Whether you want to fill in a few bare spots or your lawn needs a brand new start, reseeding can help you get the lawn you are after. The process involves a whole lot more than sprinkling seeds and hoping they grow. Follow these tips to reseed lawn surfaces successfully.
Are Reseeding and Overseeding the Same Thing?
The terms reseeding and overseeding have different meanings, but they are often used interchangeably.
When you reseed your lawn, you are basically stripping it down to bare soil and starting over. You must first take steps to kill the existing grass, weeds, or other plants that are growing where you will seed your new lawn.
Then the soil must be prepared, supplemented with conditioners and fertilizers, and finally seeded. The seeds should be covered with a natural material that will protect them from rainfall and animals but also break down on its own over time.
This process creates an entirely new lawn. A true reseeding project takes time and effort, and it can be costly. It is an excellent way to get a fresh start if your lawn is in very bad condition, your soil needs improvement, or you want to change grass types.
If you have bare spots on your lawn or you simply want to increase its thick, lush texture, you will perform overseeding. In the case of bare spots, this involves preparing small, bare patches by dethatching and raking them, and then adding a seed mixture to the spaces.
For lawns that just need a little boost, overseeding can increase the amount of grass and improve the appearance and texture of the lawn surfaces. It involves applying grass seed over an already established lawn.
When most people say they want to reseed lawns, they are actually referring to overseeding. For that reason, it will be referred to as reseeding from here on out.
Why You Should Reseed Your Lawn Regularly
Reseeding offers multiple benefits to your grass. It can help you maintain healthy and thriving soil that promotes a beautiful lawn. If the appearance of your lawn is important to you, then adding new, healthy plants is a definite must. The new seeds replace older plants as they die out each year so that your lawn does not appear thin and sickly.
Reseeding also helps you to stay on top of routine lawn maintenance tasks like raking, dethatching, aerating, and fertilizing. Their roots help break up compacted soil, allowing water to penetrate easier. At the same time, healthy grass plants crowd out weeds, so they have a harder time taking root.
Increasing the amount of grass in your lawn goes beyond esthetics. Consider these key benefits you will see when you reseed your lawn each year:
- Thick, lush lawns require less water
- Weeds struggle to take hold in healthy lawns
- A good lawn inspires you to perform routine maintenance, such as dethatching
5 Tips for Reseeding Success
Now that you understand why you should reseed your lawn, you want to make sure you do it right. Following these tips can help you achieve the beautifully lush, green lawn your neighbors will be envious of.
1. Timing Matters: the Best Season for Reseeding
Most experts agree that the best time to reseed your lawn is in the early to mid-fall. You want to make sure seeds will have a chance to germinate and establish themselves before a hard frost, so plan according to where you live. Once you get in the habit of reseeding on a regular basis, it will become part of your normal annual lawn care routine.
This doesn’t mean you are locked into a fall reseeding plan. In fact, the best time to reseed will depend on your location. Southern lawns can be sown in the spring once the ground has thawed. If you are simply trying to cover bare spots, you can do that as they appear throughout the growing season.
If you decide to apply seeds during a particularly hot spell, be careful to ensure they receive enough water. Covering seeded areas with a light straw mulch may help the ground from drying out.
2. Preparation Is Key to Success
You can apply all the seeds you want, but if the ground isn’t properly prepared, they just won’t grow. If they do sprout, they won’t have a healthy root system that helps them withstand disease and drought.
You’ll want to, first, dethatch the areas that will be getting seeds applied to them. This is done with a dethatching rake or tractor attachment. This has thick tines that scrape up compacted dead grass, clippings, and other organic matter from the ground surfaces.
You should also consider having the surfaces aerated prior to planting. Plug aeration is generally considered better than the spike method. It uses a special tool to remove small plugs of soil. This helps break up hard, compacted soil, allows better water penetration, and helps new seedlings establish their roots deeper into the soil.
3. Pick the Right Seeds for Your Yard
Now that you are ready to apply seeds, you need to find the right ones for your climate, the amount of sun your lawn receives, and how much wear and tear it will experience. Resist the urge to save money on cheap seeds. Quality matters here, and you want the freshest, healthiest seeds available.
Warm-season grasses do best in southern climates. They stay green throughout warmer weather, but they will turn yellow or brown in cooler seasons. Some common options include Bermuda or St. Augustine grasses.
Fescues, Kentucky Blue-grass, and perennial ryegrasses are cool-season grasses. They thrive in cooler climates, where they will grow most throughout the spring and fall. Growth will slow in hot summer months. Cool-season grasses often do well in shaded lawns.
Some grasses are better suited to being trampled. Kentucky Blue-grass is an excellent choice if you have kids or pets that will be running and playing on the lawn. On the other hand, fescues tend to be more delicate and won’t handle the abuse well.
4. Spread Seeds Evenly
Once you have decided on the right seeds for your yard, you’ll want to spread them over the soil. They should be applied evenly at the rate designated by the manufacturer. Some seeds require thicker sowing than others, so be sure to check the package or insert.
Hand-held spreaders are great for little jobs, but, unless you are covering a very small area, you will want to use a rolling spreader to help with this task.
5. Give It Plenty of Water
Your new grass seeds need some attention to grow into a beautiful lawn. In general, you should plan on keeping the soil slightly moist for the first couple of weeks after seeding. That can be a challenge if you experience very hot or dry weather. Make the effort, though, or your seeds will not be able to establish themselves and grow into healthy grass plants.
Make Sure Your Lawn Has What It Needs
Overseeding your lawn is a project that can be done by homeowners. You should be prepared to spend a couple of weekends in preparation and application. Be sure you keep on top of the area’s water needs as seeds emerge and develop their root systems.
We Reseed Lawns
If you are unsure where to start, we can help. Contact Weed-A-Way today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and professional lawn care staff. We can inspect your lawn, assess its needs, and help develop a reseeding plan tailored to your lawn’s unique needs.