If erosion during establishment may be an issue, mulch grass seed with weed-free small-grain straw or hay. Here are the methods most useful in lawn areas: Space planting is the planting of separate shoots or sprigs (runners, cuttings, or stolons) at regular spacings. Noted for tolerance to shade, drought, and poor soil conditions compared to other cool-season grasses, fine fescues are sometimes included with tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass when planted in the shade or subject to low maintenance. commitment to diversity. One way to be sure you have seed or planting material that is true to type, free of noxious weed seed, and contains low levels of other crop seed, is to purchase certified seed or sod. These grasses complement each other because perennial ryegrass establishes faster than Kentucky bluegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass has the ability to spread and fill in damaged areas. For seeded lawns: Fertilize the new seedlings approximately six to eight weeks after emergence. Tall fescue is a bunch-type grass, so damaged or bare areas will need to be re-seeded. These range from nematodes that attack caterpillars to traps and repellents. Send approximately 1 cup of the air-dried soil sample to the NCDA&CS Agronomic Division Soil Testing Services, 1040 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1040. But because we can’t be certain, many people choose to avoid pesticides. Do you use pesticides, change cultural practices, or both? Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites: Publication date: May 23, 2016 Warm-season grasses should not be seeded in the fall as there is inadequate time for maturity before the first expected frost. In grass plants, it is usually split with overlapping edges. Tall fescue may turn brown, yet can often survive short periods of drought. A deteriorated lawn is often a symptom of some underlying problem. Plant development at or near the soil surface that results in lateral spreading by rhizomes, stolons, or both. If the weather suddenly gets too hot, it could cause the young seedlings to burn up. Keeping the lawn healthy enables it to tolerate low levels of pests and makes the area a good habitat for beneficial organisms that help control pests. Cool season grasses. The type of grass and the planting method you select will determine the best time of year to plant. Tall fescue is best adapted to the mountains and piedmont but can be successfully maintained on the heavy silt loams in the coastal plain. The darker green color provided by the iron products typically lasts 2 to 4 weeks. Several newer cultivars, however, can also be seeded that have a medium texture. Planting the best-adapted grass and then watering, mowing, and fertilizing it properly form the basis for integrated pest management. Fescue grass (Festuca spp., hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 1 through 11) is a cool-season grass type. of fescue seed for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. When using glyphosate, do not disturb the soil or plants before treatment. Tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) is the most used grass variety in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina University Extension. Carpetgrass requires only 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft annually, and needs to be mowed only infrequently at 1.5 inches. If thatch is excessive, it may be necessary to make another pass with a dethatcher after mowing. Bermudagrass spreads by stolons and rhizomes, and it can invade flowerbeds and other areas because it has runners that spread rapidly both above and below ground. An above-ground creeping stem that can produce roots and shoots at each node. Preparing the site involves removing weeds and debris, planning for drainage, and grading the site. NC State University and NC When not excessive, thatch buildup can be removed from warm-season grasses by cutting as closely as possible at spring green-up and then raking by hand. Use one bale per 1,000 sq ft for warm-season grasses and one to two bales for cool-season grasses. Regardless of the region, a deeper root system is able to extract more moisture and nutrients from the soil, improving drought tolerance and overall health of the plant. Cold tolerance of zoysia is not a problem in North Carolina’s piedmont and coastal plain. After the sod has been placed, roll the lawn to ensure good sod-to-soil contact. A comparative chart of principal lawn grasses used in each region is provided in Table 1. Treat only those areas in need, and regard pesticides as only one of many tools available in lawn care. Fertilizer use can be reduced by 20 to 30 percent. Because yard trash accounts for 20 percent of the waste in our overflowing landfills, legislation has been passed that bans depositing yard trash in most public landfills. It is also sensitive to many commonly used herbicides. Sow 6 to 8 lbs. It will feed your new lawn for up to two months and will help develop a strong root system so your grass will survive the winter or the summer. Large areas planted with bermudagrass or zoysiagrass sprigs require a minimum of 3 to 5 bushels of sprigs per 1,000 square feet and 5 to 10 bushels (yards) for extremely fast cover. It is safe to