Guide To Lawn Overseeding

Guide To Lawn Overseeding

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While you’ve probably heard about seeding your lawn, you might be wondering what on earth overseeding means.

It’s actually a technique that you’ll want to try on your lawn after learning more about it, so let’s get right into what it?s all about.

How is overseeding defined?

Overseeding is planting grass directly into the turf you already have, instead of having to pluck up the soil or the existing turf.

Based on that definition, it’s clear to see that overseeding makes it much easier to get a more beautiful green lawn without having to start from scratch.

There’s still lots more you need to know about it, though, so let’s start with when it’s actually necessary for you to overseed your lawn and move on to how to overseed.

When Should You Overseed Your Lawn?

Overseeding Lawn

Overseeding your lawn has many benefits. It’s an easy and simple way to clear up any dull spots in your grass while making it look greener all over.

That said, you have to know when your lawn should be overseeded.

The general guideline is that if your lawn looks like it has bare patches or you have to work really hard to keep it in good shapes, such as by treating various diseases that strike it or by pumping it with fertilizer, then overseeding can be a good way to give your lawn a makeover so it can start afresh.

Step-By-Step Guide To Overseeding

There are many ways in which you can overseed your lawn.

Here are some steps to try if you feel your lawn could do with a makeover.

Step One: Treat Any Underlying Conditions

Cutting Weed In Grass

If you’re overseeding your lawn because it has thinned out a lot, it’s crucial that you first discover why this has happened before you go ahead and overseed your lawn.

Otherwise, what could happen is that you grow new grass on top of your current lawn and it ends up having the same problems.

Some common problems for thinning areas include insect infestations, poor maintenance, or extreme heat.

Treat these and then you can move on to overseeding your lawn.

Step Two: Mow Your Lawn

Once you have dealt with any problems your lawn is experiencing, you will have to mow your lawn.

This prepares the lawn for overseeding.

Ensure that you cut your grass shorter than usual and remove any grass clippings.

This enables the seeds you place on the lawn to get the nutrients, sunlight, and water that they need to survive instead of being obstructed by tall grass or trimmings.

Step Three: Rake Your Lawn

Raking Lawn

It’s not enough to clean up yard trimmings.

It is also a good idea to rake your lawn so that you pull up thatch – decomposing matter that can compete with grass for nutrients – from underneath the ground surface.

This ensures that more of the soil is exposed so that the seeds can be deposited in it.

To test if your lawn has too much thatch, dig out a bit of turf and see if there’s a large amount of brown matter in it.

This is thatch.

If it covers a large section of the sample, then it’s worth dethatching your lawn. You can do this with a dethatching rake.

Step Four: Aerate Your Soil

Aerating your soil is important because it frees up space so that more oxygen, water, and nutrients (such as through fertilizer) can reach the grass seeds much easier.

You can use an aerator to do this or aerate your soil yourself.

Put a small shovel a few inches into the soil and pull up soil plugs that create blockages.

Step Five: Test Your Soil pH

Testing Soil pH

While you might not think overseeding your lawn requires a soil test, the truth is that it can make your job easier by ensuring that the soil is in the healthiest condition it can be to grow healthy seeds.

So, with a pH test from the hardware store, test your soil. You want to ensure that it’s not too acidic or alkaline.

Generally, the ideal pH level for soil is between 6.0 and 6.8.

Step Six: Top-Dress Your Soil

What does it mean to top-dress your soil?

It basically refers to the process of adding compostable material to the top of the lawn so.

It allows new seeds to germinate by giving them the nutrients they require to have a healthy start.

Although you might think “more is better” when it comes to compost, you shouldn’t put down too much.

Your layer of compost needs to be very thin because if you put down too much it can suffocate the lawn’s existing grass.

The best way to ensure even distribution of compost is to use a rake.

Step Seven: Fertilize Your Lawn

Fertilizing Lawn

The new grass seedlings require a lot of nutrients to grow.

That’s where fertilizer comes in, so make sure you fertilize the ground just before you overseed your lawn.

The best fertilizer to use is a slow-release nitrogen product because it won’t give the grass too much nitrogen in a hurry.

This has many benefits: it’s less likely that it will burn the grass, and slow-release nitrogen fertilizer lasts up to two months so you don’t have to reapply it like you would with quick-release nitrogen alternatives.

Step Eight: Use A Spreader

Now you’re ready to seed your lawn, you should invest in a seed spreader.

Although you can throw seeds into the soil by hand, this is only useful for really small areas because this technique doesn’t allow you to get an even distribution of seeds all over your lawn.

You can find various types of spreader machines, such as ones that you hold in your hand and turn a handle to release seeds from it, or ones that you attach to your tractor so that it will release seeds while you drive the tractor around your lawn.

There are also different types of spreaders to know about, the two main ones being broadcast spreaders and drop spreaders.

Broadcast spreaders work by giving you an even spread of seed in larger areas, while drop spreaders offer a more accurate application of seeds in certain areas.

Handheld spreaders are best for smaller gardens, and they don’t cost much to purchase.

How spreaders generally work, irrespective of the type is by containing what’s known as a hopper.

Basically, you put the seed into this container and regulate how much product you want to be released.

Do You Need To Rake The Lawn After Overseeding?

Lawn Rake

Once you have applied the seeds to the thinning grass, you might wonder if you need to rake the ground again.

It’s actually not something you need to do because the seeds that you’ve planted only need to move between the current blades of grass in order to germinate successfully, as SF Gate reports.

However, if you are trying to bring life to bare soil patches in the garden, then you should rake the seeds.

This ensures that the topsoil will adequately cover the grass seeds you’ve applied and allowed them to grow healthier.

Should You Remove Weeds Before Overseeding?

