Types of Grass That Can Be Planted in Fall and Winter

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023

Know these types of grasses before planting or laying down sod this fall or winter.

Just because the calendar says that summer’s over, it doesn’t mean you can’t work on your lawn. In fact, you can even plant certain kinds of grasses in the fall and winter, depending on where you live.

Different grasses grow better at different times of year. If you live in a cooler part of the country, like North, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and other places, cool-season grasses can be the key to a lush green lawn.

Tips for Planting Grass in the Fall and Winter

Test the Soil

The proper soil acidity is key to successful grass. A Ph between six and seven works best, so you should test your soil before planting new grass.

Prep the Ground

Rake out the surface, after removing rocks and large debris from the area. Mixing in fresh soil can help too, especially if you’re concerned about the soil quality.

Fertilizer

Applying the right fertilizer can help give your new grass a great head start. You can do it before or after planting the seed.

Use the Right Amount of Seed

Too much seed can cause your new grass to choke itself out in competition for resources. Too little seed will leave you with bare areas you’ll have to fix. Follow the recommended amounts for the seed you’re using.

Cover the Seeds with Top Soil

Covering the seeds with just a 1/4 inch of top soil will help prevent them from drying up or blowing away, but you don’t need more than that.

Water

Grass needs water to grow, obviously, so just because it’s fall or winter, doesn’t mean you can stop watering the lawn. For new seed, keeping the area moist works best; there’s no need to flood it and wash away the top soil and seed.

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close up of tall fescue grass
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Tall Fescue

Tall fescue is a great place to start when considering which sod types to lay down this fall and winter. And it’s easy to see why. It’s drought tolerant, grows in lots of regions, looks fantastic in most landscapes and resists disease. Those aren’t the only benefits, though.

“This type of autumn and winter grass is very low maintenance,” according to Pat Buckley, owner of Buckley Turf. “It likes full sun, but can also survive in shaded spots where other autumn types may not.”

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Kentucky Bluegrass Sod
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Kentucky Bluegrass

Contrary to its name, Kentucky bluegrass doesn’t grow in the Bluegrass State. Kentucky bluegrass stands up to frigid conditions so it’s suitable for most northern climates in the U.S.

“Kentucky bluegrass is best planted in fall, between September and November, but can also be planted in winter and spring, between February and May,” says Gian Moore, a partner at MellowPine.

“It thrives in moist, shady locations. This medium-textured, light- to medium-green bluegrass tolerates poorly drained locations and acidic soils. It is best planted in low-traffic areas and cannot tolerate hot, dry weather.”

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close up of bermuda grass texture
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Bermuda

While it is best to lay down Bermuda in the late spring, this warm-season grass can also be planted in the colder months. It’s a perfect lawn choice for warmer, southern climates in the U.S. and should be planted in an area that allows full sun and good drainage.

“This type of grass withstands high temperatures while requiring minimal amounts of water during the hot summer months, making it a good choice for planting in the fall or winter,” says Kate Diaz, a home improvement expert and co-founder of SwankyDen. “It is also known as lawns without worries because of its strong tolerance to drought and traffic.”

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close up of ryegrass
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Ryegrass

Versatile ryegrass can be grown across the U.S., from golf courses to parks to backyards. It’s a cool-season grass, and some varieties tolerate extreme temperatures.

“Ryegrass can be annual or a perennial, so you’ll want to take that into account when choosing a ryegrass variety,” says Shelby DeVore, the founder of Farminence. “Annual ryegrass will germinate in almost any condition, but it will need to be reseeded each year.”