Lawn Care in late fall

Asked October 31, 2018, 9:22 PM EDT

When is a good time to overseed? I have heard Sept, not now, and not till after mid Nov, just before snow falls. Or else birds eat the seed, or they germinate prematurely rather than in Spring, and die in Winter. Others say it can be done now, and there is no need to wait bc those issues are minor. After looking at your videos on kinds of grasses, I got impression that fine fescue, perhaps a mix, is best. What do you suggest, and are there any particular nursery mixes or brands that are drought hardy, require less water and pampering than Kentucky Blue Grass/? I would like to gradually replace Blue Grass with other hardier kinds of grass on my lawn. I may have follow up questions so Would it be possible to talk to someone, please. 612-722-3540- H 719-963-5244 cell Thanks Arun Hejmadi

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thanks for your question. You may want to look at the following calendar developed by the University of Minnesota with respect to when certain things should be done in your yard:

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/lawn-care-calendar

As this calendar points out, there are two different times in the fall to distribute grass seed. The first time is in September to early October. Seeding at this time will cause the grass seed to germinate and develop a root system before freezing weather kicks in. The November seeding time (Now!!) is called dormant seeding. At this time, daily temperatures will be such that the grass seed will not germinate but lay dormant until things warm up in the spring. Success with dormant seeding requires two things: (1). the soil should still be workable so that the grass seed will come into good contact with it; (2). there should be some type of cover over the seed. With respect to this latter point, the ideal cover would be snow. In terms of reality it may be difficult to match your seeding with an impending snow storm. Your point about birds feasting upon the seed is a valid one. When I do dormant seeding and if there is no immediate forecast of snow, I put a thin covering of straw over the sown seed. Then in the following spring, I remove this straw once I see the first indications of seed germination. Read more about dormant seeding here:

https://extension.umn.edu/lawncare/dormant-seeding

With respect to seed selection, this is entirely dependent upon light availability, foot traffic patterns, water conditions, etc. While bluegrass can develop into a beautiful lawn, there are some drawbacks. Fescue is a good choice for many Minnesota yards. In the following two publications, the first deals with grass seeds for Pennsylvania though the information is also applicable to Minnesota. The second considers various types of seed mixtures for Minnesota yards depending upon conditions:

https://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/turf/extension/factsheets/seed

http://turf.umn.edu/news/seeding-your-lawn-fall-here-are-some-considerations-part-2-2

One final point. Often after you have settled upon the type(s) of grass seed you want to use, it may be difficult to find a commercial seed mixture with exactly what you need. Most larger garden centers carry a variety of different grass seeds in bulk and generally will be glad to create whatever type of mixture you want.

Good luck and please get back to us if you have any further questions.