Winter Dormant Seeding

Winter dormant seeding is the distribution of grass seed when the weather is persistently too cold for germination of the seeds.  I do not suggest this, for reasons that are stated below, but if you plan on doing any winter seeding then please let us know.  If we put down our first application (premergent plus fertilizer) in any spot you sprinkled seed it has no chance of germinating.

Advantages of Winter Dormant Seeding:

  • Low Maintenance (you can sprinkle some seed in bare/thin areas before a snow and the freezing and thawing of the ground will pull the seed down into the soil)
  • Requires less irrigation than Spring or Summer seedings. (Which we also do not suggest.  Late August-Early October is the ideal seeding time period for the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio lawns).  Without proper winter precipitation the seeds will dry out just like in any other season.

Disadvantages of Winter Dormant Seeding:

  • Your lawn care provider cannot apply the much needed premergent annual grassy weed barrier in the Early Spring like they normally do.  You will deal with much more weed pressure and crabgrass later in the Summer because of the lack of a premergent.
  • If the temperatures bounce back and forth, there is the possibility that the grass seed germinates too early and the following cold weather would kill it off.
  • The germination rate is much lower compared with Fall germination rates.
  • Quick germinating grass species like perennial ryegrass are more prone to germinating too early and dying off.
  • You have to use more grass seed:  The mortality rate for the grass seed is much higher, so you need to increase the amount of grass seed you sprinkled compared with a Fall Seeding.

Conclusion:

Seed in the Fall.  You will see much better results and deal with less problems.  If you decide to perform a winter dormant seeding, then make sure to contact us about which areas you seeded.

Thank you

Matt Maurer