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Should You Plant Grass Seed This Spring?

March 19, 2012

You are looking at a thin, weedy lawn and wondering what to do first.  You know spring and fall are the best times to seed, yet you are unsure whether to concentrate on seeding or weeding your lawn this spring.

So, I start answering the “to seed or not to seed question” with more questions:

Do you have bare spots larger than a few inches in diameter?
Answer:  If lots of larger spots, then seed this spring.  Be sure to use a special Starter Fertilizer plus Crabgrass Preventer that is compatible with grass seed (the regular crabgrass preventers will keep grass seed from growing).  If you do not prevent crabgrass when you seed, you are likely to be very disappointed as crabgrass will germinate and choke out your good grass before it has a chance to take hold.  A machine called a slit-seeder will help make sure the grass seed comes in contact with the soil.  Once your new grass has been mowed 4 times, you can apply a weed control if needed.

So the next question is what kind of grass seed to use.  I have been hearing some great things from radio garden show hosts and lawn owners about Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Blends with Water Smart technology:  (Click here to learn more about Turf Builder Grass Seed Blends with Water Smart technology.)  You just select the Turf Builder Grass Seed blend that is right for your conditions, such as sun, shade, heat-tolerant, etc.  If you only have a few bare spots to take care of, consider Scotts EZ Seed (click here for more info).  I think this is the best bare spot repair product we have ever sold!

Is your lawn just thin and weedy without widespread bare spots?
Answer:  You may be surprised how much good grass you have if you just feed it a few times.  Feed it now with Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer, then in 6 to 8 weeks feed again with Scotts Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control, then in 6 to 8 weeks feed again with Scotts Turf Builder with SummerGuard and then in 6 to 8 weeks (late summer/early fall) you can decide to feed again with Turf Builder OR seed any remaining thin areas.

If you have more seeding questions, contact the Scotts Help Center.

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  1. JERRY KLODOWSKI permalink

    How long after using Halts do I have to wait to plant Blue grass seed?

    • Hi Jerry
      You are supposed to wait until late summer/early fall to seed after putting down Halts in spring. If you have a few bare spots that you really need to seed now, you could mix some Scotts Lawn Soil into the top 4 to 6 inches of existing soil before putting down EZ Seed. This will help break up the preemergent crabgrass barrier to allow the grass seed to germinate. Good Luck.

  2. Kellan permalink

    If I’ve already put down Scotts Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control to get rid of dandelions that are starting to come up and clover… long do I have to wait before I can put down crabgrass preventer?


    • Hi Kellan:
      You can apply Scotts Halts right now. (You do not need to apply Scotts Turf Builder with Halts since you have already fed.)

      • Kellan permalink

        Does the weed preventer help with the crabgrass as well?


  3. Kellan:
    Yes, the Halts application will prevent new crabgrass from germinating. Sometimes folks get clumpy perennial grasses confused with crabgrass. If you can see what you think is crabgrass in your lawn now, it is likely not crabgrass, but is likely clumps of coarse fescue, or orchardgrass, or timothy grass or some other perennial grassy weed. These kinds of grasses can not be killed without harming your good grass. If you are careful, you can spot spray them with Roundup and plant new grass seed once the dead grass has been removed. Good Luck.

  4. William permalink

    Hi Ashton,

    I have put the Scott’s Turf Builder with Halt Crabgrass Preventer earlier this month (March 2012). Since, I have a lot of Crabgrass last year and this would be my first year treating my lawn using Scott’s product, I have been told to skip the Scott’s Turf Builder with Plus 2 Weed Control on April 2012 (6 weeks after first application), and instead to use the Halt Crabgrass Preventer once again to make sure that all crabgrass will not exist in my yard.

    I am starting to see few dandellion in my yard. Would that process (above) be the right process (with skipping the Plus 2 weed control)?

    If not, what would be the right steps? Please let me know and thanks in advance.

    • Hi William
      My preference would be to count on the single Turf Builder with Halts application to do the crabgrass prevention job. If you go with Turf Builder with Plus 2 as your second application you will take care of the dandelions. Then, if you get a few crabgrass plants or other weeds this summer, spot spray them with Ortho Weed-B-Gon MAX plus Crabgrass Killer. This product contains a post-emergent crabgrass control that should do the trick if you need this extras control. Good luck with your lawn.

  5. Jeff Takarsh permalink

    Hi Ashton,

    Four weeks ago I put Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer, about two weeks afterwards, several large bare spots started to appear. Prior to putting the crabgrass preventor down, the grass looked very think and healthy. Then grass simply died and looks like it has burned. These spots are all in one area of the yard and the rest of the yard is doing well, despite the lack of rain.

    I’m not sure if the crabgrass preventor has killed the grass, grubs are killing the grass, or that the cut grass from the second mowing was too thick and I should have raked it rather than leaving it. The grass grew very quickly and high after the first mowing.

    After reading about the Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer, it says I can’t plant new grass until 3-4 months (July/Aug). I was wondering, could I tilled the top 2″-3″ of soil to break up the crabgrass preventor barrier. Then I could seed the area. Really didn’t want to go through the entire season with these large bare spots in the yard.

    What do you recommend.


  6. can you tell me for how long after using Halts do you have to wait to plant Blue grass seed?Also, do you have a facebook page?

    • It is best to wait 4 months after Halts before planting grass seed. This generally means seeding in late summer/early fall after an early spring application of Halts. If there are just several bare patches that need to be seeded now, it is possible to break up the soil surface to disrupt the preemergent barrier and mix in some Scotts Lawn Soil to help dilute, then seed with Scotts EZ Seed. Here is a link to the Scotts Facebook page:!/scottslawn

  7. Derek Miller permalink

    Ashton, it is late March, and I have bare spots, but I would love to overseed my lawn, but I didn’t do it in the Fall. What is the best way to do this? Then when would be the next application, which I think you said would be 6 weeks which would be about mid May

    • Hi Derek
      Scotts EZ Seed works well on bare spots. Break up the top inch of soil a little bit prior to putting down the EZ Seed. You can feed the rest of your lawn with Turf Builder or Turf Builder plus Halts Crabgrass Preventer (do not get the crabgrass preventer in the spots you are seeding). About the time your new grass is getting tall enough to mow, which will be about 4 weeks after seeding, you can feed your lawn again with Turf Builder. The normal time is 6 weeks between feedings, however you can push this to 4 weeks if you need to.

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