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Why winter is a brilliant time to sow grass seed

"Over Christmas I was busy sowing grass seed. “She’s lost the plot”, you might be thinking. Thirty years ago I worked with an experienced 70-year-old head gardener, Les Jones, on the gardens at Stapleford Park. This was being converted into a grand hotel and we needed to get the lawns presentable for the opening. Large tracts had to be sown with grass. Les surprised me by saying that he would sow grass seed at pretty much any time of year and it pretty much always germinated and grew.

Since then I have heeded his excellent advice. In a perfect world, I would prefer to sow in September, but this is not always possible. Turfing is an option, but is far more expensive and often doesn’t give you the right seed mix.

Whenever you repair lawns, the unpredictable nature of our weather means you are taking a chance. This year in early December we sowed quite a stretch of parkland for a client. Thankfully, with the mild temperatures, in two weeks it was greening up and now it looks almost lush. We were lucky."

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  • PRO
    I had a job which involved digging a trench through an existing lawn. It was finished in December. As the weather was so mild it took very well and is looking fine. The customer who has very ungreen fingers thinks this is fab!
    A bit of luck, a bit of foresight, and a mild winter. I was taught sow when you like but beware of what's coming weather wise.
  • Not ideal, but we have sown in mid winter when doing site work.  It's a bit slow to germinate, but usually does, then sits there until spring, when a fertilizer boost (something like Growmore 7.7.7) and an overseed of any bare patches would work fine.

  • PRO

    We overseeded a patch yesterday. Not ideal but hopefully it will take.If it does then it will prevent another site visit in Spring so worth the gamble on this occasion.

    If the forecast was for prolonged cold or snow then I wouldn't have taken the chance.

  • PRO

    I suppose that a small area reparation is pretty low risk and worth taking.

    Would anyone seed a larger area, say +100 metres?

    • PRO
      I would reseed trenches or patches as part of remedial landscaping works but never recommend that an entire lawn is rotovated/reseeded at this time of year.
    • We did a couple of years ago in December it took three weeks to come up but was more advanced than had we waited area was over 1000 metres!
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