Mow Your Lawn Before You Overseed
Before overseeding, mow your lawn to around 2-3cm. This will remove the majority of the old grass, making room for new grass plants. Ensure the grass is dry before you mow to prevent tearing the blades.
However, always ensure that you stick to the most crucial rule of mowing your lawn:
Never cut your grass more than of the grass blades full length
Grass seed needs to make good soil contact to germinate. Therefore, mowing creates space for your new grass shoots to spread more densely and quickly.
If your grass is short, your grass seed is more likely to make contact with the soil otherwise, youre just laying a tasty treat for the birds on top of your existing lawn.
Follow The Correct Seeding Ratio
In general, it is recommended to spread at 3 pounds of seed per thousand square feetof lawn when overseeding. It is important to follow these ratios in order to grow healthy young stands of turf. Spreading less than the recommended amount of seedin your lawn can result in open areas of turf that are more susceptible to weeds. Spreading more than the recommended amount of seedcan result in stands of turf that contain high numbers of small, young, and immature plants that will take much longer to grow into mature, robust plants that can fight off environment stresses like heat, drought, cold and foot traffic.
If you would like to know how much seed you need for your lawn, we can tell you!
Fertilize With A New Seeding Fertilizer
After spreading the seed, apply a new seeding fertilizer. This will give your new seedlings the nutrients they need to develop a deep root system and germinate properly. Opt for a fertilizer that is rich in phosphorus and can be applied at the time as seeding, such as Jonathan Green Green-Up Fertilizer for Seeding & Sodding, which is specially formulated to grow strong roots to help your lawn withstand stress, especially from summer and winter weather.
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How Much Grass Seed
When youve decided which lawn seed to use, the instructions should tell you the rate at which it needs to be applied. Quite often the over seeding rate is lower than the rate for starting a new lawn though sometimes adding more, particularly if rye grass is included, will speed recovery. However, if you are trying to improve your lawn by changing the type of seed then adding more will cause more of a change.
Do NOT automatically assume more is better! Ive seen patch repairs done where you cant see the soil for grass seed. This will cause extremely dense growth that will stick out like a sore thumb. If in doubt stick to about 10 to 20 seeds per square inch.
The next page will cover all the variables for seeding rates.
How Often Should You Overseed The Lawn
The answer to this largely depends on the environmental conditions. If harsh weather, such as repeated droughts, takes its toll, grass could need overseeding annually to keep up with the damage. However, in most cases overseeding will only be necessary every couple of years. Essentially, if you notice your grass is looking thin and worse for wear, thats a sign that its time to overseed.
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Top Tips For Overseeding:
1. Your selection of seeds for overseeding holds a lot of importance as it needs to blend in with the existing grass completely. You can choose to go with the same grass type as is already laid but for a plusher effect and if you dont like the appearance or behavior of the existing grass then blend in grass seeds of other grasses.
2. Secondly, you must remember to trim down the existing grass before you begin to overseed. The new seeds already have to face the challenge of competing with the well established grass plants and any existing weeds. So, bring the lawn down to a length of an inch or so and remove the cut clippings, to ensure that the new seeds come in contact with the soil otherwise they will not germinate.
3. Before overseeding, aerating the soil is very important, so that the seeds have the place to get nestled inside the soil cozily. Once the soil is aerated, spread a very thin layer of compost to give a nutrient base for the germinating seeds. Dont put too much compost, otherwise the existing blades will get buried and will die.
4. Spread the seeds evenly over the main lawn, taking care to add more in areas that are bald. If your lawn has larger areas that are bare, then it is best to choose a similar species mixture. Once the seeds have been scattered, water the area generously 3 4 times a day for the coming week so that the seeds remain nice and moist and can germinate easily.
Choose The Right Seed
The first, crucial step to overseeding a lawn is choosing the correct type of grass seed. When selecting grass seed, you should always consider the region you live in to determine if the climate conditions are suitable for proper germination and growth.
It is equally important to choose a high-quality grass seed variety. Like other plants and vegetables, certain species of grass have developed to be more drought and disease-resistant. Jonathan Green Black Beauty® Grass Seed mixtures can grow roots up to four feet deep, are naturally dark green in color, and have a waxy coating on the blade to help prevent damage from disease and insects.
Jonathan Green Black Beauty® Ultra Grass Seed is perfect for overseeding cool-season lawns, as it combines tall fescue seed varieties with Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass to make it easier and faster to spruce up thinning lawns.
Once youve selected the right seed, mow your lawn on the lowest mower setting . Make sure to bag the clippings. This will ensure that the grass seed will make contact with the soil and get adequate sunlight and water.
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What About Care After Overseeding
Depending on conditions and type of seed, new grass seed will begin to emerge in 5-7 days after seeding when moisture and soil temperatures are adequate. An overseeded lawn can be fully established in eight weeks or less.
