With the end of summer and fall looming, it’s a critical time for some lawn maintenance. Late September and October are months that you need to get some planting done, and get the right feeding and weed maintenance done to ensure a beautiful bloom in the spring.
There are some questions on planting season. Some people believe that spring is best and some believe fall is best.
Spring or Fall Grass Planting – What’s the Right Answer?
It shouldn’t be too complicated, but there are some important considerations. This information is for anyone who lives in the JK Enterprise service area – pretty much all of northern Virginia and extending west into Warrenton and Culpeper. Here we have very mild fall and spring, with really hot summers. In August and early September, grass can go dormant, as the oppressive heat turns off growing. If you’re not watering regularly during this time, your lawn is probably going brown.
After the heat leaves us, around mid-September, it’s time to start considering your fall planting and feed schedule. After all, weeding your front beds and keeping leaves off the lawn in the fall is not the end of your yard work – the biggest part of your job involves the grass!
Grass grows best in certain conditions, so make sure you take a look at your yard and know the intricacies of how it grows and the conditions…Here are some considerations before your start.
- Pick the right grass seed for the weather and location in northern Virginia.
- How much sun and shade does your yard receive?
- If there is full sun, make note of it.
- Moist soil is needed for the germinating seeds, so get your sprinklers set.
- Weeds and foreign grasses should be removed, so make sure you line up your fertilizing schedule.
- All pest and disease problems should be taken care of. If you think there are some fungus or pest problems, you may need to have a professional inspect.
- Soil should be cultivated and soil additives or amendments applied.
- Limit foot traffic over the reseeded areas for 4-6 weeks after planting.
Overall, fall is a great time to plant. With grass growing in the fall, and then again in the Spring, there is some extra time before the new grass is exposed to the drying heat of summer, and it will be that much stronger the following year. Additionally, spring can often over-saturate the ground, and drown the germinating seeds before they have a chance to take root. Spring temperatures are also often too cool and delay germination.
Topsoil Types and Soil Additives
When considering what type of topsoil and soil amendments to use when planting grass, we offer a wide variety of products. But first, let us tell you how we cultivate our topsoil and soil blends:
The entirety of our topsoil comes from the Washington D.C. area. We obtain our base materials from excavation and land alteration projects and then conduct a thorough screening of all materials. Next, we pile our materials in our outdoor facilities. Because the soil is in piles, it may result in clumping as a result of it being exposed to rain, wind, and sunshine. This will not be a real issue when you get your soil because the soil will smooth out once it is spread.
Our soil is of the highest quality due to our extensive testing and our continued effort to create the most balanced soil blend for your landscape, which we have been perfecting for over twenty years. Customers come back to us time and time again to ensure their landscape and garden is as pristine as possible.
Some of Our Products:
Top Soil/Leaf Compost Blend
- This native Virginia topsoil consists of sand, silt, and clay, and is screened using a 3/8”-1/2” screen. It is a loamy blend that is amended with leaf compost, and it is a great top dressing material. It is a brownish-black color.
- Our leaf compost blend is amongst the richest of materials we offer due to its high proportion of microbes and nutrients. Along with its potency, it retains moisture extremely well.
- Its ability to reduce soil compaction and retain moisture is matched only by its aesthetic appeal.
You can view the rest of our soil types and use our material calculator to determine how much material you need for your projects using this link: soil additives or amendments
Other Reasons to Plant Grass in the Fall
By this time of year, pest and disease problems are at a minimum because of changing weather. Weeds are also less likely to grow like they do in early summer and spring. Since weeds are less of an issue, they don’t pull soil nutrients from your growing grass. Activities that are high stress to your grass, such as mowing, heat, traffic, weed competition, and inadequate watering are all less likely to occur during the fall-to-spring months, allowing a more relaxed and conducive growth environment.
This doesn’t mean you have to wait to regrow your yard. The summer months are particularly taxing, but if you are prepared to carefully monitor your yard, planting grass can occur at any time. Just be sure to keep the conditions optimal for germination, keep foot traffic-free from the area, and water, water, water. The best time to plant is the most prepared time.
How to Plant Grass
Once you have selected your soil, tested it, and made the necessary amendments, cleared any foreign materials and weeds, you are ready to begin seeding your landscape!
Step 1: Prep the area
- Once you’ve picked out your desired area, dig the ground to a 2-3-inch depth. Next, smooth out the surface and remove clumping by raking the area. Lastly, remember that you are working on the finished product, so implement any contours you may need to ensure that you have proper drainage.
Step 2: Mix in Nutrients
- Mix in compost, fertilizer, and topsoil to your initial layer.
Step 3: Lay down your grass seed
- Follow the instructions of your specific grass seed as seen on the seeds’ bag or container, and then spread the seed on top of your nutrient mixture. When spreading, lay half of the seed in one direction, and lay the other half in a different direction. This crisscross pattern will yield even coverage.
Step 4: Lay down a protective layer
- After your crisscross pattern is down, you will want to place an additional layer of soil on top of your seeds to protect the area. After this, you can also add a layer of weed-free mulch that will prevent erosion and the displacement of your seeds.
Step 5: Watering
- Begin watering your seeds to keep them damp, but do not overwater the seeds as standing water will lead to oversaturation. Once your grass is approximately one inch in height, water your seeds just one time per day.
Step 6: Begin Mowing
- When your grass is two to three inches in height, you should begin mowing. After mowing your grass three times, implement a watering schedule to give your grassy area one inch of water per week. Once you have mowed three or four times, you can apply a crabgrass control product to hinder the emergence of crabgrass.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask our team of professionals at JK Enterprise.