The last thing we want our grass to experience as it grows is to struggle with the extreme heat and have difficulty establishing itself when the temperature drops.
Virginia’s hot summer and frigid winter may force grass seeds to experience these circumstances and bring our sod planting efforts to waste.
Knowing when to plant grass seed in Virginia solves all these risks and helps us establish a lush turf throughout the year.
In general, growing grass in fall, around September to October, with a temperature of 68-75°F, is optimum for proper growth and ideal planting time.
Table of Contents
1. Plant Grass Seeds in Fall
- Fall planting
The ideal planting season in Virginia for grass seeds is in fall. Since most lawns in the state are cool-season turf, growing them in a cold period is perfect for their growth.
The cool air and mild soil temperature, which results from the transition from summer to autumn, help the grass seeds grow well and establish a solid root system.
As a result, they can handle the freezing winter and the intense heat of summer, since they have already reached their full development by spring.
- Spring planting
The spring grass seeding Virginia planting time may not be favorable for your turf because it won’t have enough time to grow a deep root system before summer.
As a result, there is a possibility that the grass will not survive the summer heat because of insufficient growth opportunity.
Aside from that, you may also put your lawn at risk of competing with weeds and crabgrass, which sprout around the same time as your sod.
Applying products that prevent their growth interferes with your turf’s germination because these herbicides destroy good seeds as well. So, that’s another hurdle for spring gardening.
2. Sow Grass Seed in Early September to October or February
- Plant in September or October.
The best time to plant grass seed in Virginia is around the first week of September through October.
The favorable period between these months of autumn is when rainfall starts, and the soil becomes warm. This condition promotes fast growth and proper germination.
- Do dormant seeding in February.
If you missed the opportunity to plant your grass seeds in the fall, you don’t need to worry because you can do dormant seeding instead as an alternative.
It is a planting technique wherein you sow your seeds while the weather doesn’t permit germination. Before your grass start growing in Virginia, the air and soil temperature must become favorable first.
Seeds cannot sprout when the soil is under 40°F and the climate is freezing, which occurs from November through February.
Therefore, this period is the ideal time to do dormant seeding. However, planting grass in February in Virginia is the best option because sprouting will happen the quickest once spring comes.
Using this technique does not only help you start seeds early, but it also prevents weeds from growing.
Along with that, your grass will have lots of time to establish itself before the summer heat comes.
3. Grow Grass Seeds at a Temperature of 68-77°f.
Once the temperature reaches 68-77°F, it is a sign that you can start seeding grass because these are the optimum conditions for their growth.
- Avoid sowing in hot temperatures.
As the temperature rises over 77°F, grass seeds are less able to produce food by turning sunlight into energy, which is necessary for germination.
And the heat of 87°F or higher makes it nearly impossible for them to create energy. As a result, they become weaker and eventually die.
These hot air conditions usually appear during summer. That’s why seeding in fall is ideal because grass grown in this period won’t die over excess heat.
Although fall-planted turf becomes dormant in high temperatures, it can still regrow once the cold period returns.
- Plant in the right soil pH level.
Along with that, grass thrives well in acidic soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7. Sowing in the proper soil type helps the lawn become thick and flourish well.
So, if your soil is not acidic, you can alter it by adding compost, pine needles, or lemon to the ground.
Can you plant grass seeds in the spring in Virginia?
Yes, although the preferred planting time for turf is autumn, you can still plant grass seed in spring Virginia.
However, just like what I mentioned earlier, summer shortens their growth opportunity, and they might have a conflict with the growing weeds.
If you prefer sowing seeds during this time, you can plant Bermuda grass in Virginia and other warm-season turfs.
They thrive best in temperatures between 80-95°F, making springtime suitable for their growth.
What is the best grass to grow in Virginia?
The best grass seed for Virginia is the cool-season turf like bluegrass, ryegrass, fine fescue, and tall fescue, while for the warm type, Bermuda is ideal.
Centipede and St. Augustine grass are specifically best for Tidewater Virginia because they can adjust well to its climate.
For Northern Virginia, tall fescue is ideal because it can withstand both high and low temperatures and is also the most grown variety for Central Virginia.
For Chesterfield Virginia, Zoysia grass is the best.
How late can you plant grass seed in Virginia?
You can plant your warm-season grass as long as the plant has over 60 days to grow before the first frost in milder areas. Meanwhile, 90 days before the first frost are the requirement for colder regions.
Sowing seeds with plenty of time before the first frost date will help them get established well.
For cool-season turfs, you can plant them anytime in fall as long as the temperatures are favorable and have not dropped to 55°F.
It’s clear that warm and cool-season grass seeds have their preferred growing period for them to flourish well.
In Virginia, since the latter type is more often used, it is essential to sow them in favorable temperatures in fall for them to sustain themselves.
However, if you intend to have a head start in planting, you can do dominant seeding in February instead.
Now that you are aware of when to plant grass seed in Virginia, wait until fall before sowing to have a beautiful lush lawn once spring comes!
Before you go, don’t forget to check our other topics that are related to the best time to plant grass seeds in other states like Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina and etc.