You have planted your lawn, taken good care of it such that it does not even have weeds. Then all of a sudden you start seeing some brown patches, or grass disappearing completely. This could be happening for the following reasons:
- Pests and diseases have invaded your lawn or;
- The current season does not favor the type of grass you planted or;
- Pets and maybe stray dogs have played on the lawn leaving some bare patches
If you establish that the thinning is a result of pests and disease invasion, the solution is to get the right insecticide from the gardening store near you. As for pets and stray dogs, you will have to replace the grass that they have destroyed.
Different plants do well in different seasons, and the lawn grass is not exceptional. Grass that thrives during summer, for example, can become dormant in winter, and vice versa.
Overseeding is a practice that ensures your lawn is well covered across all seasons. Before you take up the practice, however, you should rule out the possibility of pests and diseases being the cause of the grass thinning.
In the simplest terms, overseeding is the process of casting seeds in an already existing lawn. The main aim is to ensure that as some of the grass thins for whatever reason, there are other seeds that are growing to keep the lawn looking lavish.
Timing is of the essence if you are to succeed and considering the high cost involved, you need to get it right. The timing depends on factors such as:
- Reasons behind the decision to overseed
- The type of grass
- Geographical location
Why Over Seed?
The benefits of overseeding go beyond just having to plant more grass in your lawn, and they are as follows:
- Overseeding improves on the strength of the lawn grass, making it more resistant to adverse weather conditions.
- It repairs the scorched parts of the grass, irrespective of the reason behind the scorching. The exception to this is when the scorching is caused by diseases. Overseeding will not be effective because the new grass will still be infested.
- It thickens the grass cover and consequently prevents weeds from thriving.
- It creates a uniform and carpet-like lawn all year round.
The Best Time To Overseed The Lawn
The main secret to a successful overseeding exercise is to understand the different types of grass and their favorable seasons. In this regard, they’re two broad categories of lawn grass namely cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses.
You need to understand the difference between the two before you go into how to over seed them.
1. Warm Season Grass
Warm-season grasses thrive in the summer season when temperatures are high. This is the best type of grass to plant in regions that experience longer summers.
Some of the specific types of grasses that you should go for if you intend to have warm-season grass on your lawn include: Bermuda grass, Centipede grass, Buffalo grass, St. Augustine grass, and Zoysia grass.
During the colder months of fall and winter, warm-season grasses become dormant. Note that they do not die completely. Once the cold season is over, they will start sprouting.
Warm-season turf also does well in low altitude areas such as along the coastlines.
2. Cool-season Grass
Cold season grass does well during the cold season when there is less heat. They are mostly available in seed form as opposed to the vegetative form common with warm-season grasses.
Because of their adaption, these types of grass will provide a lavish lawn cover at extremely low temperatures.
As a gardener, you need to understand the geographical locations well enough to know where to plant which type of lawn grass. Homeowners, on the other hand, may seek the advice of professional gardeners when planting turf on their lawns.
To most people, over seeding sounds like a simple process of just planting seeds in an already grown lawn. This is however not the case, since you need to get the timing right. Remember the idea behind it is to have a well-covered lawn throughout all the seasons.
You also need to get the process right to achieve the intended purpose.
Tip on How to Overseed a Lawn
1. Understand your reasons for over seeding
The number one reason for over seeding should be to prevent thinning and not to repair an already thinned lawn, as most people would think. This means that your timing should be so accurate that by the time the warm season turf is hibernating, the cold season turf has already germinated and is taking over the lawn.
With good planning, you will never see thinned grass on your lawn.
2. Timing is key
The best time to plant cool-season grass is during late summer. While the cool-season grass thrives in the colder seasons, the seeds still need some warmth to germinate.
You should, therefore, time when the summer season is almost coming to an end to over seed with cold season grass seeds. At this time also, the warm season grass is starting to wear down, meaning there will be more space for the cold season grass to sprout.
3. Prepare the lawn
The first step when preparing the lawn for over seeding is to mow the existing grass to the lowest level possible.
The second step is raking to remove the debris and loosen the soil. Loose soil will take in the seeds and allow them to germinate much faster.
As part of the preparation process, you also need to check out for other possible reasons behind the thinning. You can take the soil for testing to establish whether it still has sufficient nutrients.
4. Select good quality grass seeds
Just like any other product, there are different qualities of grass seeds. You need to select the best quality for over seeding, to reduce the chances of failing.
It is also important to note that there are different seeds for different climatic regions. This is usually indicated on the packaging. Be sure to read before making the purchase.
5. Plant the seeds
Grass seeds are small hence they are planted by casting them on the ground. Before you cast the seeds, however, you will need to poke holes in the ground.
The most convenient way of doing this is by walking on the lawn with aeration shoes. You should then plant the seeds using a seed spreader, which will save you a lot of time. As you plant the seeds, it is fine to walk on the ground, since this helps in getting the seeds into the soil.
6. Apply fertilizer
You need to apply a fertilizer that is rich in phosphorus, which stimulates the growth of roots. Remember that you are working against time here and the warm season is almost closing in, yet the seeds need the warmth to help them germinate.
A phosphorus-rich fertilizer will hasten the growth of roots such that by the time the season changes, the seeds are already established and waiting for the ideal weather to sprout.
7. Water the Lawn
Besides warmth, seeds also need moisture for them to germinate. After planting, therefore, you should continue watering the grass so that the new seeds can develop well.
Insufficient water in the ground will produce weak grass if at all any will grow. If you plant the seeds during the warm season, when the water retention by the soil is low, you will need to water your lawn at least twice a day.
Once you are sure the grass seeds are well settled into the ground, you can now sit and enjoy the beautiful view of a lavish lawn. The landscaping is the first thing that is visible in your compound and you need to maintain its beauty across all seasons by over seeding as frequently as is required.