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How to Overseed Your Lawn & When is The Right Time?

Posted on September 15, 2022 by Lawn Doctor

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Whether you’re just getting started or already have an established lawn, some practices can boost the aesthetic appeal of your yard and make your lawn stand out among your neighbors. One of these practices is overseeding, which can improve the health of your grass and give it a lush, thick appearance. To ensure it goes well, here’s what you need to know about overseeding, including what it entails and how to get started.

What Is Overseeding?

Overseeding is the process of planting grass seed into existing turf. It’s a great way to fill in thin or patchy areas and improve the lawn’s health and appearance. The key to success is selecting the right grass seed for your climate and soil type and ensuring the seeds have good soil contact. Overseeding is best done in late summer or early fall when temperatures are cooler, and grass growth is active.

Tools Needed to Overseed

If using the right grass, overseeding restores the lawn and makes it hard not to spend the day relaxing outside. You need a few simple tools — seeds, a fertilizer spreader, a lawn mower, and a rake. Then you’re all set.

Aeration Tips

For your lawn to germinate and take root, it may need dethatching or aeration before you apply seed. If it’s compacted, the grass seed will not reach the soil for rooting, so it needs aeration first. The aeration process creates holes in the grass and ground, so water, oxygen, and nutrients can reach the roots of new grass and the new grass seedlings.

Mow and Rake to Begin

When overseeding, the first step is to mow the lawn so the grass seed can come in contact with the soil. Make sure to cut it short, so the grass seed will have a better chance of getting a foothold. After mowing, don’t forget to remove the clippings. Rake the lawn after mowing to remove dead grass, rocks, sticks, and other debris. Raking removes any barrier between the grass seed and soil and loosens the ground in preparation for seeding and germination.

Amend the Soil

Soil amendments have certain nutrients and chemical compositions to help various plants and grasses grow better in specific soil types. For example, wood ash, lime, and poultry manure raise the pH level of acidic soil to help certain plants and grasses grow better. Peat moss, compost, or sulfur amendments can enrich clay or sandy soils while adding acidity to alkaline soils. Use peat moss on clay soils to increase nutrient levels, while compost on sandy soils can improve the condition of the lawn. If the grass has not been growing and greening as it should, a soil test will identify what amendments, if any, the soil needs. If the soil has a neutral pH and is fertile, it might not need amending.

Spread the Seeds

Seed spreaders come with 16 seeds per square inch of soil and are used to overseed a lawn at the right time. The timing depends on the climate and the type of grass in your area. Less seed density may be okay, depending on the lawn thickness. Grass seed can also be spread by hand if you don’t have a spreader.

Think about which type of grass seed will work best in your climate. Lawns in cool-season regions, such as the Northeast and Pacific Northwest, thrive with variable weather patterns. The warm-season grasses best suit climates like those in the southern United States. Check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to help determine the average local climate and select the appropriate grass type. You’ll want to buy seeds rated by the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program because these varieties are resistant to diseases, drought, and common pests.

Add Grass Seed Fertilizer

Choose a good fertilizer, load it into a fertilizer spreader, and then scatter it around the outside of the lawn. Going around the edges ensures that fertilizer reaches the outside and not only the inside. Next, follow a pattern of rows like when you’re mowing the lawn by moving straight. Continue this until the entire area gets covered.

There are various fertilizer spreaders: broadcast spreaders, handheld spreaders, snap spreaders, drop spreaders, and liquid sprayers. Fertilizing small yards often only needs a small handheld spreader. For larger yards, a broadcast spreader may be best. Depending on your yard size and fertilizer type, you will want to choose either a backpack sprayer, a snap spreader, or a drop spreader. Depending on the type of fertilizer and spreader, you might only need a single device for spreading grass seeds and fertilizer.

Water the Lawn

After fertilizing, water your lawn each day for a short time. It’s best to water in the morning to maximize the water intake. Afternoons and evenings have more evaporation and need more water to get the same benefits. Overwatering your lawn can wash away the seed, prevent germination, or encourage thatch development and weed growth. Cut back on the watering time if puddles are present or the ground feels spongy.

Timing and Climate

To overseed a lawn well, you must know the timing of the process based on the weather and the grass type. Cool-season grasses are sown best in late summer or early fall. It’s best to seed warm-season grass in the spring or summer when the climates are cooler since this allows the seeds to germinate and grow before the grass goes dormant. As a result, the seeds can germinate and grow before the hottest summer temperatures hit.

Lush Green Growth

With this method of overseeding, it should be easy to see lush, green growth on your lawn. Keep in mind that when using a seed, you’ll need to buy one meant for your specific climate, and if your grass is particularly impoverished, it may need extra nutrients to germinate and thrive. Water the grass for a short time daily, and don’t mow until the new grass reaches 1 to 2 inches.

Why Use a Professional Like Lawn Doctor?

A professional service like Lawn Doctor is a great way to ensure your lawn remains healthy and vibrant. You’ll benefit from information and strategies from professionals with years of experience in lawn care. Lawn Doctor’s specialists have all the knowledge and tools needed to complete any tasks.

Tired of the tedious and grueling work of maintaining your lawn?

Contact Lawn Doctor to help care for your lawn when you can’t.

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