The Q&A Archives: Seeding Lawns

Question: When is the best time to start planting new grass seed?
what is the best kind? How should I prepare my lawn?

Answer: West Virginia is located in what lawn experts term the Eastern Transitional zone, which means you can grow either cool-season grasses, like we do in the north, or warm-season grasses that thrive in the south. It depends greatly on your local climate. If you generally have mild winters, you can grow a warm-season grass during the summer, and overseed the lawn with a cool-season grass to keep the lawn green all winter long. If you are at a high elevation, you'll probably want to stick to hardy cool-season turf.

March - May is the time to seed cool-season grasses, but if you sow warm-season grass, you have a broader window, from April to August. There are lots of turfgrasses to choose from, depending on your needs. Ask your local Master Gardeners (304-367-2772)or nursery professional to reccomend a variety that is known to grow well in your area. In general, fine fescues and improved Kentucky bluegrass varieties should do well there.

Till your lawn to a depth of 4-8", and rake out clumps of sod and weeds, and repeat. Avoid tilling close to trees -- don't get closer to the trunk than the drip line (the reach of the branches). Grade the area so that the lawn slopes away from your house foundation, so water doesn't drain off the lawn and into your basement. Sow the seed at the recommended rate, and cover the area with straw to prevent erosion, and protect seed from birds. Keep the area evenly moist, but not wet, until the grass is growing well.

Have the soil tested, and add fertilizer as recommended by the test (Master Gardeners can help you with testing information). Hope this helps!

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