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Overseeding a Lawn

GreenWorks offers aeration and overseeding done the right way. Overseeding is an investment that is often wasted because the problems that triggered the need to overseed were not addressed or the overseeding was done incorrectly.  If you live in Western New Haven or Eastern Fairfield County CT give us a call to discuss your overseeding options and ways to make sure that the new seed is given the best chance for long term health.

Should you overseed if you see bare spots?

If you notice bare spots in your lawn, what is your first thought. If you are like many people it is to fill those bare spots back in with new grass seed.  This is a very good first step but it is unlikely to solve the problem long term.

Bare spots in a lawn are usually a sign of a systemic problem such as insect damage or nutrient deficiencies.  If you overseed without addressing these issues your lawn will quickly revert back to this problematic state. A lawn that has bare spots should be thoroughly inspected and the soil should be analyzed.  This will give you the best opportunity to make sure your investment in overseeding isn’t wasted.

The proper way to overseed an existing lawn

There are a number of factors to consider when overseeding a lawn including weather, moisture, which machinery to use and what type of seed to put down.

The first step is to decide how you are going to make good soil/seed contact.  In most circumstances just broadcasting the seed over the area without agitating the soil will produce very poor results.  You do not need to agitate the soil when overseeding newly placed topsoil, but for overseeding existing lawns it is very important.  Small areas can be done by hand with a dethatching rake or a regular metal rake.  Larger areas require some sort of machinery. There are a few options for machinery and  there are different reasons to use different machinery over others but aerating before overseeding usually ends up being the most effective and cost efficient choice.

Plan for the weather.  Rain can positively or negatively impact your newly seeded lawn. Keep an eye on the weather and time your seeding for the best possible results. A very heavy rain after overseeding can wash away your seed and all your hard work, but a light rain after overseeding can add needed moisture to the germinating seeds if they’re not already being irrigated.

Water your lawn on a regular basis if possible. If you can not water the area yourself then overseeding in the spring or fall will give you the best opportunity for cool wet weather, which is good for germinating grass seed.

What Type of Seed to Choose

Every grass seed mixture is slightly different.  For overseeding purposes choose a mix that is intended for perennial residential lawns. Do not choose sports turf, contractor mixes, meadow mixes or anything that isn’t specifically for perennial lawns in your climate. Watch out for mixes that contain undesirable seeds such as tall fescue, annual grass or zoysia grass, these grasses have their place but often do not work well in residential lawns in our area.  At GreenWorks we generally prefer to use mixes that contain fescues, perennial rye, and a high percentage of kentucky blue grass. kentucky blue grass is one of the most desirable looking species for lawns, seed mixes with a high percentage of kentucky blue grass will usually cost more.

Secure Long Term Health for Your New Seed

As mentioned above, before you begin get a soil analysis done to determine the current state of the soil. When you get your soil analysis report back you will be able to determine what nutrient deficiencies may be present in the lawn and what type of soil amendments to add so that your seed remains healthy.  Also check for lawn pests such as grubs and plan for treatment to make sure that your new seed does not get damaged.  Adding starter fertilizer at the time of overseeding will give the soil additional nutrients for a few months while the seeds are germinating but the only way to know if nutrients are needed long term is to get that soil analysis done.

Taking all these factors into account will give you the best chance of having your newly overseeded lawn grow into a healthy dense lawn that can be enjoyed for years to come.