Fall Seeding

Now is the time to seed for cool season turf. New varieties can save you money!


This year many lawns suffered from diseases, weeds and drought stress depending on where you are located. September is the optimum time to improve your clients’ lawns by over seeding with improved varieties of seeds. The soil is still warm and air temps are dropping providing optimum conditions for seed germination. An added bonus is there are fewer weed seeds for new turf to contend with.

Newer varieties of turf seed provide better color, insect resistance, and drought tolerance and require less fertilizer than older varieties. Many years of breeding have gone into developing these newer varieties, especially Tall Turf Type Fescues (TTTF). They are not your father’s fescues! Deeper blue-green color and finer blades make it difficult to tell them apart from Kentucky Blue Grass. TTTF’s are also inoculated with beneficial fungi, which makes them distasteful for surface feeding insects such as chinch bugs and sod webworms. They grow deep roots which help reduce grub pressure and reduce irrigation needs. These new varieties tolerate shade and poorer soils. University studies have shown that TTTF requires less Nitrogen than Kentucky Blue Grass. You save money on fertilizer!

Even with this emphasis on TTTF it is still good practice to use a seed mix with some Perennial Rye for quick germination and Kentucky Blue Grass for its knitting effect. And be sure to purchase seed that is less than one year old. Read the label for the percentage of seed type, weed seed and packaging date.

Choosing the best seed types will save you time and money for many years by reducing call backs and unbillable visits. So don’t buy bargain basement seeds, you will pay the consequences year after year. Remember that old TV ad for motor oil?  “You can pay me know, or you can pay me later.”

To achieve the best results when over-seeding,

  • Soil test for pH & nutrient recommendations
  • Mow lawns to 1 ½ to 2 inches which allows seeds to make soil contact
  • Remove clippings and thatch
  • Aerate to reduce compaction
  • Use a slit seeder to apply seed
  • Top dress lightly with compost
  • Apply fertilizer according to soil test results

Proper irrigation is critical for seed to germinate. Irrigate enough to keep seeds constantly moist without saturating the soil. This may mean watering lightly several times daily until seeds germinate. Once they do, it’s best to water deeply and infrequently, letting the soil dry out before watering again. If you do not have control of irrigation, it is recommended not to guarantee any seeding jobs.

Your clients will love you for doing the best job possible and they will become your best salesmen!