Grass Seed Planting in Ohio

If you have ugly brown spots or bare patches on your lawn, or you’re growing a new lawn from scratch, the best time of year for grass seed planting in Ohio is coming up soon. Five Seasons Landscape Management explains the different types of grass seed, how to plant it for optimum results, and when to get started (hint: before the smell of pumpkin spice fills the air).

What type of grass seed grows best in Ohio?

Cool season grasses are commonly planted in Ohio lawns, and four types are the most popular because they grow the best. Keep in mind, the rate of growth can vary depending on the temperature, and the germination periods outlined below are general time frames to help you plan and plant for optimum results.

  • Kentucky Bluegrass:
    This grass seed will germinate within 10 to 21 days, but can take longer. It is a high-quality turf grass that makes a fine textured lawn. Kentucky Bluegrass grows well in full sun, but you can still use it in shady areas if you mix in some fine fescue. It works well for filling in bare spots and damaged areas, but takes up to 6 months to really thicken up. Winter hardy, this grass seed can stand up to Ohio’s freezing temperatures, and the newer varieties are resistant to disease.
  • Fine Fescue:
    This grass seed is much faster than Kentucky Bluegrass, germinating within 5 to 7 days. It grows well in shaded areas, which is why it’s commonly used in seed blends, but is perfectly fine to plant alone.
  • Perennial Ryegrass:
    This super speedy grass seed will germinate within 3 to 5 days, making it another great option to mix in with the much slower Kentucky Bluegrass. It is both cold and heat resistant, has a fine texture, and is also drought tolerant.
  • Tall Fescue:
    This type of grass seed will germinate in 10 to 14 days. It has a coarser texture and wider grass blade than the others. It is extremely drought and heat tolerant (even more so than Kentucky Bluegrass), so your lawn will remain greener in hot summers. This seed is a great option for lawns in the southern Ohio area.

Hint: Blending different types of grass seeds provides a better chance of a disease and pest-free lawn.

How to plant grass seed

Here are 4 simple steps that will give you better results when planting grass seed in Ohio.

  1. Prep the soil:
    Adding nutrients to the soil helps improve the quality. Apply compost or another organic material and till it into the soil to mix it in.
  2. Sow the seed:
    Use a broadcast spreader to ensure an even application of seed, between 1 and 8 pounds per 1000 square feet.
  3. Cover it up:
    Rake loose soil over the seed and lay a protective layer of straw over top
  4. Keep it moist:
    Water consistently until the seeds germinate (remember, some seeds take longer to germinate than others) and water even more if it’s extremely hot or dry.

Hint: Fertilize with slow release fertilizer about every two months.

When is the best time of year to plant grass seed?

To give your new grass the best chance of growing, grass seed must be planted at a time that encourages germination and allows for the roots to take hold before the first frost.

  • Northern Ohio: If you live in northern Ohio, the best time to seed your lawn is between mid-August and mid-September.
  • Central Ohio: If you live in central Ohio, plant your grass seed between September and mid-October.

Why is it best to plant grass seed in late summer/early fall?

Sowing is best done when the soil temperatures fall somewhere between 50 and 65 degrees. This temperature range is optimum to support strong seed growth and germination. If you plant your seeds too soon, weeds will try to take over. Plus, it’s still too hot and the heat will stress out the delicate seedlings.

Hint: Planting cool season grasses in late summer/early fall creates thicker, denser lawns.

If you need to plant a complete new lawn this fall and you’re trying to decide between seed or sod, here’s a previous blog article that discusses the pros and cons of sod.

Lawn care company in Columbus, Ohio

Five Seasons Landscape Management offers commercial lawn care maintenance in Columbus, Ohio, as well as residential services. Don’t miss the upcoming opportunity to plant grass seed and give your lawn the best chance possible to be thick and green come next spring. Got questions? Contact us or just give us a call at (740) 964-2915.

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