Water But Not Too Much
Water the new lawn generously right after the mulch application, but stop as soon as you see puddles forming. One way to get even watering is to place an impact sprinkler in the corner of the lawn and set it to spray in a quarter arc. Then move it to the other corners. Keep the soil moist to a depth of 4 to 6 in. for best germination. Water regularly as the seedlings appear and grow. Gradually reduce the watering over a six-week period. Then switch to your normal watering routine.
‘Most people overwater new seed. Just keep the soil damp for the best germination.’
Bob Mugaas, Turf Expert
Spread The Grass Seed
Its seeding time! Just fill up your Scotts® spreader with grass seed, adjust the spreader settings according to the label directionsuse the New Lawn coverage rateand apply. The Scotts® Whirl Hand-Powered Spreader is an extremely easy-to-use choice for small lawns , while the Scotts® Turf Builder® Edgeguard® DLX Broadcast Spreader brings exceptional precision when youre applying seed to larger lawns . For really big lawns , the Scotts® Elite Spreader, with its 6-foot spread pattern, will help you get the job done quickly.
The Best Time Of Year To Seed A Lawn
Grass seeds prefer temperatures that are consistently between 15° and 26°C to germinate. For Canadas cool-season grasses, that makes September and October the best months to start a new lawn. The warm fall temperatures and cool soil allow the seeds to store up healthy nutrients before going dormant for the winter. By spring, the new grass will be energized and ready to grow.
Its possible to seed your yard during the spring and summer months, but the grass will have to overcome additional challenges. Too much spring rain can lead to disease, and summers long, hot days mean more frequent waterings and fighting off weeds.
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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!
Choose Your Grass Seed
Now is the time to choose the best grass seed to plant in your yard. This will be based on your climate and soil type and the amount of sun your lawn receives. There are two main types of grass, and these are called cool-season grass and warm-season grass.
Cool-season grass thrives in areas with mild or cool summers, with two spikes of rapid development in the spring and fall. These grasses begin germinating at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and accomplish their greatest rate of growth between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit .
These cool-season grasses are lush and green, and grow in thick, carpet-like lawns with minimal thatch, and they can withstand cold weather. Bluegrass, Ryegrass, Bentgrass, and Fescues are examples of cool-season grasses.
On the other hand, warm-season grasses are grass species that begin growing when the temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit , and they thrive in temperatures ranging from 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit . In the winter, they go dormant and take on a brown color.
Many warm season grasses are drought resistant and can withstand tremendous summer heat. Zoysia Grass, Bermuda Grass, St. Augustine Grass, and Buffalo Grass are all examples of warm-season grasses.
Warm-season grasses are best planted in the spring as well, during the month of May. You wouldnt want to plant these grasses in the fall. See our post on the best time to plant grass seed for more information.
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Preparing Your Lawn For Overseeding
Seed germination and establishment requires good contact of seed with soil. Inspect your lawn for presence of thatch. If too thick, its best to aerate your lawn before overseeding or if filling in patches remove the thatch and dead grass before spreading seed in bare areas of your lawn. To prepare your lawn for overseeding, cut the grass short, using the lowest setting on your mower. Dont forget to reset the blades to a higher setting after the overseeding is complete and resume a normal mowing height as you typically dont want to cut the grass this short. If cutting your lawn short before overseeding, bag the clippings. While you might normally leave them to help feed the lawn, you want to remove the clippings so that the grass seed can make good seed:soil contact for faster germination. After mowing, rake your lawn to remove any remaining debris and thatch, and to loosen the top layer of soil.
How To Overseed Or Reseed Your Lawn
There’s a secret behind achieving a beautiful, lush lawn. Landscape professionals know what it is, but many homeowners don’t. Overseedingas part of a comprehensive, proactive plankeeps lawns looking great. Whether you’re tending your first lawn or have years of experience, learning how to overseed your lawn can improve your results.
Overseeding is spreading grass seed over an existing lawn. Done right, it’s a straightforward process that gets results. As grasses mature, thinning is normalespecially if you enjoy your lawn and use it often. Overseeding keeps your lawn competitive and steeped in youth and vigor, without starting over from scratch.
