Overseeding has proved itself to be one of the most effective methods of improving the quality of your lawn. Overseeding your lawn leaves it thicker, healthier, and weed-free. If your yard is experiencing brown patches or beginning to die in spots, an overseeding treatment can help the affected areas recover. However, there is a right time and technique to overseeding, so keep reading to ensure that your grass is getting the correct treatment!
What is overseeding?
Overseeding is simply placing seeds in areas with existing grass that is now performing poorly. The two most common reasons for overseeding are:
- If your lawn is looking patchy or thin.
- If you’re growing a warm-season grass that turns brown during the winter months, you can overseed with a cool-season turf seed so that your lawn remains green year-round.
The primary reason for overseeding is the overall look and health of your yard. Most homeowners want their lawn to look as green and healthy as possible.
Best grass types for overseeding
Not all grass types require overseeding; however, this method is most effective for cool-season bunch type grasses. Some of the most common types of cool-season turf include tall fescue, fine fescue, perennial and annual ryegrass and occasionally bluegrass.
When should I overseed?
For lawns consisting of grasses that thrive in cooler climates and seasons, late summer to early fall is the best time to overseed. Overseeding during fall allows the young grass two or three months to become more established before temperatures drop too low and growth is halted until temperatures rise to a normal level in the spring.
Then, in the spring, the grass will have several months to further develop a full root system before enduring summer temperatures. Therefore, the end of the summer and the beginning of the fall are the perfect times to overseed your lawn. Other reasons to overseed in the fall include:
- Eliminate summer weed competition! Overseeding during the fall reduces competition from crabgrass, foxtails, and other weeds that flourish during the summer months.
- Warm soil temperatures are necessary for seeds to sprout roots and further develop, while cooler temperatures are better for grass growth, allowing your grass to grow through the winter.
- The fall will bring more rain and, in turn, the soil will be more moist and fertile for grasses to grow.
- Give your grass a head start! If you overseed during the fall, the grassroots can then establish themselves before winter, protecting your lawn from the potential of an early summer arrival or dryer than average spring.
There are a few things you can do before overseeding to ensure that the process works. Using a rake, get rid of anything that may prevent the seed from attaching, such as grass clippings from mowers, gravel, leaves or debris in your lawn. It may also help to mow your grass two inches or shorter to collect the grass clippings. For best overseeding results, core aeration is also highly recommended. Core aeration pulls out plugs of grass, relieving soil compaction and therefore allowing more room for your seeds to grow. Don’t worry about picking up the plugs; they will breakdown naturally and disintegrate in just a few short weeks. Now it is time to overseed!
How to overseed
Any method you choose to evenly distribute seeds over your lawn will work. Overseeding does not require expensive equipment; smaller areas can even be done by hand!
When overseeding by hand, first split the seed amount in half. Then carefully spread half of the seed over the entire area walking in one single direction. Then spread the other half of the seed at a right angle to the first direction you walked in. Spreading the seeds in two different directions increases the chance of getting complete coverage over the damaged area.
For larger areas, you may want to use a drop or rotary spreader for even coverage. A drop spreader drops the seed directly beneath the spreader and is ideal for specific areas such as around garden beds. For wide-spreading over a large section, it may be more beneficial to use a broadcast spreader for complete seed coverage.
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