use on new seeds and is designed to make new seed grow quicker and thicker. A grass plant shoot arising in the axes of leaves in the unelongated portion of the stem. Buying poor-quality seed or plants often results in less-than-satisfactory performance, pest problems, and general disappointment. For this reason, they usually perform better the farther east and south you go in those regions. Some of these are quite effective, whereas the effectiveness of others has not been documented. Use Love Your Soil. Ideally, though, a the right type of conditions would call for between 8 to 15 pounds of seed … Whether you are establishing a new lawn or renovating an existing one, deciding which type of grass to plant will be the first step. The portion of a grass plant that includes the stem apex, unelongated internodes, and lower nodes from which secondary roots begin. Based on frost dates and planting … This broadens the genetic base and gives the turf a better chance of withstanding a variety of challenges. If prolonged periods of rainfall prevent mowing, clippings may be long enough to shade or smother the grass. Professional lawn care companies may use a maintenance schedule that differs from what is described in this publication, and it may be equally effective. Read our Planting during cool weather in fall and spring coincides with the most active growth periods for these grass types. Both cool-season (northern) and warm-season (southern) grasses are grown in North Carolina. Figure 5. Examples include glyphosate (Roundup, Touchdown Pro) and glufosinate (Finale). Actually, thatch is made up of roots, stems, and the lower portions of leaves that are below the mower blade. Thus hot weather … Both mowing and dethatching reduce plant competition and enhance light penetration for good germination and fast establishment. Bermuda is a warm season grass and should generally NOT be planted in late fall. It requires little fertilizer once established (0.5 to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft per year) and infrequent mowing, and it grows well on acidic soils in full sun to partial shade. Warm-season grasses are usually seeded or planted as a single variety (monoculture) rather than in blends and mixtures. Chop up the cores (often accomplished with a mower) and, if possible, distribute them by dragging with a span of chain-link fence or a mat. In spring, mow the grass for best appearance. Seeding rates range from 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 sq ft. Higher rates can result in weak, thin stands that are more susceptible to disease and high temperature stress. Avoid any significant nitrogen fertilization of cool-season grasses, such as tall fescue, after the February application until September for the central piedmont. This publication printed on: Dec. 22, 2020, Carolina Lawns: A Guide to Maintaining Quality Turf in the Landscape, NC State TurfFiles Turf Select Decision Aid, North Carolina Crop Improvement Association, NC Keep the grass … Because annual ryegrass is an annual, it must be re-seeded each fall. Several passes with a dethatcher (power raker or vertical mower) is usually the best choice for large areas. It exhibits good disease resistance, drought tolerance, and cold tolerance; tolerates moderate traffic; and persists with minimum care. If seeding of a cool-season grass is not accomplished in the fall, your best alternative date for the piedmont is mid-February to early March. This is the preferred time to water because it reduces the risk of disease, water loss through evaporation, and improper water distribution. It is sometimes found in inexpensive commercial seed mixtures but should be avoided. Keep renovated areas moist with light sprinklings several times a day. These are some of the major causes of turf deterioration: The problems that caused the lawn to deteriorate must be corrected before the renovation process begins. In space planting, always leave some part of the plant or spring above the ground. Current information on suitable cultivars for North Carolina can be found on the NC State TurfFiles website. Most homeowners bag lawn clippings because they think that the clippings add to the buildup of thatch, which can be harmful to the lawn. A rake or hoe is ideal for small areas. But because the leaves are stiff, mowing can be difficult unless the mower blades are sharp. For vegetatively planted warm-season grasses: Fertilize throughout the first growing season to encourage faster spread. Most selective post- emergence herbicides that control annual grassy weeds, such as crabgrass, should also be applied at least four weeks before seeding. The tall fescues perform best when mowed at a height of 3 to 3.5 inches, and should not be mowed shorter than 2.5 inches. This same technique can be used on slopes and compacted soils. For sandy soils, typical to the coastal plain and sandhills of North Carolina, fertilizer rates should be increased by 20 percent. Sandy soils require more frequent watering. Seeding beyond these dates increases the chance of failure caused by winter injury. Core warm-season grasses in late spring or early summer. Site and soil preparation, including fertilization, are especially important. All except bahiagrass are mostly recommended for lawns in the