When it comes to proper lawn care, growing healthy, lush grass is typically on the top of the list. We know how to plant grass seeds, but that’s only half the battle. Depending on where you live, the climate of the region, and the type of grass that best thrives in your state, will determine the best times to plant your grass.
While sun and water seem like all you need for successful grass seeding, it actually takes a bit more! Fertilizer, thatching, dethatching, aeration, the type of grass and the time in which you plant are all important factors for the success of your lawn.
So, let's look at the most ideal times to germinate grass seeds in Coastal Virginia and how you can give them the proper nutrients without having your lawn suffer in the weather.
Test Your Soil’s pH Level Beforehand
To start, be sure you conduct a soil test to determine the pH levels of your lawn. Proper soil pH is necessary to produce a healthy, high quality, attractive lawn.
Performing one of these pH tests will allow you to make the appropriate amendments. Tall fescue prefers a soil with a pH from 5.8 to 6.5 but will tolerate a range of soil pH.
Additional Soil Preparation
In addition to checking your soil's pH, you'll want to aerate and dethatch your lawn, level out any low spots, and fix any dry spots or weed issues. For cool-season grasses, including turf-type fescues, the best time to aerate is in the fall. For warm season grasses, including Bermuda and St. Augustine, the best time to aerate is in the late spring or early summer after the grass has greened up. For additional tips, check out our previous blog on how to Renovate Your Lawn in 6 Easy Steps.
Best Grass Seed for Coastal Virginia
The Virginia and North Carolina regions are listed as transitional zones for grass. When it comes to grass planting, both warm-season and cool-season can thrive and survive equally as well within their growth periods.
Grass that is classified as warm-seasoned, grows well in temperatures that fall between 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit. These grasses have a dormancy period in the winter. Warm-season grasses such as Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Bermuda are planted in late spring or early summer months and are best installed using grass plugs or sod if preferred. Shipments of these plugs are regularly available at Taylor's Do it Center during the spring planting time. Many residents in coastal areas find success with these warm-season grasses and prefer them as clippings can be left on the lawn with regular mowing and there is less maintenance over the winter dormant season.
Cool-season grasses such as bluegrasses, fescues, and rye grasses are best planted in the fall and thrive under cool, humid conditions with temperatures of 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit and have active growing periods in the late summer to early winter, and early spring to early summer.
In our regions, a strong preference has developed for what's known as turf-type tall fescue grass blends. That is because these grasses are a blend of multiple types of grasses and can stand up to the cool winters and hot summers of Coastal Virginia.
Turf-Type Tall Fescue Grasses
As one of the more common grasses for lawns in Virginia, tall fescues have a deep root system to avoid drought. This grass seed is durable and is best when first planted or over-seeded during early fall. It germinates quickly, typically taking between 10-14 days. Performing best in full sun to moderate shade, tall and turf-type fescues will transform your lawn to a lush carpet of green.
Our favorite tall fescue grass blends for your lawn this fall season are:
- Virginia’s Choice Turf-Type Fescue: an exclusive grass seed blended for our region. These seeds were developed in Oregon and tested in five different state co-ops to find the best fertilizer and technologies to stimulate growth in Virginia soil. Infused with Opti-Root and Aquawise technologies, these seeds make it easier than ever to grow grass for your home.
- Scotts Classic: Grows greener and thicker turf in both sunny and shady areas.
- Jonathan Green Black Beauty Original: Provides a darker green turf naturally, with improved disease-resistance and drought tolerance. Grows well in clay or sandy soils, and in full sun or partial shade.
- Jonathan Green Black Beauty Ultra: Germinates quickly and fills in damaged lawn areas. Possesses species diversity; contains Tall Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Perennial Ryegrass. Produces a dark green and uniform lawn.
Turf-type tall fescue grasses germinate the best in early fall because the soil is still warm but air temperatures are cooling down. In places like Virginia and North Carolina, early fall months give these types of grasses the best chance at survival.
They don’t have to endure the excruciating heat of mid-summer and already-established grass will begin their period of dormancy. This will give the new grass seed an increased chance in absorbing the essential nutrients for successful germination and growth.
It’s important to note that you should plant depending on the type of grass seed you purchase and not entirely on the region you live in.
Visit Taylor’s Today!
A healthy, lush and uniform grass can bring life to any home. And it can do so all year long if cared for properly. That’s why it’s important to plant your grass seed at the right time and give it the best chance to thrive.
Looking for more tips to grow the best grass in the neighborhood? Or looking for a rental aerator to get started on your project? Come down to Taylor’s Do it Center for all your lawn care needs!