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Just like topdressing and scarifying, overseeding the lawn can be often overlooked, and even forgotten about, by the average gardener. This is a huge mistake, overseeding benefits your garden in many ways and the consequences for not doing so can be quite hefty.
It’s a very simple process to follow but if not done properly then you can get some unsightly side-effects. To make sure you stay clear of any lawn diseases, weeds and moss, keep reading on for all my lawn overseeding tips and advice.
Why Exactly Should You Overseed?
Not only will you reduce the amount of weeds moss that invade your lawn, like I said above, but you’ll also see improvements in the colour of the grass and it’ll help fill in bare patches. When you add new seeds to the lawn that blends with the existing one, improves the grasses density and quality. This thickened grass eventually thickens so much that all bare patches are filled and no weeds can break through to grow.
It’s because of this that makes overseeding ideal, actually a better word would be necessary, for gardens with limited sunlight and poor soil problems as they are most likely to suffer from bare patches and resultant weed problems.
Which Kind of Seed Should I Use?
Now this is probably the most important part of the process as choosing the incorrect type of seed could really screw up the look of your garden. The decision really depends on your goals for the lawn: whether or not you want the look to change. Both are definitely possible but you can’t just fling down any old seed and expect to get what you want – although if you’re are repairing bare patches then you’ll need to use the same seed.
As long as the new seed BLENDS with the existing one then you’re good to go. Of course to pick the correct type of new seed you’re going to need to know which kind of grass grows in your garden, if you don’t already know then you’ll need to get on your hands and knees and have a look.
If you’ve got grass with blades that look like bristles then you probably have a non-rye grass and so need a fescue mixture, and if you have grass with mostly flat leaves then you probably a rye grass and so need a rye mixture.
The Overseeding Process
- Before you even get to seeding you want to bring your grass height down about an inch and remove all grass clippings. This helps the seed get in better contact with the soil and germinate.
- To promote even better contact with the soil you should also aerate the lawn, giving the seeds a little place to nestle inside the soil. Once done spread a little compost over the lawn, this provides some nutrients to the germinating seeds.
- If you haven’t fed the lawn for 3 to 4 weeks before you plan to overseed then apply a fertiliser.
- To help the lawn return to a dense turf as quickly as possible before overseeding, make sure you scarify before applying.
- To make sure you don’t over-use the seed and that you spread evenly, split the seed up into 4 lots.
- Either using your hand or a spreader, spread the seed into the different areas of your lawn, working in opposite directions to ensure an even coverage. Also if you want to be super cautious when applying the seed with a spreader, so that you don’t overdo it, you can use half the recommended rate on the bag – although this may take longer as you’ll have to make more trips back and forth.
- Now even after taking all the precautions above, there can still be some seed left sticking to the grass. So what you do is get the back of a rake or brush and sweep it across the lawn to knock the seed off the grass.
- With either a roller or by treading up and down the lawn, roll over the lawn to make for better contact between the soil and seed.
- If you didn’t do so before you can do so now or after the seeds have germinated, applying a fertiliser helps keep the seeds nice and moist. Just make sure you use one that satisfies the old and new seed.
- If it doesn’t rain after you overseed then make sure you water the lawn yourself, this helps keep the seed from drying out but don’t use too much otherwise you could wash it away. Start 2 or 3 days after sowing and water 3 to 4 times every day for a couple of weeks.
- Now that you’ve finished overseeding try to limit your use for the next 7 to 21 days.
You can go back to mowing but reduce the amount stress you’re putting on the new grass by mowing at least every week. For the initial 2 to 3 cuts raise the cutting height to or just above 2 inches, and never remove any more than a 1/3 off the lawn overall and never more than a 1/4 for new grass. For the next two or so months makes you aren’t cutting the grass lower than an inch and try to get it between 1.5 and 2 inches.
How Much Seed Should You Use?
There are quite a few factors you are going to need to consider before deciding on how much seed to apply. It really depends on your situation so I’ll run through eveything you need to think about.
Repairing damaged areas
For bare patches you don’t want to use too much seed as you can get some random overgrown areas of turf later on the year. To prevent this I would stick to 20 to 30 seeds per sq. inch
If you want to mow the lawn as short as possible then I suggest you apply the seed at a rate 20 – 30% higher than that of the recommended range found on the bag.
New lawn or turf
If you’ve got a lawn without any weeds then you can lower the seeding rate to about half the recommend rate, however the lawn will take longer to establish and thicken. On the other hand if you haven’t carried out any weed prevention then go about 20% above the recommended range.
Place & Timing
If you need your lawn to be ready in a quick period of time then increase your seeding rate by 20 to 50% above the recommended range. Also if you lawn is stationed in less than ideal conditions (cold and dry) then you can increase your seeding rate up to 100% above the recommended rate. But be weary, seeds won’t germinate in temperatures less than 8°C.
A good average rate to use is somewhere between 35 – 50 grams per m², just make sure you consider above before deciding as it really depends on the conditions of your lawn and soil. If you’re just trying to improve the colour of the grass then 35 grams per sq. m² is good, but if you’re just trying to touch up some bare patches then go for 50 grams or more per sq. m².
If you found this post interesting then maybe you’d like to see some of my other content, like my robomower reviews? If so then head over to my Robot Lawn Mower Review Page, I’ve reviewed various models all designed for different purposes so if you’re in the market there won’t be a better place to go than here!