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How Early Can You Plant Grass in Utah?

28-Feb-2019 | by Scott Bennett

Recently, Utah’s Wasatch Front has experienced a warming trend and seemingly overnight, the snow has disappeared. Many of us in the Salt Lake City area feel hopeful that spring is on its way! With the snow gone, the grass is exposed. Do you have troubled spots in your lawn that you know will have to reseeded or resod? Do you have a new home and are planning on putting in your yard? In any case, you may be wondering when it is the right time to start planting grass.

What types of grass are used in Northern Utah?

In Northern Utah, most of us tend to use cold-tolerant varieties of grass:

Kentucky Bluegrass is a popular choice. It is cold tolerant, resistant to disease, and can be mixed with other varieties like Fine Fescue. It has a fine blade and will maintain its healthy green color well into the fall, when temperatures start to drop.

Tall Fescue has a coarser texture than Kentucky Bluegrass but deep roots that make it drought tolerant. Its seeds can die if planted too late in the fall.

Fine Fescue loves well-drained soil and does well in shade. It’s almost never planted alone but as a mixture with Kentucky Bluegrass.

Perennial Rye Grass is actually native to Europe but is used widely through the U.S. It germinates and takes root quickly. It is used as seed mixtures with Kentucky Bluegrass.

Best time to seed

The best time to seed cold tolerant grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass is late summer, but it can also be done in April or May. Planting grass in Salt Lake City doesn't give you much time because the hot summer days come. But in late summer, seeds germinate well in the warm soil and have fall, winter, and spring to get established before the heat and dryness of summer hits. Seeding in April or early May still gives the seeds some time to get established. It’s not recommended to seed in late June or July when the temperatures in northern Utah are so scorching—in the 90s or 100s almost every day.

Best time to sod

Laying sod can be done almost any time of the year as long as the ground is not frozen and you can water the sod. In other words, if your sprinklers are still turned off and your hoses are put away, wait a few months to lay sod.

Best time to reseed patches or small areas (overseeding)

Overseeding bare patches of turf can happen almost any time of the year. You could do it in the fall, late winter, or spring. You could even do it right now.

When you decide to seed, follow this easy 5-step process:

1. Use Round-Up to kill any weeds in the place where you want to plant the grass. After spraying with Round-Up, wait a few days for weeds to start to wilt. Then rake or pull them up by hand.

2. Consider adding nutrients to your soil like manure.

3. On a windless day, use a spreader to evenly spread your seeds.

4. Use a roller to press the seeds into the ground.

5. Lightly water.

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