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Extension > Garden > SULIS > Maintenance > Sustainable Lawn care Information Series > Establishing a New Lawn to Achieve Sustainability > Dormant Seeding

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Dormant Seeding

Dormant seeding involves sowing the seed after cold weather has set in, but the ground is not yet frozen solid. Usually this is sometime from late October to mid-November depending on your location within the state.

The principle is that the seed will remain "dormant" due to the cold soil conditions, but begin to germinate as soon as the soils start to warm in the spring. This avoids having to prepare the soil when it is still wet and cold in the spring and can result in several weeks head start in getting the lawn established.

This method generally works best when the newly seeded areas are covered with several inches of snow soon after seeding that remains in place over the entire winter period. "Open" winters with extended warm periods followed by extremely cold periods can be disastrous for dormant seeded lawns. In most situations, success of this process can be seen by the time late April or early May has arrived. Germination should be well under way by that time. An assessment can be made at this time as to whether or not additional overseeding needs to be done.

Should success with dormant seeding not be as good as anticipated, the area can always be overseeded the following spring. The light disturbance of the dormant seeded area during an overseeding process should not be a significant problem for the seedlings that have germinated. However, of the young seedlings that are germinating, it is important to not tear them out or destroy them by excessive traffic on the dormant seeded area.

Proceed to Purchasing Seed.

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