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When to Plant Grass Seed in Pennsylvania? (Best Time)

Written by William Golder

Fact checked by Dorian Goodwin

when to plant grass seed in pennsylvania

Although Pennsylvania is one of the coldest places in the United States, it might be hard to believe, but lawn grass can thrive in its usual cold climate.

Good thing there are cool-season grasses you can grow in the state that can adapt to its low temperature.

However, their seeds grow best when planted in warm temperatures, but warm days rarely occur in the state. So, when to plant grass seed in Pennsylvania?

For healthy germination and lush lawn, planting them in fall, before the first frost date in your region, and at a soil temperature of 50-65°F is ideal.

The Best Time to Plant Grass Seed in Pennsylvania

1. Plant in the Fall

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The cool-season turf is the best grass to grow in Pennsylvania because of its often frigid temperature.

These plants thrive the best when you plant them in the fall because autumn has warm soil and breezing weather, which is ideal for sowing the grass seeds.

Once fall comes, the soil’s warmth from the summer heat will remain, and the air temperature will most likely decline and range between 60 and 75°F.

These temperature conditions help the grass seeds to germinate fast and well.

Furthermore, the frequent rains that begin in autumn will keep them moisturized, which adds more activity to their growth.

  • Consider planting in the spring as an alternative.

If you cannot plant them in the fall, it is not too late, as you can still start your seeds in spring instead.

Spring is also the ideal time to cultivate them because of its warm soil and cool air temperature suitable for growing the cool-season grasses.

However, the downside to growing them in the spring is that weeds are actively growing in this season and might affect the distribution of nutrients to grass seeds.

Aside from that, grass seeds growing in spring only have a small amount of time to establish themselves before summer arrives.

As a result, they might find it hard to endure the summer heat because of their short growing season.

  • Advantage of planting in fall.

As opposed to when you plant them in the fall, you have two growing opportunities for your cool-season grasses before the start of the new summer, one in fall and one in spring in PA.

By growing in these two seasons, your seeds will establish themselves well, which will help them withstand the summer heat.

However, when planting in autumn, it applies to know that starting seeds after October is risky because you only have short days for germination before winter begins in December.

As a result, fragile seedlings might not survive the cold temperature and die.

Therefore, starting your grass seeds in the early fall, before October, is a more favorable time to start grass seeds instead of spring.

2. Plant Grass Seeds Before the First Frost Date Occur

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Planting them at least 45 days before the first frost arrives is the best time to start your seeds.

For example, if you plant grass in Pittsburgh, PA, start your seeds at least 45 days around late August to early September following the city’s first frost date on October 15.

By doing this, your seeds will get established well without suffering from the freezing days of late fall and winter.

When you plant grass seed in PA, you must know your city’s first frost date to prevent your grass seed from being exposed to the frigid cold temperatures of late fall and winter.

The first frost date is the first day of frost when the cold season begins. Most seeds, including grass seeds, cannot thrive when planted in too cold temperatures.

When you plant them at the same time as the first frost, the seeds will have a hard time growing and getting established.

Also, when you plant them too late, especially in winter, they may suffer from rotting, diseases, and struggling to grow well.

3. Plant in a Soil Temperature of 50-60°f

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  • Plant in a proper soil temperature.

The cool-season types of grass start growing in PA at a soil temperature of 50-65°F. These warm soil temperatures help stimulate proper root growth for the seeds.

After the winter, the soil warms up as fall approaches. After the summer, the previous summer heat retains the warm soil in spring Pennsylvania.

So, the warm soil temperature often occurs in fall and spring. These two growth seasons make the ideal time to plant them since they have warm soil.

  • Plant in a proper soil pH.

Kentucky Bluegrass and Tall Fescue are one of the most popular and best types of grass in Pennsylvania to grow because Kentucky is cold tolerant and Tall Fescue is disease resistant.

These cool-season grasses grow best in soil with a pH of 6.2-7.0. By planting in the proper soil pH, grass will get the sufficient nutrients it needs, which is beneficial for its growth.

So, if you want to cultivate these kinds, plant them at the proper soil temperature and pH level for the healthiest growth.

Conclusion

Now that you know when to plant grass seed in Pennsylvania, all you have to do is wait for early fall to come and for the soil temperature to warm. But each state has different weather conditions, so the time to plant grass seed is also different. There are articles for each state if you need:

As shown in the article, warm soil and chilly air help your grass seeds germinate well, and planting them before the first frost falls them thrive on cool days.

Hopefully, you learned a lot from this post, and you’ll be able to establish a lush, beautiful lawn for your yard! Thank you!

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A Few Words From the Author

William-Golder

William Golder