Starting a lawn from seed is an economical way to get a thick, lush, lawn, but it’s important to time its planting carefully. While some might think that spring is the best time to grow plants such as grass from seed, that’s not the case.
Grass will grow best from seed when planted in the early fall. Cool air, warm soil, and plentiful rain gives the young plants a chance to develop strong root systems to take them through the winter and get off to a strong start the following spring.
Table of Contents
- How Fast Does Grass Grow in the Fall?
- How Tall Does Grass Grow in the Fall?
- How Can You Grow Grass Faster in the Fall?
- Can You Plant Grass Seed in the Fall?
- What Happens if You Plant Grass Seed too Late?
- Can You Lay Sods in the Fall?
- Is there a “Best” Grass Type to Grow in Fall?
- How Does Location Affect Grass in the Fall?
- Final Thoughts
How Fast Does Grass Grow in the Fall?
If you are seeding a new lawn, you can expect cool season grasses to quickly sprout and grow. Kentucky Bluegrass can fill in a bare patch of ground with fresh green blades within a month. On the other hand, warm-season grasses like Bermuda may take up to 2 months before they’re tall enough to mow.
How Tall Does Grass Grow in the Fall?
The height of grass in fall depends on the type of grass being grown, and the specific weather conditions. Cool season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass and fescues can quickly grow to 4 inches with adequate rainfall and fertilizing.
However, warm season grasses like St Augustine and Bermuda slow down in cooler conditions, and will not get that high as quickly.
How Can You Grow Grass Faster in the Fall?
You will get a faster lawn from seed by planting cool season grass seed, but if your climate is too hot, the lawn will go dormant in summer. If you really want a lawn as soon as possible, you can try planting cool season seed in fall, and then overseed it the next year with a warm season variety.
Once you have tilled the soil and removed any stones or twigs, level it, and then spread fertilizer at a rate of 2.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Then sow the seed with the spreader, and proceed to give the surface of the soil a light watering every day, being careful not to flood the ground and wash the seeds away. You can use a thin layer of straw mulch to protect it from heavy rains.
This technique will lead to fast germination and the growth of strong plants as quickly as possible.
Can You Plant Grass Seed in the Fall?
Fall is actually the best time to start a new lawn from seed. The searing heat and frequent droughts of summer are over, but the soil still holds the summer warmth. That, along with the likelihood of abundant autumn rain makes for a perfect combination to get a seeded lawn off to a great start.
Because the soil is warm and the air is cool, the sprouting seeds will quickly grow strong roots, but not put too much effort into growing upward. That means that next spring, the new plants will get off to a fast start as things warm up.
Whether you’re seeding a whole yard of lawn, filling in a bare spot, or overseeding a large expanse where grass grows thinly, fall is the best time for planting grass seed.
What Happens if You Plant Grass Seed too Late?
While grass seed will do well if planted about 6 weeks before a hard frost, if you wait too long, you could end up with plants that are too young to survive the cold winter.
However, you can also do something called dormant seeding. With this method, you spread the seed after it’s become too cold to germinate. Then, it sprouts early the next spring. You should cover the seed with a thin layer of mulch to protect from the worst of winter weather.
Can You Lay Sods in the Fall?
Fall is a great time to lay sods, as they will not rot quickly on the pallet in the cooler temperatures. You also will probably not have to water as much, since more rain usually falls, and they will not lose as much water through transpiration as in the hot summer.
In fact, it is recommended that if you can wait, fall is the best time of the year to lay sods. They will have the long, cool season to develop strong roots to get them through the winter months, and then start the next spring off with vigorous growth.
Is there a “Best” Grass Type to Grow in Fall?
Not surprisingly, cool season grasses like Kentucky Blue Grass are best for seeding in fall. They will germinate quickly in cool conditions, and may be ready to mow within a month from planting.
How Does Location Affect Grass in the Fall?
If you are planning to seed a new lawn, your location will determine the best time of the year to do that. While homeowners in more northerly regions are advised to plant new grass seed in the fall, those living in the south should wait until late spring or early summer to seed the warm weather grasses such as Bermuda which do best in their climate. The only exception is those regions that stay consistently warm year-round, in which case grass seed can be planted from early spring to late fall.
A lush, green lawn is desirable for most homeowners, and planting in fall is the best time to achieve that in most parts of the country. You can always ask your local Facebook groups for lawn care help, or ask a local lawn care shop. There is always someone nearby that can provide the best information for your local area.
Read our related post of 24 Fall Yard Ideas That Are Trending Now!
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.