seed?

Where in zone 6 are you? To paraphrase from The Princess Bride, I don't think zone 6 means what you think it means. All it tells us is what are the coldest temperatures you're likely to get. It doesn't tell us how soon (or how late) it gets that cold, it doesn't tell us how often it warms up or how warm it gets when it does or how long it stays warm. All it tells us is hte coldest you're expected to get.

If you're planning to seed perennial rye and it warms up often enough that the soil will get warm enough, you're too late. Rye will germinate in a couple of days, so all it takes is 1 warm snap and it'll germinate and die. It's not so much the cold weather that kills the grass as the fact that the soil heaves when it freezes so seedlings that don't have established roots get uprooted and die.

If you're planning to use KBG, and it doesn't get warm and stay warm for 3 weeks at a time, you can seed now and it will sit there waiting for spring. That's known as dormant seeding.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

I talked to you about dormant seeding this past spring bp green. I decided I was just going to do a regular fall seeding but of course I forgot. My question is should I put my seed down now, TTTF, or should I wait until right before I get a snow?

I'm in Maryland zone 7 btw.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

As has been pointed out already your Plant Hardiness Zone means little other than which plants are most likely to survive in your garden in a "normal" winter. Frosts are not a good indication that grass seed won't germinate because that depends on your soils temperature as well as the soil moisture level. Up here, almost into zone 4, the soil temperature is still in the upper 40's (average temperature here has been 49) and the grass is still growing which means I may need to mow once more before Thanksgiving. So, whether grass seed spread now will still germinate depends on whether your soil temperatures (which do not suddenly drop to below freezing because of a frost or three) and soil moisture levels are going to be where they need to be for about the 6 weeks grass seeds often need to germinate and grow.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

ok, thanks. I had already seeded my front lawn, but my back and side yards need grass! I will wait for next fall because I think I need to apply a preemergent in the spring more than i need new grass.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

Sowing grass seed at this late date....doesn't stand a chance in your know where to come to anything approaching germination. Its too cold. One can throw figures out about what soil temperature they have and therefore, try to suggest it is warm enough for grass to come along.
It cant....it wont....save your labor, your money and your sanity. Save the seed for next spring AFTER the soil has firmly warmed up.

The post was made November 13....in zones 4, and 5, early September, in zone 6, mid September is the logical time to plant grass seed and expect it to germinate.
Remember, its not just the soil temperature WHEN you plant it....it takes time and by the late tiem of germination, the soil has lost temperature and continues to lose its heat. If such grass seed were to germinate in November, it will be a lost cause by December....and not worth the bother of looking for in March and April.

Let's use a little common sense....the purpose of your question suggests you already know the answer.
We all like to look at an early spring.....or delay winter as long as we can.....but grass seed only knows a limited time window to germinate....and November...it is way past.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

Goren--He's asking about dormant seeding. The important thing in dormant seeding is to make sure you wait until the soil is cold enough that the seed WON'T germinate now. That's the whole point. It germinates in the spring when conditions are right.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

um, I think if i already knew the answer I probably wouldn't have wasted my time.

Thing is, I have planted seeds before in winter and had germination....just never grass seed, my question was to whether lawn seed would germinate this late in the year and have enough time to establish itself enough to survive the cold.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

We don't know the answer, either. We don't know where you are and as we've pointed out, zone 6 doesn't tell us enough to be able to answer your question. I'm technically in zone 6 and we've probably got at least 6 inches of snow on the ground, maybe more, and I probably won't see the grass again until sometime in the spring. Other people in zone 6 are still mowing their lawns.

When you first asked your question, I had already dormant seeded. I don't like dormant seeding when there's this much snow on the ground (an inch or so, maybe, especially if I think it's going to melt off).


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

Since West has an interest in Tennessee Gardening (you can find that on his profile) I think a valid assunption would be he is in, or very close to, Tennessee.
Of course I may have made an invalid assumption that West is a he.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

There is a link on the "Lawn" forum where someone has seeded late in Ga. http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lawns/msg111836126494.html?1 He got germination after three weeks instead of 8-10 days. Can that then be translated to root growth? I don’t know. But things slow down a lot with lower soil temps.

I am no expert and know nothing about dormant seeding, but getting "germination" now and then waking up April 1st with a nice grass lawn may be two different things.

Here is a soil temp/turf grass link I got off one of the forums. http://postimage.org/image/1ud6ol938/
It outlines soil temps and foliage/root growth. To me it seems that even if you get germination now that root growth may not be sufficient to make it. But I hope it works out for you. Good luck.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

Tall Fescue can germinate in 14 to 21 days, if the soil is warm and moist enough. The difference in soil temperatures between Tennessee and Georgia can be significant toward the middle of November. Even Texas A & M folks tell people that live in Texas to not seed Fescues later than mid October, not so much becasue the seed won't germinate but that these seedlings will not be able to establish a good root system if seeded later.
Seed germinataion should be only one consideration when seeding, root development should also be a concern.


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RE: too late to sow grass in zone 6

yes, west is a 'he' lol.

the root syst. was my main concern. in hindsight, i probably could have got away with seeding and had a pretty good success rate of plants surviving til spring. the cold gotta late start this year.

and i am located north east tennessee.

i won't kick myself in the arse for not seeding late. i actually did get my front lawn seeded in early fall. it's lookn great. i'll just have to seed the rest in spring and try to get it thick, quick enough to stop the dreaded crabgrass lol.


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