If you have a lot of weeds in your lawn, you should definitely remove them before you overseed your lawn.

Otherwise, the weeds that are there will compete with the new seeds that have been planted for oxygen, nutrients, and oxygen.

You can remove the weeds by pulling them out of the soil, but make sure you remove their roots otherwise they will regrow.

Be careful if you’re killing weeds with the use of chemicals.

If you want to use a weed killer, you will have to wait at least two or three weeks before you overseed your lawn, otherwise, the chemicals in the weed killer can kill them.

Can You Overseed Your Lawn Without Aerating It?

Aeration Machine

If you want to skip the step of aerating your soil, you can still proceed with overseeding it.

To do this, you’ll still have to mow your lawn and rake away debris from the surface of the ground as well as thatch.

Then you will apply the seeds, such as with a broadcast spreader, as outlined earlier in this article.

The best time to overseed your lawn, in this case, is before the first frost.

That ensures that by next season, you’ll have healthy grass.

Other Tips For Overseeding Your Lawn

Use The Same Grass

It’s not a good idea to use other types of grass as these might not work with the climate or they could look strange when grown alongside your current grass.

However, there are times when you can add other grass types to your current variety to improve the overall health of your lawn.

For example, if your current grass has been thinning due to drought conditions, then bringing in a type of grass that will be more resistant to drought and extreme heat will help to increase the overall health of your lawn.

Some professional seed blends that you purchase will combine two kinds of grass together, such as bluegrass and tall fescue grass seeds, but this is because they know what kinds of grasses work well together.

The reason for this is because they’re similar in size and look the same, which will give you an even, uniform lawn, as Lawn Care Academy reports.

Follow The Correct Seeding Pattern

Woman Seeding

When applying seeds, make sure that you walk in a straight line in the perimeter of the lawn if you’re using a handheld or chest-mounted spreader.

Go back and forth until you’ve placed seeds everywhere and try not to overlap them, as Hunker reports.

Once you’ve gone all around your lawn, you should add more seeds to your spreader and then move in the opposite direction.

This ensures that you don’t leave any bare spots in your lawn.

How To Look After An Overseeded Lawn

You might think that once you’ve overseeded your lawn your work is done, but that’s not the case.

You have to care for your lawn to ensure that your overseeding strategy will be successful.

This is especially important because new grass seeds will start to emerge from the ground within a week after they’ve been seeded.

  • As soon as your overseeding process is complete, soak the grass with water. Then, water your grass on a daily basis for the next two weeks. Once the seeds germinate, you can water your grass less regularly but always make sure you give your grass deep watering sessions, focusing on giving your grass one inch of water (or 30 minutes of watering) three times a week.
  • Don’t mow your grass too quick. You need to give your new seeds a chance to germinate and grow before you take out the lawnmower and cut your grass. Wait at least two to four weeks after overseeding your lawn before you go ahead and mow the lawn so that you don’t disrupt the seeds you’ve planted.

Lawn Overseeding Mistakes To Avoid

To ensure success with your overseeding, you should avoid making the following mistakes as they will save you time and money.

Don’t Use Lime Too Quickly

Seeds In Hands

One of the biggest mistakes that gardeners make is thinking that lime is something necessary that needs to be applied to their lawn, but using too much or using it too regularly can cause it to be damaging to the lawn.

Lime is only meant to adjust your soil pH if it’s too low and needs to be increased.

So, it’s important to test your soil pH before you make adjustments to it.

You Use Too Many Or Too Few Seeds

As a general guideline, if you’re seeding a new lawn or repairing bare spots in it, you’ll need double the quantity of seeds that are used for overseeding in thin areas.

You can find out how much you need to seed your lawn by reading grass seed labels.

If you use too much seed, you create seeds to compete with each other for nutrients and this can make them die off.

If you only apply a small number of seeds, this can leave bare patches in your lawn.

You Treat Weeds While Overseeding

It can be tempting to want to kill two birds with one stone by treating your weed-infested lawn at the same time as you overseed it, but this is a bad idea.

Weed treatments are powerful and they actually prevent seeds from setting roots into the soil.

The danger when overseeding is that these synthetic products don’t discriminate – they will kill weed seeds as well as grass seed that you want to grow.

You Aerate The Soil When It’s Dry

Man Aerating The Lawn

This can make your job much more difficult than it has to be!

Aerating your lawn when it’s a bit moist is the best idea because the process will get done faster and more effectively.

In addition, if your grass is dry or there’s been a drought, aerating your lawn at this time can cause more strain to the grass.

Related Questions

When is the best time of year to overseed your lawn?

During the early fall or late summer should be when you overseed. This is because soil and temperatures during these periods will encourage seeds to germinate and grow. It also ensures that new seedlings will be strong enough for the cooler weather to arrive.

Do you always have to remove weeds before overseeding your lawn?

You can overseed your lawn even if it has weeds – as long as the weeds and dead spots on the lawn only cover 40 percent or less of it, as SFGate reports. To make your job easier, overseed your lawn during late fall and early summer when weeds haven’t released seeds yet.

Can you sprinkle grass seeds instead of preparing the soil?

Although it might seem convenient to do this, it won’t give you the results you want. This is because the soil could be compacted so when it rains all the seeds will accumulate into certain areas and leave thin or bald spots on your lawn.


Overseeding your lawn can be highly beneficial for it.

It’s sort of like a makeover that breathes new life into it, and now you know that it doesn’t have to be a complicated or difficult process.

By following the steps outlined in this garden, you can easily overseed your lawn.

In addition, we’ve also featured some important information you need to know about the overseeding process as well as how to maintain your lawn after you have planted new seeds.

Last Updated on August 20, 2022 by Gustaf Johansson

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