When to Plant Grass

by Dallas Piscopo

Planting a healthy lawn that remains thick, green and eye-pleasing for many years requires good planning, effective use of time and hard work. Preparing the soil, selecting the right grass seed type, and then planting grass all must be executed well at the proper time. Planting the right grass seed at the wrong time of year or planting the wrong grass seed at the right time of year significantly affects the quality of your grass establishment and, ultimately, your lawn’s attractiveness and durability.

Choosing the suitable grass seed for your area is the first and most crucial step when planting grass, but when to plant your grass is another crucial factor to consider.  First, select your grass variety by using our Planting Grass Seed Map. Then, you’re ready to learn when to plant.

Cool-Season Grass Plantings

Kentucky bluegrass, tall and fine fescue, and rye grass are best seeded between the dates of August 25th and October 10th.  Keep in mind: lawns seeded within a week of Labor Day are more likely to fill in completely for winter.  This produces a thicker turf appearance for the following spring when compared to lawns seeded in mid to late October. When planted on the tail-end of summer, cool-season grass seeds germinate and grow rapidly in the warm soil. This gives the grass plenty of time to establish fully before the frigid temperatures of late fall and winter creep in. Warm days and cool nights are ideal for cool-season seedling growth and there’s less competition from weeds, unlike spring planting.

If you live in one of the northern states where temperatures are much cooler, it’s possible to plant cool-season grasses in the spring, but it’s not recommended. If planting in the spring, plant early enough so that seedlings become well established before hot weather and weed competition begins.  The problem with spring planting is that competition from weeds is tougher and the frequent watering required for germination promotes disease development in warmer temperatures.

Warm-Season Grass Plantings

It depends mainly on your home state, but generally May through July is the ideal time for planting warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass, zoysia grass, St. Augustine, Seashore Paspalum, and buffalograss.  If living in a warm climate and using grass sod, plugs, or sprigs, you may be able to plant into August.  Plan your planting well. Planting too late may not give your grass enough time to establish before the season’s end, while planting too early can result in a slow establishment and weed overrun.

With good planning, preparation, and the right timing, you will quickly have a beautiful, green grass lawn. Visit our interactive U.S. map for recommended grass seed types and planting times for your region. 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Garden-Wizard April 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm

It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.


Dallas Piscopo April 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Hey Garden-Wizard,
I’m glad you found the information useful. If there is anything that I could help you out with in regards to planting grass seed and lawn care goes, let me know. I appreciate your post.

Take Care


Karen August 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

Live in Greenwood, SC. Is it too late to plant centipede grass as of August 15th? Need to plant grass and know we need to plant a cool weather grass too but wanted to go ahead and plant the centipede now if it will be ok.


Dallas Piscopo August 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Hey Karen. Would be much better to wait until Spring. I’m not familiar with Greenwood weather but as long as it doesn’t frost over the next 3 months, the grass may have a chance. That being said establishment will be mediocre at best and strongly urge to wait until next Spring. If you decide to continue, let me know how things go.


Dallas Piscopo August 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Another thing…if you decide to plant now, you are better off to plant sod over seed. This way you have a better chance of good establishment.


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