piedmont and coastal plain of North Carolina. Some weeds growing in small areas may be controlled by hand weeding or removal using a small hoe, rake, or shovel. Apply half the fertilizer in one direction and the other half moving at right angles to the first pass to ensure thorough and uniform coverage (Figure 3). Large areas of 15,000 sq ft or more can be sprigged using this method, which is often reserved for bermudagrass. Water in the early morning if possible. If you have hard compacted soil, put down Love Your Soil when seeding. High temperatures of summer can cause these plants to go dormant and thus planting during summer is asking for problems. With proper maintenance, it will provide a dense, lush lawn. If spring or summer nitrogen applications, or both, are applied to tall fescue, fungicide applications may be necessary to reduce disease symptoms. These products have not been found to have any significant impact on turfgrass health. Annual Ryegrass Care in Spring. Avoid terraces, steep grades, poorly drained areas, and heavily shaded spots. Plan for easy maintenance and a pleasing appearance. A dark bluish-gray color; footprints that remain some time after walking; and wilted, folded, or curled leaves are indications that it is time to water. Annual ryegrass is a problem weed in tall fescue because it cannot be selectively removed from the stand. It is not suitable for use in the coastal plain. Herbicide that injures only those portions of a plant with which it comes into contact. Late summer to early fall is the best time to renovate cool-season lawns. Centipedegrass spreads by stolons. This may not be necessary if a slit seeder is used. Spring or late-winter seedlings are often less than satisfactory because the seedling roots do not have time to become well established before the heat and drought of summer. Keep the mower blades sharp and balanced. Area of adaptation of turfgrasses in North Carolina. It should be mowed at 2.5 to 3.5 inches when mixed with tall fescue. Fine fescues include creeping red, chewings, and hard fescue. It rarely needs irrigation to survive in North Carolina. When seed is put down in early spring (March to mid-June), it won’t germinate until the soil temperature is consistently 55 degrees. Avoid stretching sod. If an additional application of nitrogen is made between these dates to improve the color, the rate should be between 0.2 and 0.5 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. It is never recommended for permanent lawn mixtures because it dies in late spring, when temperatures approach 80ºF or higher. Experts recommend that a blend of two or three cultivars be planted rather than seeding just a single cultivar. They should not be used in the coastal plain. Our goal at Jonathan Green is to help you grow a vibrant healthy lawn, and we provide everything you need to accomplish the task. Grass seed germinates and grows best in dirt that is loose and not compacted. To apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft: Divide 100 by the first number on the fertilizer bag to determine the amount of product to be used per 1,000 sq ft. The plant is unharmed by consistent mowing as long as stubble is left 3 to 4 inches (7.5-10 cm.) A blue certified tag indicates that the seed or plants have met certain standards to assure high quality and low levels of contaminants. Treat only those areas that need it. Ideal seeding times for warm season grasses is April-May in the NC Piedmont. After the third mowing, water to a depth of 6 inches. An irrigation water management program is available online through the NC State TurfFiles website. This information is based on cultivar (variety) trials and observations by turfgrass researchers at North Carolina State University. Therefore, 5 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 sq ft will deliver 0.5 pound of nitrogen. This will reduce the competition for new seedlings. Lay sod as soon as possible after it has been harvested to prevent injury. Bluegrass takes 7 to 14 days longer to germinate than other cool-season grasses. The best grass seed for zone 6 will depend upon your needs. Hand application is fine for small areas, but a rotary or drop-type spreader should be used on large areas to ensure uniform application. If possible, mix 1 to 2 cubic yards of peat moss or compost per 1,000 sq ft into the top 6 to 8 inches of subsoil if planting in heavy clay or very sandy soils. To maintain a green lawn, it is best to irrigate, if possible, during periods of drought. Boxes and forms can be obtained at your county Cooperative Extension center or at the Agronomic Division office in Raleigh. Some lawn care and landscape companies have specialized equipment and offer power raking services. Attempts to upgrade existing lawns when conditions are not conducive to good growth are difficult at best. Plugging can be used for those grasses that spread laterally—not bunch-type grasses such as tall fescue, ryegrass, bahiagrass, and fine fescue. Seeding is usually the most economical method of establishing grasses. The suggested height of cut is given in Table 1. The name is derived from the very finely textured leaves, which are almost as fine as pine needles. Sodding: Warm-season grasses are best established by sodding at the same dates suggested for seeding, about April until July 1. We recommend Green Up Lawn Food for Seeding and Sodding. Applying 0.5 inch of water every third day is usually sufficient. It produces a low maintenance, general purpose turf. Then apply more water until the desired depth or amount is achieved. In most instances, this may amount to biweekly and weekly mowing. Indians. When temperatures warm up, the grass will begin to grow anew. The sprigs are pressed into the top 0.5 to 1 inch of soil by hand or by using an old disk set straight, special planter, cultipacker, or roller. Slowly ease a lush, actively growing lawn into dormancy. 