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FutureStarrWill Frost Kill Grass Seed
When deciding when you will plant your grass seed, you may wonder “Can new grass seed survive a frost?” The best times of year to plant grass are often early spring and fall. There is still risk of frost during these seasons, especially in northern climates. I’ll share information about how frost impacts grass seed and provide tips for success when spreading grass seed with a risk of frost.With warm-season grass, you need to ensure that your soil temperatures will stay at a minimum of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You should plant warm-season grass seed in the later parts of the spring and in the early summer when daily air temperatures are a minimum of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm-season grasses can then establish their roots prior to any threat of frost. Grass seeds can live through frost, freezes, and even snow. Seeds have the ability to remain dormant in cold weather, especially when you use one of the best dormant grass seed options. They will lie inert in your lawn until temperatures rise again, at which time the seeds will sprout. If you have just seeded your lawn and see an unexpected cold snap in the forecast, don’t worry. Those seeds will simply wait for warmer temperatures.If you’ve recently spread grass seed and it isn’t sprouting due to cold weather, this isn’t a cause for alarm. The seeds aren’t dead. They are simply lying dormant until temperatures rise high enough for growth. Grass seeds can survive an entire winter of freezing temperatures and sprout in the spring. Even if you seeded the day before a frost, your grass seed will survive.If temperatures do not rise in the few days following the frost, grass seed may lie dormant throughout the winter. This may not be ideal, because grass seeds left over the winter until spring are more likely to be eaten by birds and rodents over the winter months, resulting in a thinner spring crop of grass. For this reason, it’s best to seed your lawn in the fall at least 6 weeks before the first frost or wait to seed in spring once soil temperatures are above 60â„‰.Under normal conditions, grass seeds commonly germinate after three weeks of proper contact with the soil -- warmth and consistent watering contribute to seed coat cracking and sprout emergence. Planting seeds before the last frost, however, causes extremely slow germination. Depending on the species, some seeds may sprout while others remain inactive. As a result, you have thin grass coverage across your yard that is prone to wind and water erosion. Waiting until the last frost has occurred allows you to have uniform germination for dense turf come summer.
Weed seeds often have a wider germination temperature range than that of grasses, ensuring rapid growth and species survival. Your grass seeds awaiting warmer temperatures before the last frost are confronted with germinating weeds. As the weeds take over the area, they steal critical nutrients and moisture needed by the struggling grass seeds. When your grass finally germinates and produces seedlings, the turf is uneven and sickly from the weed competition. Waiting to seed until after the last frost allows you to remove any burgeoning weeds before planting for the best grass coverage.Cool-season grass seed germinates best when soil temperatures reach 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. ... An inexpensive soil thermometer, available at garden stores and online retailers, can help eliminate the guesswork. The farther north you live, the earlier cool fall temperatures and ideal planting times come. Grass seed is best planted at a depth of about â…› inch to ¼ inch below the surface. ... Many think that putting topsoil over the seeds would protect it, but in fact, that will actually suffocate the seedlings rather than doing any good. We suggest that straw, hay, or any other type of mulching material be used. Grass seed will not germinate until the soil reaches about 55 degrees, so you don't have to worry about your grass starting to grow and then being frozen -- it won't happen. After you spread the grass seed on the frozen ground, the ground will eventually thaw, and then refreeze.Grass seed often has an expiration date stamped on the bag and can go bad over time, so it's best to throw away any unused grass seed that is past its date. As grass seed ages the percentage of seeds that will be able to germinate decreases, forcing you to use more seed than normal to get adequate coverage.Seed Resilience Grass seed itself is relatively temperature resistant. If grasses go to seed in the fall, the seeds lay dormant in the soil all winter and sprout in the spring. Therefore a single, solid frost all winter will not kill seeds, but an irregular cycle of freezing and thawing can. (Source: findanyanswer.com)