The basics of overseeding are the same everywhere, but goals and timing vary based on geography and the type of grass grown. For success with overseeding your lawn, follow this basic guide:
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Sowing A New Lawn From Scratch
Now thatyou have the right seed, which is fit for purpose, its time to get down to themain event the sowing! While it would be nice to scatter your seeds and hopethat a luscious green lawn will appear soon, the process is a bit more indepth. But, with the right knowledge, it can be an easy, yet very rewardingone. To make it easy, we have broken down our steps on how to sow grass seed.
Picking And Spreading The Right Seed For Your Lawn
When choosing seed, be sure to select the right seed for your region of the country and for your yard conditions, and follow the package directions on your chosen grass seed. Use a seed spreader to make the job faster and ensure that the seed is spread evenly. If your soil is especially compacted, you may wish to aerate the lawn before you overseed. Keep in mind, though, that if you aerate before overseeding, you need to choose a type of grass seed that spreads easily, such as bluegrass. Otherwise, the seed is likely to get caught in the aeration holes, creating a patchy or clumpy lawn.
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Choosing The Type Of Grass Seed
This is one of the first and most important steps to reseeding your lawn. You have to select the highest-quality seed to ensure your lawn is free from any weeds or unnecessary grass species. One of the best types of grass seed is the tall fescue. It is desirable because it suits the kind of lawns in the mid-Atlantic area.
This is because this specific area is often termed the transition zone. Bluegrass cannot tolerate hot summers because the area is too far in the south for any northern grasses. Similarly, southern grasses are also not recommended because they are unable to bear the cold winters. Due to all these reasons, we recommend tall fescue and other similar type of grass seeds for your lawns.
How To Overseed A Lawn: Common Mistakes To Avoid
Now, at this point you may be thinking, overseeding seems pretty easy, how can anyone mess it up? Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when looking to overseed your lawn:
Overseeding can seem like a daunting process. But, once you know how to do it and the things to avoid, overseeding can really help you create a beautiful, healthy lawn. This will have all your neighbors in envy.
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Planting New Grass On Top Of Old Grass
Maintaining a healthy lawn can be a lot of work. Unfortunately, sometimes you will encounter problems with your lawn that can’t be fixed by watering, fertilizing and a regular mowing schedule. If your lawn is thinning or developing bare spots, sowing new seed is likely required. While you can always remove the existing grass before sowing new seed, it is also possible to plant your new grass seed over your current lawn.
Cost To Reseed A Lawn
Overall, you can expect to pay $90-$180 per 1,000 square feet to hire a professional lawn care company to reseed your lawn. You may also take a DIY approach to reseeding your lawn. However, you should expect to pay $50-$100 for seed, and many home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes rent the required lawn seeding equipment for $80-$90 per day.
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Think About What You Want To Accomplish With Overseeding
Most people, when they think about overseeding, think about doing it to help out a lawn that has thinned.
However, it can be best to think about overseeding as a preventative measure. Overseeding can help prevent weeds from taking over your lawn.
No matter why youre overseeding your lawn, once you have your goals straight, then you can think about how to overseed properly.
Making A Plan To Overseed Or Reseed Your Lawn
If youre noticing your lawn is looking a little thin, or the color isnt as bright as it used to be, you may need to overseed or reseed your lawn. Overseeding is the process of adding new seed to an existing lawn while reseeding is planting new seed in an area that has been completely tilled.
No matter which process you choose, there are a few things youll need to do before getting started:
- Rake your lawn to remove any dead grass or debris
- Break up any clumps of soil with a rake or shovel
- Amend the soil with compost or fertilizer
- Water the area well
Once youve prepared the area, its time to choose your seed. If youre overseeding, select a blend that matches the existing grass.
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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!
Can I Put Topsoil Over Grass And Reseed
It is possible to dump new soil over top of what you have, and prepare it for sod or seeds. The cost of removing the old soil and replacing it with the new will be cheaper with this option.