100 divided by 16 equals 6.25. These characteristics become more evident as the turf matures and the maintenance level increases. Roll the area to firm the soil and ensure sprig-to-soil contact. Seeding. You’ll find that you use the spreader over and over again to treat your lawn with fertilizer and other products. Core in several directions, allow plugs to dry, and then pulverize them with a mower, dethatcher, or span of chain link fence. Also consider the characteristics of each site and your goals to determine which types of grass are appropriate. This may reduce the need for fertilizer by 20 to 30 percent. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Start sodding from a straight edge and butt strips together in a bricklike pattern. Annual ryegrass is used only when a temporary turf cover is needed. The tall fescue enhances drought and heat tolerance, whereas the Kentucky bluegrass provides finer texture and greater recuperative potential. It does not tolerate traffic, compaction, high soil pH, high soil phosphorus, excessive thatch, drought, or heavy shade. The National Turf Evaluation Program (NTEP) trial research provides detailed grass types and cultivar data for your region and use. It grows best in full sunlight and does not tolerate cold, drought, salt, or traffic. Keep unnecessary traffic off the renovated lawn until it is well established. If perennial grassy weeds like bermudagrass are scattered throughout, consider killing the entire lawn. A species or cultivar of grass, usually of spreading habit, which is maintained as a mowed turf. Unlike cool-season grasses, some warm-season grasses must be planted either by sod or other vegetative means because seeds either are not available or do not result in uniform stands. The low-maintenance grass covers over 1 million acres in the state, and is the grass … Lightly cover the seed by hand raking or dragging with a mat or span of chain-link fence. The reel mower is preferred if grasses are cut to less than 1 inch. It grows well in full sun to moderate shade and performs well in wet, shaded, acid soils where other lawngrasses may not grow. Your decision should be based on region, climate, intended use or wear at the site, and desired appearance. Hand raking is the best way to level the soil and work out hills and hollows. If the lawn is conditioned for this stress and has a reasonable level of maintenance, it should survive without permanent damage. The application of high rates or repeated low rates of nitrogen to cool-season grasses in the spring or summer may increase the severity of brown patch (Rhizoctonia species), which can kill the grass and should be avoided. Herbicide that needs to be applied after weeds emerge to be effective. Brown, withered leaves are normal signs of dormancy, so do not be alarmed by them. For this reason, it is particularly important that cool-season grasses not be overwatered. Then begin watering. The homeowner should cut often enough that less than one-third of the total leaf surface is removed. Apply fertilizer and lime when the soil is prepared based on these guidelines: If you obtained a soil test: Apply the amount of lime and fertilizer recommended for your soil by the soil testing laboratory. Always consider rainfall events when irrigating turfgrasses. Even though Kentucky bluegrass may turn brown during a two- to four-week summer drought, it is not necessary to irrigate. Bare areas that are seeded should be mulched to enhance germination. long. In the meantime, if chemical control is necessary, select the safest effective pesticide and follow label recommendations. Again, to ensure high quality and better chance for success, it is highly recommended that certified sod be used. Young and actively growing weeds are easiest to control, so make sure that the soil is moist several days before application. Under certain circumstances, some tall fescue may be lost if a drought exceeds three weeks. The flat portion of the grass leaf above the sheath. Vegetative: Warm-season grasses may be planted vegetatively (by sprigs or plugs) from March through July. If clippings are heavy enough to hold the grass down or shade it, catch them or rake and remove them. To reap the rewards of a handsome lawn, take great care in the selection, establishment, maintenance, and renovation of your lawn grass. Bare spots larger than 4 inches in diameter should be replanted. Get the latest recommendations by visiting the NC State TurfFiles website. Study the chart to help select the appropriate grass for the site and the intended use of the lawn. Centipedegrass can become thatchy, especially when mowed high and infrequently or