How to Overseed a Lawn
Lawn care is an integral part of exterior home maintenance, and a healthy, vibrant lawn can add beauty and value to any home. Regardless of how much time you spend in your yard, your grass can begin to look thin and brown as it ages, and the best way to restore its appearance and vitality is with overseeding. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to overseed a lawn from the landscape experts at The Grounds Guys®.
Overseeding is a method of seeding over top of an existing lawn. As your lawn continues to age the production rate of new grass blades begins to slow down, and in this weakened state, weeds can start to take over.
The two main reasons for overseeding lawns are:
- The lawn has become thin, brown, and patchy.
- Warm-season grass which goes dormant in the winter may be overseeded with cool-season seed for year-round growth.
When to overseed lawn depends on the type of seeds you are planting. In northern climates overseeding should be performed 45 days before the planting zone’s first frost. This is ideal for strengthening a weak or thinning lawn. Strengthening turf in the spring is best done when the threat of all freezes has passed their region.
Those living in southern climates with warm-season grasses should overseed to obtain winter color, when temperatures have dropped below 65 degrees at night consistently. Prepare the area properly prior during elevated soil temperatures to promote germination.
You will need:
- Grass seed
- Enriched soil
- Seed spreader
Begin the overseeding process by mowing your lawn on the lowest setting and bagging the clippings. Next, rake the lawn to remove any loose grass or debris, further exposing the soil to accommodate the new seed.
Add a thin layer of one-quarter of an inch or less of enriched soil over the existing grass and gently rake it in to provide a healthy environment for the new seeds to settle into.
Fill the seed spreader and adjust the settings according to the directions on the label, and apply over the entire area, refilling as needed. For smaller areas, you may want to use a hand spreader while a drop or broadcast spreader is more suitable for larger lawns.
Choose and apply a fertilizer with concentrations that are suitable for new grass, and which contain phosphorus to support root growth and nitrogen for enhanced top growth and greening.
Ensure the seeds and soil remain consistently moist, watering once or twice a day until the new grass has reached the height of the old grass. From there, water your lawn as needed to prevent wilting to establish a deep, healthy root system. Refrain from mowing the grass until the lawn has filled in and the blades are at least one-inch high.