If you do not have the time or inclination to dig up your lawn, you can use a garden trowel to remove soil from the surface of the grass. You can also dig a hole in the ground and fill it up with soil. The soil will then be ready for planting.
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Create A Healthy Lawn By Starting Over
Lets get this straight right from the get-go: A healthy lawn doesnt get taken over by weeds. So if it looks like youre raising weeds instead of grass, thats a sign of a more serious problem. And that may mean killing off the grass and starting over. Its a big reseeding lawn project thatll take several weekends and may cost you up to 25¢ per sq. ft. for equipment rentals, soil conditioners and seed. If youre willing to spend more, you can lay sodinstead of planting seed, but dont skip the soil testing and remediation steps. Heres how to balance your soils pH level properly.
Are you ready for a fresh start? Just follow our guide for how to plant grass seed on an existing lawn and youll be the happiest gnomeowner on your block.
Spread Grass Seed Evenly Over The Area And Rake It To The Surface
Once everything is wet, you can now spread the grass seed evenly over the area and rake it so that it gets pushed down into the soil. This will help ensure that all of those seeds find their way underneath to where they need to go in order for them to take root and grow properly. It can be very helpful if there are several people involved in this step as it will allow you to speed up the process.
We have compiled some great tips to prepare your lawn for fall.
Now your new lawn is ready.
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Select A Proper Herbicide
Next, its time to select the proper weed treatment based on both weed classification and the stage in their life cycle. Pre-emergent herbicides tackle weed issues before they spring up. Post-emergent herbicides target established weeds.
Keep in mind that herbicides can kill whatever plant life they come into contact witheven if the label says otherwiseso handle with care. If your aim is to re-establish your lawn, as we recommend, killing your existing, thinning grass isnt a big deal, since you will need to start fresh anyway.
Water Your Lawn Regularly
Once everything is set, its time to start caring for your lawn. Direct sunlight is a good thing to have. But, youll also want to water regularly. Ideally, you want to water lightly when the seed is young. Once the grass gets to about an inch high, its time to increase the amount until they get to 3 inches tall.
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Select A Quality Grass Seed Product
When it comes time to overseed or reseed your lawn, you want to select a quality grass seed product. The best time to do this is in the early fall, before the first frost.
In order to make sure your lawn looks great all year long, its essential to choose a high-quality seed mix that will germinate quickly and fill in any bald spots.
There are many different types of grass seed available on the market, so be sure to do your research before purchasing. Some popular varieties include Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue.
Always use grasses suited for your climate and high-quality grass seed. If youre unsure which type of grass is best for your climate and soil type, consult with a local garden center or landscaper.
Analyze The Cause Of Barren Spots
Youll want to understand why you have barren spots. If its because of high traffic and pets, its probably pretty self-explanatory, so youll want to consider a turf seed known for handling high-traffic areas that can grow in your climate. However, if youre not sure why you have dead spots, you may need to take a soil sample to find out if there is a fungus, disease, or insect issue.
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Revive Your Lawn By Overseeding
Is your lawn looking thin and brown? Well, Scotts can help you get back to the thick, lush, green lawn you’ve always wanted and all you need to do is overseed. If you put down a layer of seed over your lawn in the spring or fall, the thin areas will thicken up, and your lawn will start to look terrific again.
Maintenance Fertilizer And Water
After seeding, its very important to keep the soil well maintained until the new grass has germinated and started to grow. For example, when youre done spreading the grass seed, go over the same area with a grass seed or new grass fertilizer. This will help your seed to get all the nutrients they need, and the further prepare the soil for when the seeds germinate and start to grow.
Additionally, you want to give your lawn a good, deep water right away after seeding and fertilizing. You also want to water every day after for up to six weeks. However, you dont want to overwater or underwater it the soil should feel moist for about an inch below the surface, but its important to not keep it too wet.
Different seeds have different germination times, so check out our post for more information about how long your grass will take to grow.
Finally, you shouldnt be walking on your newly-planted grass lawn if you can help it. Try setting up boundaries with string to remind yourself and your family that it is off limits for about the first six weeks, until it has grown full and lush.
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