In this post we go into one of our more common inquiries, how to overseed a lawn!
It does not matter how well you care for the grass in your lawn, it will unfortunately at times develop patchy spots and look worn-out. When this happens, don't beat yourself up because the culprit isn't you but the grass itself. When the grass isn't suitable for an area or is susceptible to diseases and pests, patch spots and grass thinning are inevitable. Fortunately, this is a problem with a simple solution: overseeding. Overseeding is the perfect way to infuse new life into your haggard-looking grass.
Lush green lawns do not happen on their own -- a lot of effort goes into making a lawn green and beautiful. An essential step in lawn maintenance and care that gardeners are often either unaware of or conveniently ignore is overseeding.
In this comprehensive guide to Overseeding, we discuss everything there is to know about the process.
What Is Overseeding?
Overseeding is the process of adding grass seeds to fill in the thin spots and thicken the turf.
However, one must take care not to turn the soil during overseeding. Overseeding infuses new life into a lawn by enhancing the lawn's appearance as well as boosting the grass's ability to fight insects and diseases.
More importantly, overseeding gives lawn owners a chance to introduce new, advanced and disease-resistant varieties into their lawn.
Other than beautifying the lawn and thickening the turf, overseeding offers many other benefits.
For starters, overseeding reduces the possibility of soil erosion by keep water and soil restricted to the root zone.
This, in turn, enhances the health of the grass as well as the lawn. More importantly, overseeding does away with the need to use harmful chemicals to keep the law in good health, which, in turn, positively impacts the health of the plants.
However, when it comes to overseeding, timing is crucial. Before we can get to the main topic at hand, i.e. how to overseed a lawn, let us first understand when is the right time to overseed a lawn.
Why Is Overseeding Important?
Overseeding is not an option; it is a necessity. Here's why. If you spend a good amount of time in your garden each day, chances are your lawn registers high foot traffic on a daily basis.
This high foot traffic causes the grass to become thin with time. More importantly, thinning grass invites weeds, which in turn, can damage all the hard work you have poured in your lawn. Overseeding is an essential step in lawn care and does not only keep your lawn green and healthy but also safeguards it against weeds.
When Is the Best Time to Overseed Your Lawn?
Choosing the right time to overseed your lawn is essential. If done at the wrong time, overseeding will deliver no results and will be a complete waste of time and efforts.
Since the grass and lawns look their best during spring, most people assume that the spring season is the perfect time for overseeding.
The truth is the right time to overseed your grass does not depend on the health of your lawn but the type of grass you have chosen for overseeding.
Cool Season Grasses
If you are planning to overseed your lawn with cool-season grasses, such as the Kentucky bluegrass or the perennial ryegrass, you must begin the overseeding process during late summer or even early fall because hot temperature promotes germination and stimulates growth in the case of cool-season grasses.
Warm Season Grasses
However, if you are planning to overseed your lawn with warm-season grasses, such as bermudagrass or centipedegrass, you must start the overseeding process at least 45 days before the first snow of the season.
If you live in an area that does not receive snowfall, you must start with the overseeding proceeding 45 days before the coldest day of the year.
Now that we are clear on when to overseed a lawn, let's discuss the main topic: how to overseed your lawn?
Here's How to Overseed a Lawn
Overseeding may seem simple but it's a tricky process -- one small mistake and all your efforts will reap no results. Thus, follow these steps to stay right on track.
1.) Preparation Is Key
Preparation is an integral part of overseeding. Prepare your lawn for the process by trimming the grass to a short length. This is crucial to ensure that the newly sowed seeds get ample water and sunlight to grow.
Here is a simple tip: set your mower's blade at two inches if you are planning to do regular overseeding. However, if you are going with southern or cool-season grasses, set the blade of the mower to the lowest point and cut the grass just above the soil.
Once you have trimmed the grass, remove all the clippings and rake the entire area. This will not only help you get rid of any remaining clippings but will also allow you to get rid of any debris and loosen the soil to receive new seeds.
2.) Get Rid of the Preexisting Problems
Before you move to the actual step of overseeding, make sure that the soil you have prepared has no dead grass or debris to stop the roots of the grass from reaching the soil. If your lawn has significant thatch, it is extremely important to dethatch the lawn for beginning to overseed.
