No matter what kind of turf you take care of, whether it’s your own lawn, a football field or a golf course, having lush, green grass is always the goal. It’s normal for grass to begin thinning as it matures, particularly if it’s getting heavy use. The secret to getting the turf you dream about could lie in the practice of overseeding. You may be unsure if it’s right for you. Or maybe you’ve never heard of it or aren’t entirely sure what all it entails, so let’s break it down.
To put it simply, overseeding is spreading grass seed over existing grass to improve turf density and uniformity, without tearing up the turf or soil. It revives the grass that is damaged by heavy foot traffic, lack of water and heat while giving it thicker growth, better color and greater resistance to disease and drought. It sounds great, right? Now let’s talk about the process.
The basics of overseeding are the same for everyone, but there are varied factors depending on your geography, how much usage your turf receives and the type of grass that is used. Here’s what you need to know:
- Correct any existing problems – consider a soil test if you aren’t sure about the condition of your soil. This could affect the nutrients that need to be applied to achieve maximum results. Drainage, soil compaction and poor fertility could all contribute to turf deterioration. If needed, take time to dethatch and aerate your turf so air, moisture and seed can all reach the soil.
- Timing is important – with cool-season grasses in the North (such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass and Fescue), late summer / early fall is the best time to overseed because those grasses grow most vigorously during those periods. Warm-season grasses in the South (such as Bermuda, Centipede, Saint Augustine and Zoysia) are best overseeded in late spring, right before those grasses enter their most active growing season.
- Prep your turf – stop fertilizing for a month before overseeding so the new seeds don’t have to fight through vigorous growth to establish themselves. Mow the existing grass extra short and remove the clippings as well so the new seeds can reach the soil and also receive the sunlight and water they need to root successfully. The more seed that reaches the soil means a higher germination rate and a more aesthetically-pleasing turf for you.
- Overseeding – there are several methods to overseeding, including using broadcast spreaders. If you’re only overseeding small spots, it may be simpler to seed from your hand. It’s important to seed when there is minimal wind so the seeds will distribute evenly.
- Keep the water flowing – proper watering is critical to the seeds germinating. Keep the seed and soil consistently moist for the first ten days and then water as needed to prevent wilting. After the grass is established, water at the recommended level for the type of grass you have planted.
Properly overseeding can keep the grass looking great and give you turf that responds better to mowing, fertilizing and watering. More information about the Lely Broadcast Spreader can be found here.