Fall Seeding in the Mid-Atlantic

Construction site with green grass

Contractors seed construction sites throughout the entire year. Even during the Winter, contractors are required to vegetate recently disturbed ground.

Some seasons, however, are more conducive for seeding than others. For the Mid-Atlantic United States, the ideal seeding season is the Fall.

If you’re fall seeding in the Mid-Atlantic, keep reading to learn why the Fall is more favorable than the Spring and what varieties to plant this season.

Variables in the Mid-Atlantic

Mid-Atlantic states like Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Delaware are located in the Transition Zone. The Transition Zone is a growing region in the United States that sits between the cool North and the warm South.

The Transition Zone is a geographically diverse region that needs a combination of warm-season and cool-season grasses. Soil in Tidewater Virginia and coastal North Carolina, for example, need warm-season varieties like Bermuda. Bermuda would struggle to thrive in central Virginia, however, where Fescue and Rye are the preferred varieties.

In addition to the geographic differences, the Mid-Atlantic has seasonal shifts that greatly impact your seeding success.

Why Fall Seeding Works

The Fall is our most moderate season in the Mid-Atlantic. Although we may experience a handful of 80 degree days to start, the temperatures are generally not as harsh as the Summer.

These mild days and nights create a growing climate for seedlings to thrive and germinate. Couple Fall seeding with proper fertilization to yield the best results on your site.

Although the mild weather creates an ideal growing climate, the season that follows is equally important. The Spring is followed by a hot and humid Summer; as opposed to the Fall which is followed by the cold Winter.

The Winter may not seem like the best climate to follow up Fall seeding, but it is better than the Summer! During the Winter, many grass varieties go dormant. When the warm and wet Spring days roll around, grass will sprout back up and prove that your Fall seeding resulted in year-round success.

That may seem more important to a landscaper who is overseeding a lawn but it’s equally important for construction. Highway projects and large developments need a strong vegetation system to control erosion. If you are seeding this Fall, it’s important to choose a variety that will grow now and later.

The Best Varieties for Fall Seeding

Fescue is the best variety for construction seeding in the Mid-Atlantic Fall.   

This cool-season grass grows best between September-November and March-April. Fescue thrives in the moderate Fall climate but it also has heat tolerance. Fescue grows both inland and near the coast, making it a safe choice for most Mid-Atlantic construction projects.

Homeowners and landscapers will overseed this Fall with a pure seed like our Colonial Heritage; a four-way Fescue blend that is best suited for lawns. Contractors, on the other hand, can safety apply a blend of varieties. Blends are typically more cost-effective than a pure mix but they still yield excellent results.

Our Fall Seed Selection

Fall Contractor’s Blend is a classic 70/30 Blend of Fescue and Annual Rye. Like we mentioned, Fescue thrives in the moderate Fall temperatures. Annual Rye is a cool-season grass that establishes quickly. Annual Rye is ideal for temporary seeding which is why we like to use it in our Contractor’s Blends.   

Roadside Ditch Blend is a quick grow hardy mix for your roadside ditches. This permanent mix blends Perennial Ryegrass and Tall Fescue. This combination results in quick germination and thick turf that will look great along your roads and highways.  

Sun and Shade Blend is a superior cool-season mix of Fine Fescue and Hard Fescue. This blend thrives in areas that receive full sun and also in areas that get as little as four hours of sun per day.

Don’t Forget to Fertilize

The last key to Fall seeding is Fertilizer. Fertilizer gives your grass a healthy dose of much needed nutrients: Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous.

Fertilizer jump starts germination during the Fall. It also enriches the soil with nutrients that will help Spring growth after Winter dormancy. 

The most important thing to remember is fertilize with caution. Only apply at the specified application rate in order to avoid contaminating the soil and stunting grass growth.

Conclusion

You cannot control the time of year you seed construction sites because it is a year-round requirement in the Mid-Atlantic.

However, by learning the strengths and weaknesses of the different growing seasons you will be able to make strategic seeding decisions that will impact the legacy of your construction project.