Want to install a Kentucky bluegrass or tall fescue lawn? Do it in August. Despite the fact that most people seed or sod a lawn in spring, August is a much better time to tackle this type of project.
Why? When you’re seeding or sodding a lawn, there are a couple of things you want to achieve to be successful in the long run. First, you want the new sod or seedlings to grow roots quickly. Second, you don’t want weeds to invade your new project. Third, it would be nice if you could establish the grass without using a ton of water. Let’s take a look at why August can help you achieve all three of these goals.
Warm soil encourages root growth.
As I mentioned, it’s important for the new sod or seedlings to grow new roots quickly. When the roots are tiny, they are very vulnerable to stress and can easily die. Once the grass has grown new roots, it’s much more resilient to weather changes and less frequent watering. Robust roots lead to a beautiful, healthy lawn.
Warm soil is a key factor than helps roots grow quickly. In August, the soil is warm from hot mid-summer temperatures, so the roots can grow rapidly. In April or May, even though the air has warmed up with the return of spring, the soil is still cool. During a spring lawn project, it can take a long time for roots to grow. Furthermore, grass seed will germinate much quicker in warm soil, which minimizes the time that wind, rain or wildlife will displace it.
Fewer weeds germinate in August.
The second consideration is that you don’t want weeds to overgrow your new grass. This really isn’t a problem when installing sod, however, it can make or break a seeding project. In August, many annual weed seeds have already sprouted, so there are fewer seeds that will grow at this time of year compared to spring. It’s more likely you’ll end up with a nice stand of relatively weed-free grass.
Less watering is required.
The third issue is water. Seeding or sodding a lawn requires frequent watering to establish the new grass. Although you only need to water it more often for a 4-8 week period, the extra water can be expensive. Any savings can help make your project be more affordable.
In August, the air temperature has often cooled compared to June or July. The cooler air temperatures can help the soil stay moister, which allows you to potentially water less often.
In addition, August can be a great month for thunderstorms. That extra shot of rain can help replace a watering. Nothing is better than free water from Mother Nature.
Furthermore, if you install grass in August, once it’s growing, it doesn’t have to deal with the hottest months of summer until next year. By then, it will be more mature and resilient. If you install new grass in spring, just when it’s starting to grow it has to withstand 2-3 months of brutally hot temperatures.
Here are a few last words advice. Although August is a wonderful time to seed or sod, don’t wait too long. Once September arrives, seeding and sodding is much more risky because the grass doesn’t have long to grow before winter sets in.
Also, make sure you prepare your soil by tilling in a high quality compost at least 6 inches deep and fixing any sprinkler problems before you plant. These are absolutely critical to the long-term success of a lawn.
So, if you can find time between the last family vacation and getting ready for back to school time, August is an ideal time for seeding or sodding a lawn.