Ah, fall — time for colorful leaves, pumpkins, cider, apples and planting grass. That’s right. While we often think of spring for seeds and new growth, the best time to plant grass seed in New York and New Jersey is fall.

Why? Lots of reasons. Let’s take a look at why fall is the best time to plant grass, and some planting tips to consider.

Why Plant Grass In The Fall?

Early fall is the ideal time to plant grass seed mixtures into an existing lawn in the Northeast. The ground is still warm enough for germination. The days are cool and sometimes rainy, so the seeds are less likely to dry out.

View of New York commercial landscape with fresh grass after the landscapers planted grass seed

In early fall there’s also enough sunlight for new grass to thrive and become established before winter arrives.

What’s The Best Window For Planting Grass Seed?

Cool-season grasses here in the Northeast grow best when temperatures are between 60 and 80 degrees.

Plan to plant cool-season grass seed right around Labor Day. Two weeks on either side gives new grass plants time to build strong roots before the winter.

If the weather is cool, but not too cold, you can push planting into the first week of October. By the cool days of late October, the new grass should be strong enough to survive the winter.

Be aware your new grass will need about a month before the first frost to get established — so keep an eye on the weather forecast.

Why is Fall Better Than Spring For Planting Grass in the Northeast?

Spring is a popular time to plant, but it’s harder to keep grass seeds most in warmer soil and sun.

Spring also offers a great environment for crabgrass to begin germinating. Other weed seeds also germinate more easily in warm spring weather.

Don’t Forget The Fertilizer

Apply a starter fertilizer when you sow the seeds, and then add more fertilizer three to four weeks later. All the watering you do to make the seeds sprout actually leaches the first application of fertilizer out of the top layer of soil, putting the rest beyond the reach of the young roots.

Skip The Straw

You might have seen businesses using the straw to cover their newly seeded lawns. It’s not a good idea. Some straw can contain weeds and unwanted plant seeds that can invade your lawn. Consider putting down a thin layer of soil on top of your seeds instead.

How Much Water Does New Grass Need?

Watering is crucial for seeding success. Make sure the top 1 inch of soil stays moist. You might need to water daily until the grass is established.  But fall’s cooler temperatures and heavier dew will help you out.

No Stomping, Please

During its first season, the grass is tender, so avoid as much foot traffic as possible until the next season, when the grass is well established.

When To Mow?

When you seed in the fall, your first mowing might not be until next spring. Once the grass reaches three inches high, mow off one inch.

Mow on a dry day and make sure the mower blade is sharp to avoid damaging the new grass blades.

Tall fescue and warm season grasses on road side curb for a greener lawn.

Leave Your Lawn To Neave

Our commercial landscaping company combines more than 46 years of experience with the highest level of training in the industry.

Neave experts know the benefits of planting grass in the fall.

Our commercial lawn care specialists will inspect your lawn before we perform any seeding. While other companies might just spray seed all over your lawn hoping for the best results, we thoroughly inspect your lawn and prepare it prior to seeding so you can look forward to even, healthy growth. We’ll carefully examine your lawn, replacing top soil if needed.

Let us do the dirty work!

If you’re in the Hudson Valley, call us at (845) 463-0592. If you’re in Westchester County, call (914) 271-7996; from New Jersey, dial (201) 591-4570;from Connecticut, dial (203) 212-4800. Or, fill out our simple web form, and we’ll contact you about setting up your free consultation.