You sure the heck can! Dormant seeding is not a common practice but I say, give it a whirl. The spring outcome can be very rewarding and the fall effort is very minimal.
The key to dormant seeding is to put seeds down late enough so they do not begin to germinate too quickly. Be sure that the last leaves have fallen and have been cleaned up. Thanksgiving week is always a good benchmark holiday for winter garden activities. This would be a good time to begin your dormant seeding project. I use the word project lightly because the work is not so difficult as the word project suggests.
The second key is to mow the lawn short. Yes, down to 2 inches. Some people call this scalping but nothing about that word sounds healthy to me. A short lawn ensures that the seed will get down to the soil.
Key #3 is to be sure that there is good seed to soil contact. This is important for any type of seeding you do. Seeds that hover above the soil have nowhere to put its’ roots. Yes, this does require a little manual labor. This is a good thing. The cool, fresh air is great for our lungs. Get out there and rake that lawn to expose as much of the soil as you can. Some people even wait until the ground freezes a bit. The frost cracks are perfect for grass
Key #4 is to water the seed. Here is the very good news…you may only have to water it 1 time! After seeding, water the area until it is thoroughly damp. No puddles. If we get some very dry days, you may need to give the seed one more quick watering. How easy is that?!
Key #5 is to enjoy the winter break with a hot cup of coffee or whichever beverage suits your fancy. Snow provides a good cover for seed.
Key #6 is to be patient and wait for spring. If winter conditions agree with the grass seed, you will see little green sprouts emerging as soon as the soil temperatures warm up. Don’t be discouraged if it is a little thin. It is better than nothing and you can always throw down a little more seed.
Make this your last task of the fall season or the first one of your winter season. However, you view it, go for it! It is a quick, easy project, that could yield great rewards.
p.s. You still have time to do regular seeding this year before your dormant seeding time approaches. Perennial Rye will give you the quickest results. Take advantage of every minute. There is so much we can get done before winter arrives. You will feel so good about yourself!
Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!