Similarly, if the soil has become compacted, make sure to aerate the lawn before overseeding. These steps are important to ensure that seeds get the soil and moisture they need to grow properly.
3.) Decide on the Type of Grass You Want in Your Lawn
If you're not sure what type of Grass to use, don't worry - I have you covered with this detailed guide: The Best Types of Grass for Your Lawn
Once you have done the basic preparations, the next step is to figure out the type of grass you want in your lawn. This decision will depend on your region's climatic conditions.
Selecting the right grass is crucial. Study your climate and then decide which grass will grow well in your garden.
Similarly, also take into account the amount of sunlight your lawn receives -- a grass that needs a lot of sunlight to grow won't survive in your garden if you receive restricted sunlight.
Once you have decided which type of grass you wish to go with, make sure to spend your money on best-quality seeds. The quality of the seed also plays an important role in ensuring the good health of the grass.
4.) Overseed and Fertilize the Overseeded Areas
The next step in the process is spreading the seed. If you are overseeding a large area, it makes utmost sense to use a lawn spreader. However, if you are overseeding a particular spot, you can simply spread seeds using your hands. Be sure to spread seed on days with low or no wind as this will help the seeds get evenly distributed.
For more info on this, read our detailed blog post on How to Overseed A Lawn
Tip: If you are overseeding a relatively small area, spread seeds using a handheld spreader. For large areas, choose to go with broadcast spreaders as they help distribute the seed evenly.
5.) Regularly Water the Overseeded Area
For the first ten days after overseeding, make sure to water the overseeded area at least twice each day.
Seeds need water to germinate. After the first ten days, give only sufficient water to prevent wilting. Regularly watering your seeds will allow them to develop healthy roots.
6.) Fertilize the Area
If you want your grass to grow well, fertilize the area properly after the seeding process.
Fertilizers ensure proper growth by delivering all the nutrients that the grass needs to germinate and grow. While choosing fertilizers, steer clear of weed & feed products as they inhibit the chances of seed germination.
Fertilizers containing phosphorus help with germination and root growth and those containing nitrogen promote both growth and greening.
However, in many areas around the world, phosphorus fertilizers aren't allowed as these fertilizers lead to environmental concerns. Thus, check the specifications and restrictions for your area before buying any fertilizer.
7.) Take Proper Care of Your Lawn
If you have done everything right, your efforts will begin to show results within the first week itself and within eight weeks of overseeding your grass will be ready.
However, while your grass is germinating and even after it has reached full growth, continue with essential lawn care practices, such as fertilizing, watering, mowing, aerating, etc., to keep your grass lush green and your garden healthy.
COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE OVERSEEDING
Overseeding is a simple process that involves several different steps and thus, the chances of mistakes happening increase with every step. You may think that everything is simple, but there are several mistakes you can make that can end up ruining all your hard work. Lets look at some of the common overseeding mistakes that you must make all efforts to avoid.
- First things first, timing is crucial. We discussed this at the very beginning of this article. You may feel tempted to overseed your grass as soon as you see a thin patch, but the right time to overseed a lawn depends on the type of grass you are using for the process. Since we have already covered this topic in great detail, we will just say that choosing the wrong time is a mistake you cannot afford to make.
- Selecting the right seed is also important. You must select a grass variety that goes well with the climate in your area as well as the already-existing grass in your lawn. Always select high-quality seeds. This way you may have to shell out a bit of extra money in the beginning but you will certainly save money in the long run and your lawn will also look much better.
- A lot of people subject their overseeded lawn to weed treatment. This is a mistake you should not make as the products used to get rid of weed also end up getting rid of the newly-formed grass.
- Lastly, it is important to stick to the right seed rate. Seed rate refers to the quantity of seed you will need to sow over a unit of land to achieve optimum production. When you stick to the right seed rate, you increase your chances of achieving success in your overseeding endeavours.
If the grass in your garden has thinned and your lawn has started to look lifeless, it's not the time to change the grass but simply overseed it. Overseeding will help you save time, money, and efforts.
However, while overseeding, following the right steps is crucial.
We hope this comprehensive guide on how to overseed your lawn has cleared all your doubts regarding this tricky process and will help you overseed your lawn the right way.
Any questions? Don't be shy, let me know! 😎