Why We Don’t Recommend Spring Seeding In Northern Virginia


Just because we do not recommend seeding in the spring does not mean it can’t be done.  There are times when you may have to seed in the spring; however, you must limit your expectations.  Personally, I am only a fan of attempting to seed shady areas in the spring because these areas do not require crabgrass pre-emergent.    There are several problems with seeding in the spring and why we encourage you to seed at the end of summer.  When you seed in the spring the soil temperature is generally very cold and the seeds may require four to five weeks to germinate.  This means your grass seed will be germinating around the same time as crabgrass and many other competing weeds.  If you plan to put down seed in the spring you cannot apply crabgrass pre-emergent, which is more important.   Secondly, seeds that germinate in the spring do not have enough time to develop the required root system to survive the summer’s heat which starts in June.   The benefit of seeding at the end of summer is that the soil temperature is warm and the grass seeds may germinate in as few as five days.  As the seeds germinate and the plant begins to develop, the weather begins to cool allowing for optimum conditions for root development.  These roots are going to develop often into mid- December and continue in March, April and May as the soil temperature’s continue to be favorable.  This process allows for a better survival rate of new seedlings to make it through a hot summer.  Remember tall fescue and bluegrass are cool season grasses meaning that they prefer cool weather not the hot summer temperatures in the Northern Virginia area.