Spreading And Nurturing The Seed
Aerate Your Soil Surface For Reseeding
You may use a solid tine fork to penetrate the soil surface to 1 to 2increase the seed on soil contact to ensure germination. Depending on your lawn size and your budget, plug aerators are an excellent choice for lawns. Plug aerators remove a core or plug of soil from your lawn and allow air, nutrients, and water uptake.
A good option is to rent a core or plug aerator machine because manual or spike aeration may cause further impaction in your lawn area by compressing the spaces between the spiked holes. However, mechanical aerators can be physically taxing, and those in good physical condition should operate them.
Important note: Aerating times differ according to your particular climate. The best time to prepare your soil for grasses such as fescue, bluegrass, and rye that favor cool seasons is between August and October. The best time to aerate your soil for grass seeds that favor the warmer climes, such as species like St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bermuda, is April through June.
Solid Tips On Overseeding Your Lawn
The process of overseeding a lawn can turn out to be very beneficial both for the appearance and the health of the garden. However the average homeowner is either not aware of its importance or cannot make out the difference between seeding and overseeding. Before discussing how overseeding can be done effectively, lets understand what overseeding is and how it can be beneficial.
Overseeding is a simple process of adding seeds to the lawn to improve its quality and appearance. While seeding, the gardener adds grass seeds to the prepared soil in order to grow grass from scratch on the other hand, overseeding is when the gardener scatters grass seeds onto a pre-existing lawn. Overseeding is generally opted to improve the look of a garden that has developed patches of empty or browned spaces and to thicken the grass to increase its overall density which resultantly has a positive effect on its appearance.
As time passes, the condition and the quality of the grass deteriorate. Symptoms like dry or barren patchy areas, abundance of weeds and generally wilted grass blades start to make their appearance. To counter this condition, fertilizers are added so that proper nutrition can accelerate growth and quality. With that, excessive watering of the grass is also needed and the weeds have to be pulled out.
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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.
Water In The Grass Seed
Your seeds arent going to grow without some water.
For overseeding, youll want to water your lawn at least two or three times a day.
Although its normally best to water your lawn with infrequent, deep waterings, when seeding, its always best to stick with a higher number of lighter watering.
If you try to do a single heavy watering a day, you could wind up dislodging the seeds and having them wash away.
Once the roots start growing you can be more lax about watering the seeds.
This would be a good opportunity to use a sprinkler. It saves you the hassle of going outside to water your grass multiple times a day.
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When To Overseed A Lawn
When learning how to overseed a lawn you must also pay close attention to when you do it. You want to make sure the new seed germinates and grows as quickly as possible.
Overseeding a lawn should be done when growing conditions for grass are at their best. This means plenty of sun, warmth and rain.
There are two times of year that provide these conditions.
Autumn and Spring.
I prefer to do it in Autumn. The soil still holds the warmth of the summer, theres plenty of daylight and the rains bring the moisture. Plus, there are much fewer weed seeds floating around later in the year, when compared to spring.
That said, if youre removing moss in the spring that has grown over the winter, you should definitely overseed.
Avoid doing it in the heat of the summer as youll likely not be able to provide the soil with enough moisture.
How Long Does It Take Before You Mow The Overseeded Lawn
After you have overseeded your lawn, wait before you start to mow to prevent any stress caused on newly sprouted. This is because if you water your grass a lot, cutting it very soon before the roots have settled can easily tear up new grass.
Mowing the lawn when it is wet from heavy watering can also lead to lawn diseases like brown patches or fungus and prevent the growth of the overseeded lawn. When to cut after overseeding depends on the type of lawn. If it is perennial ryegrass, it is best to mow after 10 to 14 days, as this type of grass grows much faster than many species.
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Its Time To Spread The Seed
Once you have prepared the area by mowing the grass, raking, and choosing your seed, it is time to spread the seed. Be sure to check the seed label to know the rate of overseeding.
Using a lawn spreader, available at most home improvement and gardening stores, spread the seed around your lawn.
Spreading the seed is a pretty self-explanatory process however, it is important to do it when the air is calm. Do NOT try to spread the seed on a windy day, as you will ultimately miss your lawn and waste your seed. Likewise, working when the air is calm ensures even distribution of the seed.
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Tip: Reduce the recommended seeding rate by one-half and cover the area twice, in two directions, leaving a cross-hatch seeded pattern at a 45º angle.
Note: Whether or not a chemical such as Glyphosate is used, it usually works better to overseed new grass into the old, undisturbed turf, even if it is dead, rather than start with bare dirt. Overseeding is faster and easier than completely digging up the soil, and it leaves some cover to protect against wind or water erosion of the soil surface.
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How Many Pounds Of Grass Seed Do You Need To Overseed
- Best Overall: Barenbrug Advantage Pinnacle III Perennial Ryegrass Seed at Amazon.
- Best for Sunny Spaces: Scotts Turf Builder Sunny Mix Grass Seed at Amazon.
- Best for Dogs & Pets: Scotts EZ Seed Sun & Shade Dog Spot Repair at Amazon.
- Best for Cool Season: Nature’s Seed Fine Fescue Grass Seeds Blend at Amazon.
