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Closeup of the center and partial petals of a deep yellow sunflower.

Spring Seeding

Once spring has arrived, everyone loves to throw down some seed on their lawn.  Who can resist getting outside with warmer temperatures, plump robins bobbing along and cobalt blue skies? Putting seed down in the spring is therapy for the soul while looking ahead to more green on trees, shrubs, and lawns.
Unfortunately, the method of scattering seeds onto bare patches, plow damaged sections or other non-grassy areas may be the wrong move, at the wrong time of year, with the wrong methods employed.  Oh dear.  Seeding in the spring is three parts art, timing and science.  So let’s explore how to be productive, have fun and improve a damaged lawn area with spring seeding.
Casting grass seed onto the surface of your lawn without any preparation will yield very poor results.   Seed must make good soil contact to the point of just barely being covered.  Seed on compacted, hard, unforgiving soil will rarely germinate.  Instead, turn over the existing bare patch and take the opportunity to improve the spot by adding compost or high quality loam.
If crabgrass or any other weed control product has already been applied, any applied seed will most certainly not germinate, so adding soil is your best option. Topdress with ¼- ½” of loam over the area you want to seed.  If your lawn is thin or weak, consider using a crabgrass inhibitor where reducing the crabgrass would be of greater benefit for the season versus spring seeding.
Regarding the seed itself, using the correct type is of paramount importance.  All seed blends are not created equal and the wrong grass in the wrong location will not solve your problem either in the short or long term and will waste money.  Consider asking an expert who can either help you select the right seed blends or do the seeding for you with a guarantee.
While the temptation is great to seed this spring, fall is actually the best time for seeding. The soil temperature is warmer, there is less competition from weeds, particularly crabgrass, and moisture levels are more consistent. But if you must seed this spring, just be sure to consider the preparation of the soil and the seed you select.
See my 2015 post for information on why seeding might be especially important this year.