Dormant Seeding is the process of putting down grass seed from February to March in Kansas City when soil temperatures are consistently below 40 d F. This practice applies to bluegrass, fescue or ryegrass blends or mixes such as Soil Service Garden Centers’ KC Marathon or Endurance. Unlike these cool season grasses, zoysia, bermuda and buffalo grass is seeded in late May/early June.
The idea is that seed falls into soil cracks created by normal winter freeze/thaw cycles and is then lightly covered when soil thaws. Since the soil is cold, the seed lies “dormant” until soil temperatures favor early spring germination. Furthermore, temperature fluctuations help crack the hard seed hull which gives grass a head start on germination and root growth- important for grass to survive summer heat stress. Dormant seeding can be successful, but it isn’t without risk. For this reason, this practice is usually limited to smaller areas or when laying sod is impractical.
Fertilizing with Ferti-lome New Lawn Starter can be made at the first sign of germination, and then a follow up fertilization around mid-May should be made with a fertilizer having a high percentage of slow release nitrogen available at Soil Service Garden Center.
Dormant Seeding may conflict with spring weed control and careful attention should be paid to all grassy and broadleaf weed herbicide labels regarding timing restrictions. Soil Service Garden Center can provide you the best weed control products for your situation.