Regular maintenance, soil nutrition upkeep, and constant mowing help you keep your lawn green and lush. However, even after doing all these, there are times when you will notice parts of your lawn thinning out or looking a little worn out. What then do you do at that point?
The grass on your lawn determines the aesthetics of your backyard. For this reason, you may want to choose the right grass to maintain an all-green, lush and plentiful lawn. The weather, however, is dynamic, and the seasons keep changing throughout the year. This means that there are times when your lawn can maintain a green healthy look, particularly during winter and autumn, while there are times when the grass on your lawn loses its lush and green look, particularly during the summer or spring. During certain times in the summer, you may find some parts thinning out, and when this happens, your yard is left with bald spots that disrupt its aesthetic fabric.
This would mean the need to grow new grass, but starting over is quite the task. Bearing this in mind, the best thing to do when your lawn begins to thin out is to plant more seeds on your already existing lawn. Overseeding simply ensures that your green goes back to looking green and plush. In this write-up, we will look further into overseeding is, when, and how you should do it.
What are the main factors to consider before overseeding your lawn?
While overseeding rescues your lawn from looking like a wreck, there are a few significant factors that you need to consider for the process to be successful. First things first, different grass seeds exist in the industry. Some are specifically designed for overseeding, but you are better off working with the grass type you already have on your lawn for better results. If you had any leftover seeds, now would be the best time to use them up. However, if you use leftover seeds you risk facing issues such as stunted growth. This is often because some of them may have stayed for too long and lost their freshness. To avoid such trouble, you may want to purchase new seeds.
Also, you need to carefully examine your lawn to establish the main reason for thinning grass, lawn discoloration, and bald spots before overseeding. The brown spots could be caused by fungi infesting your lawn, poor soil condition, or less sunlight reaching the grass on your lawn. When you address these problems before overseeding, you get to prevent balding and thinning issues on your lawn in the long run. This way, you won’t have to regularly overseed your lawn.
When is the best time to overseed your lawn?
In general, you need to maintain your lawn regularly for a better success rate. While overseeding counts as part of regular maintenance, you cannot just overseed at any time of the year. Most farmers recommend overseeding during early fall or early spring. However, this timeline depends on the type of grass you have chosen to grow on your lawn.
If your lawn has cool-season grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Fine Fescue, Bentgrass, and Perennial Ryegrass, then you should start the overseeding process in early fall. However, if you have warm-season grasses such as Centipede, Bermuda, and Zoysia grass on your lawn, then you should start overseeding during early spring.
When overseeding, ensure that your grass seeds are well exposed to sunlight at all times throughout the day. This significantly encourages germination and photosynthesis hence a better success rate.
How do you plant grass seed on your already existing lawn?
Once you have cleared out fungi and other weeds from your lawn and are sure that your soil is ready for replanting, the step-by-step process below should help you go through the overseeding process successfully;
Step One: Prepare your lawn before sowing the grass seeds
The preparation process is the most crucial step when it comes to overseeding because it determines the success rate of the grass seeds you spread over your lawn. The first thing you need to do is ensure that the grass on your lawn is no longer than two inches tall. If it is, you will have to mow your lawn until the grass is short enough for overseeding. Your grass should be short; so that the grass seeds can be in direct contact with the soil.
After moving, you should rake the grass clippings and get rid of them before watering the lawn. Watering the lawn is beneficial as it ensures soil aeration. When your soil is watery enough, the overseeding process becomes more seamless, and your grass seeds will get enough air, water, and nutrients during germination.
Step Two: Fertilize the soil on your lawn
If you want your grass seeds to germinate and grow healthily, then you should fertilize your lawn before spreading the seeds over it. The fertilizer you use on your lawn greatly depends on the condition of the soil. If your soil is healthy, then a natural fertilizer would work pretty well, or a fertilizer that is rich in phosphorus would suffice. On the contrary, if your soil is in poor condition, you would need to restore it by using a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. Once you have applied fertilizer on your lawn, use the back of a leaf rake to ensure that it is mixed with the soil. Ensure to follow through with the manufacturer’s set of instructions when applying any phosphorus-based, nitrogen-based or commercial fertilizers to your lawn.
Alternatively, you can apply a very thin layer of compost over your lawn to help your seeds and already existing grass grow faster. Too much compost, on the other hand, may result in stunted growth of your grass. In this case, you should learn more about applying compost to your lawn before relying on this option. Once you have applied compost on your lawn, you can use a thatch rake to spread it evenly across your lawn.
Step Three: Spread and Plant your grass seeds over your lawn
Now that you have prepared your lawn and fertilized it, the last thing is to plant the grass seeds. To plant the seeds, use a rotary spreader or manually spread the seeds using your hands. As you go about this process, ensure that you spread the seeds evenly across the main areas of focus and that they are in direct contact with the soil.
Once the seeds are all over the focus parts on your lawn, the next thing is to rake those parts lightly so that the seeds that weren’t in contact with the soil can settle over the soil. After you are done, water the lawn. During the first few days of overseeding, you need to water your lawn about three to four times a day until the germination process. While doing so, always remember that too much water can kill the seedlings, so you want to be very careful.
When the seeds begin to sprout, reduce the number of times you water your lawn for better results. Even so, ensure that the seeds never dry out.
How do you care for your lawn after overseeding?
To successfully maintain your lawn, you should mow it regularly, fertilize it frequently, and water it properly, whether you are growing it from scratch or overseeding it. When your grass seeds are fully established, you can reduce the number of times you water your lawn to once a day.
When weeds begin to grow around the overseeding area, you need to pluck them out immediately before they start to compete with the seedlings for nutrients, water, and air. When spring comes along, you should fertilize your lawn and apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer six weeks after germination. As you do this, be careful not to overfertilize your lawn to prevent grass burns and any other damages to your lawn.
What happens if you plant too many seeds over the already existing grass on your lawn?
More often than not, we are quick to assume that planting too many seeds over bald spots on our lawn is equal to a faster success rate and a lusher look. However, this isn’t the case. When reseeding or overseeding your lawn, planting too many seeds can tamper with the germination process.
When too many seeds are concentrated in the same area, they begin to compete for nutrients, air, and water. Crowded grass seeds not only discourage healthy growth but also encourage pests and diseases that may have long-term effects on your lawn. As they grow, they shade each other from the sun, and eventually, you are back to a million thinning spots over your lawn, and you have to start overseeding again.
To prevent this, try to remember that grass seeds need enough space to breathe and enough nutrients to grow steadily and give your lawn a lush look. So, spread just enough over the bald spot on your lawn for better results.
It is normal for grass to grow old and require replacement at one point when growing your lawn. While replacing the entire lawn and growing it from scratch seems a good idea, overseeding is a more economical and less time-consuming option.