How Long Does It Take Grass Seed To Germinate And Grow
Grass seed can take from 5-30 days to germinate and this depends on several factors which include
- The type of grass seed you choose
- How much moisture and warmth is in the soil
- The weather in general, and
- How fertile the ground is
That said, most people should see germination within a couple of weeks.
How To Overseed & Feed Your Lawn In The Fall
While September draws out and October gets near, the days begin to get colder and almost certainly wetter.
Meaning most people hang up their gloves and wait until the following Spring before tending to their lawn again.
However, RelentlessGardener.co.uk will tell you that this is when most lawn care professionals start being pro-active about caring for their grass, so that the Winter doesnt ruin every bit of greenery.
Here are a few simple activities you can do to ensure the Winter is kind to your lawn.
How To Overseed A Lawn Without Aerating
Overseeding the one activity we do a lot in the fall to fill in the bare spots and choke out weeds. The standard procedure usually starts with aerating and probably dethatching, but when you dont want to do these, how do you overseed a lawn without aerating?
To overseed a lawn without aerating, start by mowing it lower than 2 inches and follow it up with raking to remove debris and loosen up the topsoil. Spread the grass seed and then rake over it gently. Fertilize with a starter fertilizer and then water the lawn lightly until the grass grows to a good mowing height.
Recommended Fertilizer: Use the Lawnify Lawn Starter Fertilizer Box
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Apply An Autumn/fall Lawn Feed Or Starter Lawn Feed
One of the most important things for grass to grow is having the right nutrients in the soil at the right time of year.
These nutrients come in the form of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. As well as a few other micro nutrients.
In Fall, the soil needs more phosphate so that the roots can grow stronger and withstand the downpours or frost that comes during these cooler, wetter days and nights.
So, if you want to feed the whole lawn, you should wait around 4-6 weeks for the grass to grow, then apply a Fall Lawn Feed which contains the right amount of phosphate.
Alternatively , you may wish to apply a starter lawn feed which will help the new grass seed germinate quicker. It really depends on how patchy the lawn was when you did your overseed.
Continue to mow while the new seed comes to fruition.
Now its a bit of a waiting game to watch your grass become thick, lush and green even during the Winter months.
So, remember to keep your lawn fed and the grass seed sowed. That way youll be on your way to a luscious lawn all year round.
Choosing The Right Seed
Before overseeding a lawn, it is important to choose a seed that is compatible with your grass. You should try to use a seed that is the same as your grass. For example, if you have turf-type tall fescue, then use turf-type tall fescue seed or a blend of turf-type tall fescue seed and Kentucky bluegrass seed. Be careful about using bargain store seed brands for overseeding lawns. Bargain seed is often poor quality and can contain multiple undesirable varieties.
Overseeding Fescue Lawns
Fescue Rule: An important rule is if you have a turf-type tall fescue lawn, do not overseed with a coarse type tall fescue seed. Coarse fescue varieties, such as Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue or Alta are much larger plants having wider blades that were originally designed as pasture grass. They are often sold as lawn grass seed to those who do not know the difference. Stick with turf-type tall fescue if that is what you already have.
It is okay to combine bluegrass seed with turf-type tall fescue seed. Many professional seed blends use both because blades are similar in size and appearance and bluegrass spreads filling in gaps. However, the popular Kentucky bluegrass seed found in many seed bags is from an older variety of bluegrass that cant take routine fertilization. It becomes very disease prone under high maintenance. If you fertilize regularly, ask to be sure it is an improved variety that can handle fertilization.
Important Note on Turf-Type Tall Fescue
Overseeding Lawns with Bluegrass Seed
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Do You Need To Aerate Before Overseeding
It is not a must that you aerate your lawn before overseeding. However, since aeration loosens up compacted soil, improving the supply of oxygen, and provides nutrients and minerals to the new grass seed, it will improve germination and growth rates and help the grass grow thicker faster.
New grass will grow healthy and dense if the roots develop properly. It is important to make sure the soil is loose enough so that after germination, the roots can grow deeper for better water and nutrient access.
This is why aeration is important especially in lawns with soils that compact easily, such as clay soil. If you have this type of soil, it would be a great idea to aerate first before overseeding.
Watering Different Types Of Lawns
During the first year of your lawns growth, whether it’s a newly seeded, sodded, sprigged, or plugged lawn, don’t rely solely on Mother Nature to do the watering. Additional irrigation should always be provided.
When watering a newly seeded lawn, the key is to keep the top inch of soil consistently moist but not soggy. You will likely need to mist the seeded area once or twice a day . Once the seeds start to germinate, continue to keep the top 2 inches of soil moist until the new grass reaches a mowing height of around 3 inches. After that, begin to cut back watering to twice per week and soak the soil deeper, about 6 to 8 inches, to encourage the grass roots to grow down deep into the soil.
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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!
Change A Lawns Appearance Or Tolerance
Overseeding allows you to gradually change the appearance of your lawn or increase its tolerance in different ways.
For example, lets say you have an ornamental lawn that doesnt cope very well with the kids and pets running around on it. Overseeding with a mix of harder wearing grass types will create the best of both worlds a good looking lawn thatll cope with the stresses your family puts on it.
On the other hand, you might have shady areas on your lawn where the grass is patchy and sparse. Overseeding with a grass blend that grows well in shady areas will improve both the look and tolerance of your lawn in those areas.
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