It’s the question on everyone’s mind; what is the cut-off date for sowing lawn seed?
Well, firstly there is no general cut-off. We have to consider a number of factors, such as the location, weather forecast, and the type of seed mixture to use.
Let’s break down the question into the various different categories.
Weather is most significant variable when it comes to planting seed. Being completely out of our control, weather is a primary influence when it comes to sowing dates. As we discuss in our article here, seed needs two main things to germinate – warmth and moisture. We need the air temperature to be in the region of 10-20 degrees Celsius during the day. This ensures that there is adequate soil temperature. Seed also needs moisture to germinate, but not so much that the seed is damaged or washed away. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan to sow before rain is due. We like to use Norwegian website, yr.no for accurate long term forecasts.
Oddly, where you are in the country has a lot to do with when you can sow lawn seed. Our customers in Scotland have a much shorter time frame in which they can sow seed than customers in Cornwall for example. Generally the further north you are, the earlier you need to sow your grass seed. That’s not always the case, but when the weather is ‘average’ you should try to consider this.
Different grass species germinate with different tolerances. For example, Dwarf Ryegrass will germinate even when the temperature is fairly low. Our Sprogs and Dogs grass seed mixture contains this. Most years, this means you can plant safely well into October. Other species, such as finer fescues take longer to germinate, and don’t germinate so efficiently in the cold. It’s best to plant mixtures like Premium Green and Premium Shade earlier in the Autumn if possible.
As we can see, the ‘cut-off’ has very many varying factors, as such it’s difficult to give a definite time. Finally, it’s worth noting that beyond the end of October, seeding can become unreliable as the weather becomes less predictable.