If you live in Zone 6 or 7, this is what you should be looking to do very soon. September is usually known for being the driest month of the year, but it is also known as the month for planting new grass seed. Here in the Nashville area, September 15th is the textbook day for planting grass seed. Let’s talk for a minute why this is a good time of year to be doing that.
A good fescue grass seed, which is what most people want to have because it stays green year round, takes about two weeks to germinate. Germinate means the seed has cracked open and has a root and a stem. So by putting out the seed the middle of September, by the first of October you will have a whole bunch of baby grasses everywhere ready and established for the usually hard and aggressive October rains. Fescue is also a ‘cool season’ grass. This means it thrives the most in moderate temperatures. So in October, we typically have 70 degree average temperatures with plenty of rain and cool nights. This is the perfect combination for growing Fescue grass.
By the time you start getting some good frost and cold weather, the grass is fully established and usually has been mowed at least once. After the frost begins, the grass will go dormant for the winter. As the rains continue and you have a couple of warm days throughout the winter, you will be strengthening the root system of every little grass plant. By spring and the heat of next summer you will have very well established grass that can withstand drought and heat with less chance of death.
With planting the grass in the fall, it will set your timing up perfectly to start a pre-emergent and weed kill program in the spring. We will discuss this further in depth later on.
If you live very north or south of Nashville, just adjust according to when you get cold to judge your seeding time. Also, you always want to put out a lawn starter fertilizer at the same time as the seed to help with the germination rate of the seed. Aeration in my opinion is based on a case by case basis. Here in Nashville, our ground freezes and thaws many times during the winter, causing natural aeration all winter long.