If you have been reading this blog post consistently you will know one common theme that keeps coming up: a healthy spring lawn starts in the fall. A lawn is just like anything else in that it wears out over time. Whether it is caused by boot traffic, adverse weather conditions, or lack of proper care, lawns will always wear down. Some of the older grass will start to die out and it is not always a given that newer grass will replace it. This is why we typically recommend seeding yearly.
Now if you have already seeded your lawn, we do recommend that you do it again in the fall, but if you have not yet seeded fall (or even early winter) is still a great time to do it. If you seed in the late fall/early winter you should not expect the seeds to germinate this year. However, the seed will stay in the lawn over winter and much of it will germinate in the spring.
Keep in mind that not all lawns need seeding every year. If you have a thick, green, healthy lawn already you may not need more seed. In fact, putting down too much seed can lead to a build of thatch. Thatch is a layer of dense roots and dead grass that builds up on the root system. It is bad for the lawn because it blocks water, fertilizer and other nutrients from penetrating the root system. Thatch is caused by over-fertilization, applying too much seed, not raking, and not aerating annually and should be avoided.
In summary, if you have average looking to below average looking lawn, or if you have an older lawn that has not been seeded recently, winter seeding is a good thing. Do not expect the seeds to germinate right away, but over time these seeds will pay dividends in the following spring an summer when the seeds do germinate.