Best Tips For Overseeding Your Lawn

Best Tips For Overseeding Your Lawn

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Just like topdressing and scarifying, overseeding the lawn can be often overlooked, and even forgotten about, by many gardeners. This is a huge mistake, overseeding benefits your lawn in many ways and the consequences of not doing so can be quite hefty.

To overseed successfully is 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 as I will be sharing all my lawn overseeding tips and advice.

Why Exactly Should You Overseed

Not only will you reduce the amount of weeds and 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 any bare patches. When you add new seeds to the lawn that blends with the existing one, it 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. Not to mention the lovely, lush and healthy looking lawn.

Lawn Overseeding TipsThese are the main reasons that make overseeding ideal, actually a better word would be necessary, for gardens with limited sunlight and poor soil, as they are most likely to suffer from bare patches and resultant weed issues.

Which Kind of Seed Should You Use

Now this is probably the most important part of the process as choosing the incorrect type of seed could really compromise the look of your lawn. The decision really depends on your goals for the lawn: what the lawn is used for (ornamental, hard wearing for pets and children or shady lawn) and 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 achieve the desired results. If you’re are repairing bare patches then you’ll need to use the same seed. So it is a good idea to have a spare bag of grass seed in your shed or garage for future jobs.

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 have a rye grass and so need a rye mixture.

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The Overseeding Process

Before Overseeding

  • Before you even get to seeding you want to reduce your grass height down to about 2.5cm and remove all grass clippings. This helps the seed to 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. Organic fertiliser is better for your lawn than chemical.
  • To help the lawn return to a dense turf as quickly as possible before overseeding, make sure you scarify before applying.
  • If you are overseeding small bare patches, it would be good to know if they have appeared due to your dog’s urine. If so you may want to read my article providing tips on Lawn care for owners with dogs.

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The Process

The Overseeding Process

  1. To make sure you don’t over-use the seed and that you spread evenly, split the seed up into 5 equal lots (use one for the edges and the remaining 4 for the main body of the lawn).
  2. Either using your hand or a lawn spreader, spread the seed into the different areas of your lawn, working in opposite directions to ensure an even coverage. A lawn spreader will provide much more accurate results, also remember that a lawn spreader is not only used for spreading grass seed, but also sand, lime, fertiliser etc, so if you do not have one you may want to consider purchasing one and using it as part of your annual maintenance schedule. Just ensure you look out for one with an adjustable rate of spreading to ensure you achieve the desired results.
  3. 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.
  4. With either a roller (filled with sand or water) or by treading up and down the lawn, roll over the lawn to make for better contact between the soil and seed. If you have a mower with a roller you can use this too.
  5. If you didn’t do so before, you can apply fertiliser now or after the seeds have germinated. Applying a fertiliser helps keep the seeds nice and moist and promotes their growth. Just make sure you use a fertiliser that satisfies the old lawn and new seed.
  6. If it doesn’t rain after you overseed then make sure you water the lawn yourself, this helps to keep the seed from drying out, but don’t use too much water otherwise you could wash it away. Start watering strait after sowing on day 1 and water 3 times every day for a couple of weeks. If you use a sprinkler keep it in one place for about 5 minutes and then move it to another area.
  7. Now that you’ve finished overseeding try to limit your lawn use for the next 7 to 21 days (especially from heavy traffic/usage).
  8. You can go back to mowing after about 10 – 14 days, but reduce the amount of stress you’re putting on the new grass by mowing once per week. For the initial 2 to 3 cuts raise the cutting height to or just above 5cm, and never remove any more than a 1/3 off the lawn overall height. For the next two or so months make sure you aren’t cutting the grass lower than 3cm.

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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 everything you need to consider.

Repairing Damaged Areas

How to Sow Grass Seed FAQ

For bare patches you don’t want to use too much seed as you can get some random overgrown areas of lawn later in the year. To prevent this I would stick to 25 to 30g of grass seeds per square metre. If you are overseeding an existing lawn using 15 to 25g of grass seed will be sufficient.

Mowing Height

If you want to mow the lawn as short as possible, then I suggest you apply the seed at a rate of 20% 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, address the issue and 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 your lawn is stationed in less than ideal conditions (cold and dry) then you can increase your seeding rate up to 80% 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 30 to 40 grams per square metre, just make sure you consider the points 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 around 15 to 25 grams per square metre is good, but if you’re just trying to touch up some bare patches then go for around 40 grams or more per square metre.

Tools For The Job

Having the right lawn mower with a sharp blade is also very important to ensure your lawn is healthy and happy. Many gardeners and professionals are now using mulching mowers. Yes, there are many advantages in using mulching mowers, to learn more and to view the best mowers I have tested click on this link – Best Mulching Lawn Mowers.


4 thoughts on “Best Tips For Overseeding Your Lawn

  1. I’ve never heard about the importance of overseeding. I might have ruined some gardens if I hadn’t read your article. You kinda saved my grass, so I’m grateful to you))

    As you said, place and timing are important factors. Can you advise me some spreading machine?? I’m not so good at equally spreading.

    1. Great to hear Tyler, so pleased the article has helped with your lawn care requirements. In terms of lawn spreaders, great questions I have now included the best selling products in the article for your convenience. If you have any further questions let me know.

  2. Hey there, this is the first time I’ve seen this site and glad I did to see what its about. Nice benefits brought out there for the practice of seeding. I see that the importance of that, I will now keep in mind for my future lawn, for ownership of my place of dwelling for the beauty of it as well as keeping away from lawn disease.

    1. Great! I’m glad you see the benefits and are willing to start implementing it to your own lawn. I’m sure you’ll love the results ;-)

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