Ahhh, the million dollar question! You may be surprised that we get this questions from both people new to lawns and people experienced in lawns. It is a question for many: new home owners, landscapers, commercial lawn management teams, and perhaps even a couple horticulture students. It really all comes down to folks wanting to know two important things:
- Can I seed my grass during the winter?
- And will the seed grow?
Before we answer this question, lets consider a few reasons why a lawn would be seeded versus sodded:
- Cost: Depending on the type of seed and grass needed, it is often more cost effective to seed a lawn than to sod it.
- Reseeding only: Perhaps the lawn has some damage but only needs seeding in some areas while the rest is still in good shape, which is more practical than replacing the whole lawn with new sod.
- Lawn matching: It’s possible you’re a new home owner and your new lawn is somewhat intact. It’s run down enough that you want to improve it, but not so badly neglected that you need to re-sod the whole area.
Some Ground Rules
One important thing to remember is that a lawn should be prepared the same way whether you are using sod or seed. Sod rolls are the product of seed, so the natural process will be the same. The nutrients and conditions both sod and seed need to flourish are essentially the same. You want to make sure both sod and seed have fresh soil with plenty of nutrients, moisture while seed germinates and sod roots itself, sunlight, aeration, and plenty of water. While some people think that seeding can be a full shortcut, it should not be. If you take the short cut and skip the essential preparation steps, your seed may not germinate or even survive.
The second ground rule is water and moisture. One of the biggest goals of sodding or seeding is to tend to the lawn especially well during it’s establishment period. It is one of the most critical phases of your new lawn. The purpose during the establishment period is to ensure your lawn stays moist to give the growing roots proper water, not allowing them to dry out. So, if you think about winter conditions…
Sod and Seed, Inc: Grass Seed Tested and Verified Direct from the Farm
Our award-winning grass seed blends are the highest in germination rates, recovery, and drought tolerance. We have farm grade seed blends available matching the type of grass we sell. Direct from our farms, the same "exact" seed we use to farm s the seed we sell to you. There are no fillers or any of the other harmful chemicals so can ensure the best in class for germination.
Now that we have clarified the quality of our farm grade seed, lets revisit the seeding and germination process. The majority of the grass seed will survive the winter and will germinate, but the success of your seed germination and growth is directly correlated with what you do to prepare the area, temperatures, and direct light exposure, along with soil compositions and other environmental factors.
The average germination rate of grass seed is between 2-5 weeks. Again, seed germination is heavily based on geographical location, weather conditions, climate and temperatures, soil type, soil composition, nutrients, and overall environment. Similar to sod, the success of your seeding will essentially depend on how much care you give it. Seeding is recommended in winter due to increased moisture, generally cool temperatures, and natural irrigation through rainfall (hopefully!). Though it is noted that if seeding a lawn can be given the necessary conditions, it may not matter so much the time of year you seed your lawn (considering overall location such as winters in California vs winters in Boston).
We hope you have found our blog helpful. Like most things in life, there’s not always a black and white, yes or no answer. Considering how much of a role temperatures and climate play in seed germination and the fluctuating climate we are experiencing now, there isn’t a hard rule of thumb. The key takeaway is that seeding will require the same preparation and care as sod, and it’s important to take into consideration other key factors like soil, temperatures, nutrients and geographical location. There are benefits to both seeding a lawn and sodding a lawn, with benefits to seeding such as cost, reseeding purposes and lawn matching. Check out our seed collection below!
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