Proper watering is critical to successful overseeding. The following is a recommended watering program.
- Immediately after overseeding: Water heavily to wash grass seeds into slits.
- Until grass seeds germinate : Water lightly on a daily basis, soaking first one inch of soil.
- After germination: Water less frequently, but allow for deeper soaking and penetration into soil. This encourages deeper root growth.
- After grass becomes established: Water at the recommended level for the type of grass planted.
The key is care and patience. Proper overseeding will produce a healthier, better-looking lawn that responds better to mowing, fertilizing and watering. An added benefit is increased property value!
Custom Lawn Cares Aeration Services
Custom Lawn Care has the largest fleet of Professional Core Aeration equipment in the state. Several different types of equipment allow us to handle any size lawn in an efficient and professional manner. For the best of turf health, consider a core aeration as the perfect service to combine with your plan to overseed your lawn! Contact Custom Personalized Lawn Care TODAY to book your fall core aeration!
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Should I Fertilize After Overseeding In The Fall
The lawn needs to be fertilized about six weeks after you sow the seed. For every thousand square feet of lawn space, apply a pound of quick-release nitrogen fertilization. If your lawn is 5,000 square feet, you would need five pounds of quick-release nitrogen for each square foot of grass.
If you dont have a lawn mower, use a garden hoe to mow the grass in the spring and summer. You can also use an electric lawnmower or a hand-held lawn-mowing machine.
Choose A Diversified Seed Mix
Having a balanced mixture of fescue types , bluegrass types and perennial ryegrass limits the amount of permanent damage insects, disease and drought stress can inflict throughout the warmer season. For example, one type of grass may be highly affected by drought stress, while another many not. Including different types of seed in your mix minimizes the amount of stress that your lawn is susceptible to from one particular stressor. Think of this as having a diversified investment in your lawn!
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What Should Be Done After Overseeding To Ensure Good Seed Germination
After seeding, keep the seedbed moist with frequent, light applications of water. Its often necessary to water once or twice a day. Continue to mow the lawn at a height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Mow the lawn frequently to reduce the competition from the established turfgrass. Gradually increase the mowing height when beginning to mow the new seedlings.
How To Choose The Right Type Of Grass Seed For Lawn Overseeding
When overseeding, you dont necessarily need to buy the same type of grass seed as whats already on your lawn. In fact, most seeds are sold as variety packs of many different types of seeds.
Whats important is selecting a type of grass seed that works well for your climate. Ensure that you get a seed mix that is suitable for cool climates. Also, its a good idea to look for seeds that are advertised as suitable for overseeding your lawn. While any good quality cool-season seed mix will normally work, its good to be on the safe side.
You can also buy special mixes of grass seeds, fertiliser, and lawn food, such as the one below. These are best if youre concerned about soil fertility but just want a single product thats easy to spread on your lawn.
If you do choose to use grass seeds, be on the lookout for ones that spread using rhizones, if you can find them. This basically means that the roots grow horizontally as well as vertically, ensuring better coverage when overseeding.
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Preparing Your Lawn For Overseeding
To get your lawn ready for overseeding, you want to do everything you possibly can to give your new seeds the best chance to grow. This means allowing them to get into the soil as easily as possible.
- Mow the lawn short, and collect the clippings dont mulch them.
- If you have thatch, meaning a buildup of dead plant matter in and among your grass, you should scarify to clear as much thatch as possible.
- If you dont have a scarifier, you should rake your lawn to clear as much debris as possible, and to loosen the ground, allowing the seed to make better contact with the soil. Raking can be especially helpful if your soil is compacted.
- Consider spreading a thin layer of compost over your lawn. Adding a small amount of top dressing can help to give the seeds a nutrient base, encouraging better growth.
Youre now ready to begin overseeding.
For Overseeding Preparation Is Key
When you begin to overseed your lawn, you have to prepare the area. To prepare your lawn for overseeding:
- Mow your lawn shorter than you normally would.
- Remove all of the clippings .
- Loosen the turf with a rake.
Mow your lawn shorter than usual to improve the percentage of seed that contacts the soil.
Youll also want to delay mowing your new grass after overseeding. Mowing your lawn close will buy you some extra time before you have to mow. Mowing too early can rip your new grass out because it wont have strong enough roots.
For normal mowing I recommend mowing 1/3 of the grass length. When overseeding, get closer to 2/3 of the grass length cut and raked.
After mowing and bagging your clippings,, rake over the area to remove all excess clippings and debris and to begin to turn over the soil, so it is ready to receive the new seed.
Raking is a good way to loosen the soil in your lawn so your grass seed has good contact. Without good soil contact, your seed wont germinate and grow.
I go over my lawn with an iron rake to loosen the turf.