when heavily fertilized. It should never receive more than 4 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq ft annually. Delaying planting until the last possible dates indicated may reduce the chance of a good stand by 30 to 50% ("possible dates"). The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by NC State University or N.C. A&T State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Warm-season grasses are … Lawn Care Maintenance Calendars for specific grass types are available online on the NC State TurfFiles website. Water should be applied only when a reasonable portion of the lawn shows signs of moisture stress. Ideally, this would not be applied in one application. There are some better suited for shady areas, while others need full sun. Herbicide that kills or injures all plants. Though studies have shown that a lawn of 1,000 square feet can produce 500 pounds of clippings in one growing season, these clippings contribute very little to thatch. Cooperative Extension is based at North Carolina's two land-grant institutions, Sodding: You may successfully install a cool-season grass sod anytime in the cooler portions of the growing season when the ground is not frozen and anytime during the warmest times of the year with careful water management. A combination of two or more cultivars of the same species, for example Rebel and Falcon tall fescue. For more tips on when to overseed your lawn in North Carolina, visit us at JonathanGreen.com or visit your nearest independent retail store for valuable lawn and garden advice. When this method is used, the planting material must be kept fresh and moist from removal site to planting area. What Is the Best Grass Seed for a North Carolina Drought? Our free planting guide calculates the best dates for sowing seeds indoors and outdoors, and for transplanting seedlings to the garden—all customized to your location. To reduce the danger of spreading disease and injuring the turf, mow when the soil and plants are dry. Build protective walls to save trees if the final grade is to be appreciably higher than the present level. Early fall (late August to early October) is the best time to overseed your lawn. Kentucky bluegrass prefers fertile, limed, well-drained soils in sun or moderate shade. 1 If … These coarse-textured zoysiagrasses are typically mowed with a rotary mower. Contact your. Also, the demand for water by industry and municipalities is usually low at this time. No one type of grass is best suited to all situations. The cleanest cut and best mowing are obtained when the mower blades are sharp. There is a PDF version of this document for downloading and printing. To help reduce turf loss: Avoid high nitrogen fertilization of cool-season grasses in the late spring or summer and of warm-season grasses in the fall or winter. Also, many companies offer materials for organic lawn care. Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, carpetgrass, and bahiagrass are classified as warm-season perennial grasses. Tearing creates many ragged leaf ends that quickly wither and bleach and are easy ports of entry for disease. Soils that are subject to heavy traffic are prone to compaction. Warm-season grasses are best planted in late spring and early summer. It is best used as a utility turfgrass where appearance is not a concern and low maintenance is the rule. Sod-forming grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, and centipedegrass, tend to build up thatch when they are heavily fertilized and watered. Because St. Augustinegrass is fast growing, it needs to be mowed frequently at 2.5 to 4 inches during the growing season using a rotary mower. A light power raking is better than trying to remove too much debris at one time. Excellent sod results from rhizomes (underground stems) that spread, with most cultivars recuperating from and tolerating pest control measures and moderate levels of traffic. Warm-season grasses can be installed as long as soil temperature exceeds 55°F. Dry, compacted soils, obstructions such as rocks and trees, and excessive slopes may limit the usefulness of a slit seeder. Carefully read and follow directions and precautions on the herbicide labels. Planting dates and rates for cool- and warm-season grasses in North Carolina. This approach will only provide limited turfgrass cover and will not be a permanent solution. Many seed coatings will require a higher seeding rate to account for the added weight. Zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass, and centipedegrass are often planted by plugging. Rainfall or irrigation is often needed to move the chemical into the top few inches of the soil for best activity. Set the rotary or reel mower at the lowest setting, mow, and collect the clippings. Mow the area as you normally would, using a sharp blade. Choose the best grass seed. *Seeding beyond these dates increases the chance of failure. It may contain hard-to-control weeds or weed seeds.). Winter is usually best, however, because there is less traffic. Hard-to-control weeds, such as perennial grasses with underground shoots or weeds in large areas, are best controlled with herbicides. They are best adapted to the mountains but can be grown in the piedmont. 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