Overseeding is spreading grass seed over an existing lawn. It’s a simple process that works when done correctly. Thinning is typical as grasses get older, particularly if you like and use your lawn frequently. Overseeding keeps your lawn competitive and steeped in youth and vigor, without starting over from scratch.
You can overseed or reseed your lawn by using the appropriate lawn spreader and applying seed at the label’s recommended overseeding rates.
It’s not hard to learn how to overseed or reseed a lawn, but it does require some preparation and research. To assist you, I’ve provided a short, detailed guide.
Overseeding Vs. Reseeding: What’s the Difference?
To begin with, it’s critical to comprehend the distinction between overseeding and reseeding. Despite some similarities in preparation and technique that lead to people occasionally using the terms interchangeably, they are ultimately distinct applications with distinct purposes.
Overseeding Your Lawn
Overseeding is simply the process of applying seed to an existing lawn, to put it simply. If overseeding is done correctly, it can maintain the appearance of your lawn for many years. Overseeding is generally done to either remedy or stay ahead of a grass thinning problem, whereas reseeding directly addresses barren or dead spots in the yard.
Although the kind of seed used is crucial, you should first consider your project’s objectives. To keep their warm-season grass from going dormant during the typically dormant winter months, some homeowners may want to supplement their thinning warm-season grass with a cool-season seed in the late summer. Others may simply want to use the same type of grass seed that is already present to fill in some thinning areas in the midst of the existing grass’s peak growing season.
According to general guidelines, cool-season grasses should be overseeded in the spring and fall, and warm-season grasses should be overseeded in the late spring through mid-summer. Overseeding is a good option if at least 50% of the grass is in good condition and the remainder is only thinned, not bare.
Reseeding Your Lawn
Reseeding is being done to repair dead spots in the lawn. Reseeding is more like pressing the reset button for particular areas of your lawn as opposed to overseeding, which is primarily used to thicken the lawn.
You should take action as soon as you identify any dead spots. Similar to overseeding, you must determine whether you need warm-season or cool-season seeds and refer to the instructions on the package for the best time of year to perform the reseeding. Choosing seeds for overseeding or reseeding situations should also involve consulting an expert at your neighborhood nursery. Re-seeding a lawn requires more than just thickening; it may also require soil testing, remediation, or some kind of amendment to help the new seed take root.
Why is Overseeding So Important?
Do you want to have a beautiful and lush green lawn? After a while, the vast majority of lawns require reseeding. It can make sense to overseed just a few years after laying a completely new lawn. Due to the extreme temperature swings in our region of the world, lawn grasses are quite delicate plants. As a result, they lose strength over time and no longer grow as well. At this point, your lawn starts to thin out. Moss and weeds can quickly take hold when patches start to appear in the previously dense lawn. You should regularly overseed your lawn to avoid this.
How to Overseed a Lawn in 6 Steps
Here’s a simple guide for how to overseed a lawn:
Step 1: Establish Goals
You must assess your current situation and establish goals for your overseeing project before you start. Are you looking to thicken an area to get ahead of thinning, or are you remedying a thinning area of your lawn?
Step 2: Pick Your Product and Create a Plan
You need to make a plan once you are aware of your objectives. Knowing which seed is suitable for your situation is the first step in this plan. Research the best seed to help you achieve your objectives and speak with your neighborhood nursery. Once you are aware of the seed to use, you can schedule the work.
Step 3: Prep Your Lawn
First, take care of any soil issues or bare spots. Test the alkalinity of your soil, if you haven’t already. Some people even aerate the lawn as part of their preparation before overseeding. Right before you overseed, mow the lawn to the lowest setting and make sure to bag your clippings. To prepare the turf for the new seed, rake away any debris or dead grass.
Step 4: Spread Seeds
A larger lawn can be spread with a broadcast spreader, though some people are comfortable enough to do it by hand as well. Regarding how much seed you’ll need in a particular area, follow the directions on the package. All seed types have different coverage rates.
Step 5: Water the Lawn
Water right away; you need to maintain soil moisture for the following two weeks so that your seeds can penetrate the soil and begin to grow. You don’t want to overwater, as that could flood the surface and wash away your seeds.
Step 6: Limit Mowing Activity
While watering frequently, focus on getting the grass to grow and keeping the lawn moist. Wait to mow the lawn until you notice germination, turf thickening, and a return to normal watering patterns. After you’ve noticed results, you can resume your regular mowing schedule. Mowing too early could disturb the seeds before they have the opportunity to germinate.
