Your Lawn Questions Answered at Menards®

Your Lawn Questions

1. Do I use fertilizer when I plant grass seed?
Yes, it is a good idea to use starter fertilizer when you plant grass seed. The starter fertilizer will encourage rapid root growth, help stimulate early top growth and thickening of newly seeded lawns.

2. Can I use fertilizer with a pre-emergent herbicide when I plant grass seed?
No. The crabgrass preventer stops crabgrass from germinating and will also not let the new grass seeds germinate. Read the label to determine how long to wait to reseed.

3. When is the best time to plant grass?
Grass seeds will germinate successfully in normal soils when the surface temperature of the soil does not go below 50 degrees, and where the daytime soil temperature exceeds 60 degrees. Grass seeds also need adequate moisture and adequate sunlight. The best time to plant, therefore, is when the daily soil surface temperature exceeds 60 degrees, and when there is adequate soil moisture to keep the soil moist throughout germination.

4. How long do I need to wait for my seeds to germinate?
The germination period varies with the type of seeds being planted. The germination periods for some of the seeds that we sell are as follows:
Annual and Perennial Ryegrass: 7-10 days
Creeping Red Fescue : 7-10 days
Kentucky Bluegrass: 15-22 days

It is essential to keep the soil moist throughout the entire germination period. For Kentucky Bluegrass, this germination period can last up to three weeks.

5. What setting do I use for my seed spreader?
The general guideline for planting is 5-6 pounds per 1,000 square feet for a new lawn and slightly less - say 3-4 pounds per 1,000 square feet - for over-seeding. The spreader directions should give an indication as to what setting will achieve these seed levels. Another method might be to put 5 pounds of grass seed in the spreader and to then walk off a 30' by 30' area, run the spreader over this area and see how much seed is left. Then adjust the spreader such that the 5 pounds will run out when this 30' by 30' section is completed. Another method is to adjust the spreader so there are about 4-5 seeds on an area the size of a quarter.

6. How often should I water my grass seed?
For the grass seeds to germinate properly, the soil should remain moist throughout the germination period. Don't water so heavily that the water will puddle, but keep the soil moist.

7. What soil conditions are required to plant grass seed?
Grass seed will grow in a variety of soil conditions, but the best soil conditions are soils that will offer plants a combination of good drainage/ventilation and good moisture retention. This is often a mixture of sand and loam. Sandy soils offer good ventilation and drainage but poor moisture retention, as the water will drain through the soil quickly. Heavy loam soils, one the other hand, will tend to retain water for too long and will not drain properly. It is detrimental for grass plants to have their roots in water at all times.

8. My grass didn't come up - why did that happen and what can I do?
Generally, there are a number of reasons why grass seeds fail to germinate - lack of moisture, too little heat, too much heat, freezing temperatures, poor soil conditions, inadequate sunlight and defective seeds. Lack of moisture is the most common reason. Poor soil conditions can contribute to poor germination. Seeds are tested prior to shipment and their germination rates will generally be as stated on the label

9. More weeds than grass came up. Why?
The amount of weed seeds in the grass we sell is specifically stated on the package. In most cases the weed percentages is less than 1/4 of 1% or .25%. The weeds that have emerged are therefore not coming from the grass seed package. The weed seeds are probably resident in the soil and the weather conditions have been favorable for their emergence. In particular, hot weather (above 85 degrees) is particularly favorable for weed seeds in lawns planted with cool season grasses.

10. What type of seeds grow best in my area?
Perennial Ryegrasses, Creeping Red Fescues and Kentucky Bluegrasses are all referred to as 'cool season' grasses and will perform very well when planted north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Therefore these seeds can be planted throughout most of the northeast and the upper Midwest.

11. How much sunlight do I need to plant the various grass seed products?
The sunlight required by different grasses varies:
KBG - requires full sun to moderate shade (in full sun at least half the time)
Creeper - very shade tolerant (in full sun about 20% of the time)
Ryegrass - requires full sun to moderate shade (in full sun at least half the time)

12. I have grass seed from prior years in my garage. Will this still work?
Yes, as long as the seeds have been kept in cool and dry locations. The germination rate will usually drop about 6-7% per year, so the performance of the prior year's seed will not be quite as good as this year's product. Use a little more of the seed, and the results should be fine.

13. Can I plant grass seed throughout the summer?
Yes, but it is more difficult to successfully plant grass during the hottest parts of the summer. This is for two reasons. First of all, it is more difficult to keep the seedlings moist during very hot periods. The soil dries out much more quickly. Second, the cool season grasses we sell (Ryegrass, Creeper and KBG) do best when the temperatures are between 70 and 85 degrees. At these temperatures, their metabolism and respiration are most effective. Most weeds, on the other hand, are more effective at higher temperatures. In the heat of the summer, these weeds will out-compete the grass seedlings for resources.


- Performance Seed and EC Grow