When the temperatures start to cool off and your lawn looks like it could use a boost, overseeding, otherwise known as reseeding your lawn, can lend a big hand in helping revive your lawn. Get the most out of your overseeding through thoroughness not just in spreading of the seed, but also in the prep and after-care of your lawn.
Prep Your Lawn
Lawn prep for overseeding relies on the combination of the following yard care processes:
- Cutting the grass
- Removing thatch buildup
- Aerating the soil
- Addressing soil nutrition
Cut slightly shorter than usual to give the seed enough sunlight. For this cut, it is best to bag your clippings so that your seeds have a clear path to reach the soil.
For the same reasons as bagging your clipping, it’s also a good idea to rake up thatch to make it easier for the seed to reach the soil. Dethatching can be done manually or by renting a power rake.
Aerating your lawn prior to overseeding is an essential step that loosens the soil, giving your seed the best chance to take root in the soil. This too can be done with a manual aerator, or you may choose to rent a mechanical aerator to help with the job.
This may also be a good time to have your soil tested for any nutrient deficiencies that may need to be addressed to get the most out of your overseeding. Reach out to your local county extension office in advance for expertise and assistance in the process.
Buy the Seed
Buying the seed at your local home improvement store is the safest way to guarantee that the grass seed is a good fit for your region. When you make your purchase, refer to the back of the bag for information on recommended seeding rates to get an idea of how much to buy. The bag will list both rates for planting new lawns from seed and overseeding rates, so be sure to follow the rates listed for overseeding, as it will be lower. Different varieties of grass have varying seeding rates, and because grass seed is typically sold in blends, the bag will have the most accurate ratio for that particular blend.
Spread the Seed
When you’re ready to lay down the seed, set your seed spreader to the rate recommended on your seed bag and load the hopper. As you push the spreader, seed will release. Depending on the seeding rate and lawn size, you may need to refill the hopper along the way. If you would prefer, check with the equipment rental locations in your area to rent a slit seeder to do the job.
Care for Your Lawn
Immediately after overseeding, apply a slow-release fertilizer and water the grass thoroughly. Until the seed germinates, keep the seed moist, which could mean watering several times per day. Once the seed germinates, stimulate root growth by saturating the soil to a deeper extent, less often. When grass establishes, follow watering recommendations for your grass type. About six weeks after you overseed, apply a quick-release fertilizer and you’ll be ahead of the game next spring!