Overseeding 101: Seed and Patch Your Lawn

Lynn Coulter
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If your lawn is looking worn or bare, it may be time to overseed. Overseeding simply means planting grass seeds into your existing turf. It’s a great way to grow a denser, greener, lusher lawn.

Overseeding also allows you to add a new type of grass to your lawn without taking out the old grass and starting from scratch. Homeowners in regions where the summers are hot and the winters are mild often overseed their Bermudagrass lawns, which go dormant and brown in the winter, with perennial ryegrass. The rye keeps their lawns green until spring. 

How to Overseed Your Lawn:

  • Choose a high-quality grass seed recommended for your climate and growing conditions. You’ll find seeds or blends for sun, shade, high traffic areas, and more.
  • Prep your planting area to help the seeds make good contact with the soil. First, mow the grass short. If you don’t have a grass catcher on your mower, use a grass rake to remove the clippings from your lawn.
  • If the ground is hard and compacted, aerate your lawn to help moisture penetrate.  
  • Use a spreader to distribute the seeds. If you’re overseeding, you’ll need about half as much seed as you’d use to start a new lawn.
  • It’s a good idea to apply a grass seed starter fertilizer to encourage strong roots to develop and get the seedlings off to a good start.
  • After spreading the seeds, water them in thoroughly, but be careful not to wash them away.
  • Keep the seeds watered for the first two weeks, if there’s not enough rain, so they don’t dry out.

 

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How to Patch Bare Spots in Your Lawn:

Bare spots in your lawn are caused by foot traffic, compacted soil, drought, rocky soil, shade, grubs, and more. For best results, identify and correct the problem before you patch your grass. Re-route the pets and people walking on your grass, for example, or treat for pests or diseases.

  • The best time to patch your lawn is in the fall or spring, when the temperature ranges from 61 to 70 degrees F. Begin by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil. Remove any dead grass, rocks, sticks, or weeds. Then spread Scotts Turf Builder EZ Seed evenly over the ground. Make sure you can still see the bare ground under the seeds. If you seed too heavily, the emerging seedlings won’t get enough water and nutrients.
  • Now water deeply and thoroughly; proper watering is the key to success. Scotts Turf Builder EZ Seed contains super absorbent materials that expand and surround the seeds as they grow, preventing them from drying out. Keep watering until the seeds are saturated and no more water is being absorbed.
  • Water daily, or as often as needed to keep the soil moist, until the seedlings are at least 2″ tall. EZ Seed also contains premium continuous release lawn food, so the seedlings will be fed as they grow.

 

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