The secret to achieving a beautiful lawn is over-seeding. Over-seeding, as part of a comprehensive, proactive plan, makes a lawn look great. Whether you’re growing your first lawn or have years of experience, learning about overseeding can improve your results.
Homeowners often think about overseeding to help out a lawn that has thinned, but professionals think about over-seeding as a preventative measure.
However, it is best to do over-seeding as a preventive measure because then it can help prevent weeds from growing in your lawn.
What is Overseeding?
The practice of planting grass seed on an existing lawn without turning over the grass or soil is known as overseeding. It is done without punching any holes in the lawn, so the existing turf is not disturbed in the process.
Here are a few steps to follow on how to overseed a lawn the right way:
Importance of Timing:
Proper timing for over-seeding is extremely important. All your money and efforts will go in vain if you do it at the wrong time of the year, and you’ll be left disappointed in the end.
Below are some timing considerations for different types of turfs:
- Cool-season grasses: Late summer or early fall is the best time to overseed this type of grasses. It is best to do over-seeding for these grasses when the grass is already growing and thriving perfectly. The temperature in summer will warm-up the soil, which will initiate germination, and the cool air of fall will help stimulate growth.
- Warm-season grasses: Late fall or early winter is the best time to overseed these types of grasses. For hardy grasses that can tolerate harsh climatic conditions, it is recommended to overseed 45 days prior to the first frost, and if you live in an area with warmer conditions, overseed the lawn 45 days before the coldest time of the year arrives.
- Overseeding in spring: If you do the overseeding in the spring your young grass will be stressed by the hot weather, and you won’t get the expected results.
Selection of Seed
The selection of seed for overseeding is very crucial. Select seeds that are compatible with the climatic conditions and the existing grass type. Choose only top quality seed based on light and moisture availability and the amount of traffic it’s going to tolerate. Always read the tag to check the ratio of grass to weed and the seed’s growth percentage. Don’t ruin your hard work by buying some low-quality products.
For faster germination, try to freeze your seed overnight. It is best to keep it frozen until you’re really ready to spread it on your lawn.
Preparation is Key
You need to take care of a few things before overseeding:
- Cut your grass shorter than you usually would.
- Remove all the leftover clippings from the area.
- Use a rake to loosen the turf.
Mowing your grass shorter is vital because then the seed can get in contact with the soil. Also, after over-seeding, new grass isn’t recommended to mow, so mowing it shorter earlier will provide you some extra time. Mowing it in the early stage can damage it severely because the roots won’t be strong enough to hold the ground.
Routine mowing is recommended for 1/3 of the blade length. But for overseeding, do it for 2/3 of the grass length and rake the lawn afterward.
Spreading the Seed:
Once all the preparations are done, from seed selection to mowing and raking, it is time to do the actual overseeding. Read the seed label to know the rate of overseeding.
Use a lawn spreader to spread the seed around. Do this when the air is calm, try to avoid the spreading on a windy day it will result in seed loss. Spreading the seed in calm air helps in even distribution of seed.
Care after Overseeding:
The fertilizing of your lawn after overseeding is essential for the growth of the new seed. Seed can get essential nutrients through fertilizer that helps it to germinate and make the lawn lush and healthy, just like you want. Phosphorus especially helps in the rapid growth of roots. There are restrictions on the use of certain types of fertilizers, so be sure to check those restrictions in your area.
Broadcasting 1/4″ to 1/2″ layer of compost over your lawn after spreading the new seed, will provide nourishment to your new lawn seed and to the established grass as well. You can order it from a safe online source or from the nearby nursery and spread it with a shovel or a wheelbarrow.
New seeds need a lot of water for proper germination and growth. For the first week, keep your soil consistently moist with light watering twice a day. For the next week, water the lawn heavily. After the first two initial weeks, water according to the grass’s requirement to avoid wilting and to promote healthy growth of your lawn. By following this schedule, grass will develop a healthy root system, which will lead to a beautiful lawn.
You can get back to the regular lawn maintenance after the initial two to three weeks. At this stage, seeds would be sprouted and rooted, and your lawn will be looking healthier and more beautiful than ever.
Common Mistakes to Avoid:
Some common mistakes that need to be avoided are:
- Using the wrong type of seed: Only use seed that is compatible with your existing grass, temperature, and climate.
- Ignoring the recommended seeding rates: Use the proper amount of seed rate to ensure the success of the project.
- Ignoring proper timing: Proper reseeding only occurs at the right time of the year. Follow recommended seasons for grasses of both cool and warm-season.
- Using weed treatments directly after overseeding: Wait for the new grass to mature a little bit before using any herbicide because these products cannot differentiate between your new grass and the weeds.
Overseeding seems like a difficult task. But once you go through all of the above-mentioned tips, you’ll be equipped with the right information to do the things the right way and have a lush, healthy and beautiful looking lawn in the end.
A beautiful lawn requires much more than just time and luck; practices like over-seeding play a major role in your lawn development. Over-seeding is essential because it can help fill the bare spots and can prevent the growth of the weed. It helps in maintaining a healthy lawn and is much easier than tearing out your soil and starting your lawn from scratch.