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Water Your Lawn Generously
Right after spreading the seeds and fertilizer, water the lawn deeply. After that, water lightly every day to keep the soil moist while the new grass establishes. Continue watering every day until the new grass is as tall as the established grass.
Always water in the morning, before 10 a.m., to keep the water from evaporating in the heat of the sun. Watch for signs of overwatering, such as puddles or spongy soil. If you notice these signs, cut back on the watering immediately.
Solve Existing Lawn Problems
Lawns can be a great addition to any home, but only if they are appropriately taken care of. One common issue with their lawn is that the grass is not thick or healthy-looking. This may be due to several factors, such as problems with the soil, pests or diseases, or incorrect watering habits. To correct this problem and overseed or reseed your lawn, you will need to closely look at what is causing it.
If the grass is thin or patchy, it may be due to a lack of nutrients in the soil. In this case, you can add some organic matter or fertilizer to help improve the quality of the soil. Be sure to follow the directions on the package carefully to not damage your lawn further.
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Why You Should Overseed
- Repairs bare patches and fills in thin areas.
- Keeps lawns thick and weeds out.
- Introduces new grass varieties making a healthier lawn.
- Rejuvenates cool season lawns after hot, stressful summer.
- Provides green cover and protection for warm season grasses
Summer weather, use and traffic abuse your lawn, causing thin and bare spots. Older lawns get “tired” through the years. Fall overseeding renews your lawn. Thin and bare patches fill in quick. You’ll end up with a dense weed-free yard.
New seed varieties are constantly being developed. Overseeding adds these improved grasses to your lawn. Some of these might grow better in the shade or under trees, need less water, grow better in high traffic spots, or resist diseases better. Mixing diverse grass species into your lawn will improve it.
Are you growing a warm season grass…like bermudagrass? Overseeding with perennial ryegrass will keep it green and protect it grass this winter. Golf course and sports field managers overseed to keep their playing surfaces green and protect the dormant grasses, and keep winter annual weeds in check.
Fertilize The New Grass
Using the fertilizer spreader once again, spread a lawn starter fertilizer anywhere you just added seed. Starter fertilizers are especially formulated for new grass. They help the seedlings establish strong roots and sprout faster.
When choosing a fertilizer, avoid weed and feed combinations. The herbicides in weed and feed would keep the new grass from growing.
Note: If your seed mixture already contains fertilizer, skip this step.
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Aftercare And Proper Maintenance
Having an aftercare plan is important post-seeding to ensure all of your hard work doesnt go to waste! Once youve applied seed, make sure to maintain a regular watering and mowing schedule. Be sure to wait until the grass blade height has reached about four inches before mowing for the first time post-seeding. Also, even though its tempting to run around on your new, lush lawn, its best to try to limit excess traffic on your newly overseeded lawn to avoid damage.
Should I Put Topsoil Down Before Grass Seed
You can add a thin layer of organic matter to help the seed grow, but dont cover it with the top soil. Never put topsoil over newly sown seed is a good rule of thumb. Seedlings should be transplanted when they are at least 2-3 inches tall.
If you are unsure of the height of your seedling, you can measure it from the top of its stem to the ground. This will give you an idea of how tall it will need to be before it is ready to transplant.
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The Benefits Of Overseeding
Many older lawns were established with common type turf grasses not suited for the needs of todays homeowner. Theyre often more disease and insect prone, requiring more fertilizer and water.
Overseeding newer turfgrass varieties into an older lawn can help it better withstand insects, disease, drought, shady conditions and heavy traffic. The investment in overseeding pays off by reducing the amount of fertilizer, water and pesticides required. Most importantly, a renovated lawn stays greener and looks thicker and healthier!
Overseeding Q& a Yes You Can Grow Grass Reliably From Seed
Have a close look at the frequently asked overseeding questions below to learn a lot more about overseeding an existing lawn successfully.
How Early In The Fall Can You Overseed? For cool season lawns best practice is to overseed at least 6-8 weeks prior to average first frost dates. Many cool season grass types like Perennial Rye, Bluegrass, and the Fescues can withstand mild frosts even in the seedling phase but they will grow better and stronger when started early. Many northern locations can successfully overseed as early as mid-August just fine.
How Late In The Fall Can You Overseed? You can overseed as late as temperatures stay high enough to support germination. I have sprouted cool season grass seed in soil temperatures as low at 45 degrees which can be found in many norther lawns well into late October. The later into the season it gets the fewer sprouts youll get and the thinner the grass will be going into winter but if you experience mild winters this may be better than dormant seeding or Spring seeding.
Will Overseeding Kill Or Prevent Weeds In The Lawn? Overseeding a lawn will not immediately kill off weeds but as summer fades and cooler fall temperatures take hold new grass will fill in bare spots on the soil where weeds used to be. In subsequent year there will be less space for weeds to grow and you will likely have fewer weed in the yard and more desirable turf grass.
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