What You’ll Need to Overseed Your Grass
Here are some of the tools you’ll need to overseed a lawn:
- Landscape rake
- Oscillating sprinkler or a sprinkler system
- Soil meter/moisture tester (may be optional)
- Seed spreader of your choice (although some spread by hand)
- The right seed for your goals and climate
- Lawn aerator (may be optional)
When is the Best Time to Overseed Your Lawn?
While you can overseed your lawn at any time between April and October, early autumn or late spring are the best times because there is enough moisture and moderate weather. For the seeds to germinate properly, it’s also crucial that the overnight temperature remain above 12°C.
As previously stated, you should overseed your lawn if it appears sparse, if there are bare patches in the lawn following a cold or wet winter, or after you have scarified your lawn. Just a few years after the lawn was planted, it might need to be overseeded. No matter how the lawn was installed—traditionally sown or as turf rolls—patchy lawns provide space for moss and weeds to spread. Overseeding is a crucial part of maintenance to keep weeds and moss at bay.
How to Reseed in 6 Steps
To address barren areas, here are six easy steps for how to reseed lawn:
Step 1: Analyze the Cause of Barren Spots
You’ll want to understand why you have barren spots. You should think about using a turf seed that can grow in your climate if it’s due to high traffic and pets, which is probably pretty self-explanatory. To determine whether there is a fungus, disease, or insect problem, you might need to collect a soil sample if you’re unsure of the cause of your dead spots.
Step 2: Choose the Right Seed
To achieve this, consider your surroundings and your exposure. Find the right seed that can withstand full, partial sun or heavy shade, as well as the general climate. Knowing which type of grass seed best suits your needs is crucial because there are cool- and warm-season varieties.
Step 3: Prep the Soil
Rake up the site and work up the dead matter. Before reseeding a lawn, you should also take care of any weed problems you may have. To prep soil, you can also put down a pre-fertilizer, or a light layer of soil or peat moss, to promote germination.
Step 4: Apply Seed
For the rate of seeding, make sure to check the seed package, and apply as instructed.
Step 5: Make Sure the Seed is Covered
To protect the seed that has been applied, it is ideal to rake something natural over it, like compost or mulch. Some seeds even come with their own mulch. Rake it in to make sure it has contact with the ground.
Step 6: Water Immediately and Maintain Your New Lawn
The ground must remain moist until germination is complete, which for most seeds happens within a few weeks, just like with overseeding. However, some may require up to a month. Check your seed’s instructions once more to determine the germination period for your particular seed. You can reduce watering once you start to notice germination. Don’t overwater, as you could potentially wash seeds away. Wait until you feel the germination process is finished before starting your regular mowing schedule.
What You’ll Need to Reseed Your Grass
- Landscape rake
- Oscillating sprinkler or a sprinkler system
- Soil meter/moisture tester
- Seed spreader of your choice
- Mulch, compost, or fertilizer (optional, depending on seed and situation)
- The right seed for your goals and climate
The Bottom Line
You must set objectives and make a plan before overseeding to prevent or treat thinning or reseeding barren areas of your lawn. When overseeding or reseeding a lawn, it’s important to choose the appropriate seed for the job and to do it at the appropriate time of year. In the end, every person’s circumstance is different. It depends on the job whether soil amendments or remediation are needed. You should keep track of what works and what doesn’t on your lawn from year to year, just like you would with any other lawn. To achieve desired results, it’s not unusual to need to be overseed or reseed multiple times. Your results will only get better with time and practice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Just Sprinkle Grass Seed on Lawn?
Yes, but it’s not the best solution for problems with the lawn. It’s best to look into the reasons why a grass isn’t performing well or is looking worn-down and come up with a plan that involves picking the right seed and planting it properly at the appropriate time of year to fix the problem.
How Do I Start over My Lawn?
If you’re thinking of “starting over,” you’re probably dealing with heavy barren spots and need to reseed your lawn. Reseeding requires a plan, appropriate seed selection, and the right timing for planting that seed. In order to address the underlying cause of the dying grass, you might even need to amend or treat the soil. This choice can be assisted by a soil meter and testing kit.
How Much Grass Seed Do I Need to Overseed?
When you’ve determined which seed is best for your climate and objectives, check the seed package to determine how much you’ll need. The coverage rates of various seeds vary.