Overseeding the Lawn
Want the secret to growing a thicker, greener lawn? It’s simple! Overseeding is the key to making sure your lawn maintains its vibrant, lush appearance. Even the healthiest grass can be reinvigorated by overseeding it with new grass seed.
As time goes on, cool-season grass plants mature, and their reproduction rates begin to slow down. This can leave your lawn looking dull and unhealthy.
Overseeding is an easy, cost-effective practice you can implement in your lawn care routine to give your existing lawn a boost in the growing seasons. Once complete, you’ll have a lawn with enhanced color, thickness, and improved appearance over time.
What is Overseeding?
Overseeding a lawn is the process of spreading new grass seed over an existing lawn. The term commonly gets confused with another lawn care process called reseeding, which involves killing the existing grass and weeds, then starting fresh by planting new grass seed. Many homeowners decide to reseed their lawn when there is extensive damage, the lawn is overgrown with weeds, or simply just wanting a fresh start with a different type of grass seed.
Why Should I Overseed My Lawn?
One of the main benefits of overseeding a lawn is that it revitalizes a thinning lawn without having to start from scratch and reseed the lawn. Over time, even the best lawns can begin to lose the vigor they once had. Factors such as excess traffic, too much shade, weather conditions, and disease can take a toll on your lawn’s appearance and cause the grass to thin. Overseeding can help to thicken those thinning areas by filling them in with new grass seed.
Overseeding also increases your lawn’s ability to resist weeds and disease. Thinning, worn-out lawns create ideal conditions for weeds to grow because there is plenty of space available. Overseeding is a quick and easy way to crowd out weeds by thickening the existing lawn and denying space, light, and nutrients needed for weeds to grow. Remember, the best way to keep weeds from taking over is to have a healthy, dense lawn.
When Should I Overseed?
In New England, aim to overseed in the fall, preferably in early September. A beneficial combination of cool air and warm soil temperatures during this time create the ideal conditions for new seedlings to successfully germinate.
If you happen to miss out on fall seeding, the next best time for overseeding a cool-season lawn is in early spring, ideally between March and April and when your soil has reached a temperature of 55℉ consistently.
- Choose The Right Seed: Consider the light, traffic and appearance you desire in a lawn before selection your seed. Not all seeds are created equal, we recommend Jonathan Green’s Black Beauty Series. Developed with disease and pest resistance in mind, Black Beauty grass root systems can grow up to 4′ deep and the display is unparalleled- naturally dark and green! With opens for drought-tolerant, dense shade, high-traffic, select what’s right for your yard.
- Mow the Lawn: Once you’ve selected the right seed, mow your lawn on the lowest mower setting (around 1 – 2 inches). 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.
- Remove Thatch and Debris: After mowing, rake your yard with a metal rake to remove excessive thatch and debris. Thatch is a layer of organic components (leaves and stems) found between the grass and soil that can prevent proper air circulation and water absorption for seedlings, which is necessary for germination. Vigorously raking your lawn also helps to loosen and break up the soil to create good seed-to-soil contact, making it easier for the seeds to take root.
- Improve Soil: Most New England Soils are highly acidic and require a correction in pH to create ideal conditions for seed to germinate. We love applying Mag-i-Cal to help correct pH. To stimulate soil microbial life and release trapped nutrients while relieving compaction, we recommend Love your Soil which can also be applied during the time of overseeding.
- Spread Seed: Prior to spreading seed, make sure you carefully follow instructions on the seed label. For smaller areas, spread seed by hand or use a handheld spreader. For larger areas, use a broadcast spreader to ensure all areas get the proper amount of seed. After spreading the seed, lightly rake the seed into the top ¼ inch of the soil to ensure proper seed-to-soil contact.
- Water: New seedlings need the correct amount of moisture to ensure proper germination. Water new seedlings lightly twice daily for 10-15 minutes each time for the first few weeks after planting seed.
- Aftercare: Having an aftercare plan is important post-seeding to ensure all of your hard work doesn’t go to waste! Once you’ve 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 it’s tempting to run around on your new, lush lawn, it’s best to try to limit excess traffic on your newly overseeded lawn to avoid damage.