Reseeding Your Lawn
After summer’s harsh weather, your lawn may be looking a little scraggly. Seeding a lawn in the fall is a good way to breathe new life into your landscape. The cooler fall weather provides the perfect conditions for seed germination, and there is less competition from weeds.
When you learn how to reseed your lawn, the seeds you put down now will result in a lush carpeting of green come spring.
Steps to seeding your lawn
- Prepare to put down seed by mowing your lawn shorter than usual, which will allow the seed to make good contact with the soil. Don’t put down grass clippings when you mow, as they can smother new grass seedlings.
- Loosen the soil so the new seed can penetrate, germinate and take root. Do this by raking or aerating. The latter procedure also gets air to the roots of the existing lawn and allows for better water penetration overall.
- Rake a thin layer of turf-building, seed-starting soil onto the top of your current soil, which will give the seed something on which to attach. Mix into this a starter fertilizer to provide the lawn and seedlings with essential nutrients.
- Choose the appropriate seed for your yard. There is seed for both shady and sunny yards, as well as seed that stands up to foot traffic. Try to get seed that will produce grass that will most closely resemble your existing lawn.
- Reseed using a spreader, which will allow you to spread the grass seed evenly.
Your most important task once you’ve applied seed is to keep the grass moist so the seed can germinate. If the seed is allowed to dry out, it won’t survive. In the absence of rainfall, make sure to water daily, keeping the surface of the lawn and the seeds moist.
Water daily for seven to 14 days or until the seed has sprouted and the grass is 2 inches tall. At that time, you can taper back on watering.
During the first two weeks as the seed is germinating, stay off the grass, which helps prevent compaction of the soil and squashing of the grass seed and seedlings.
Once the new grass reaches 3 inches tall, mow to 2 inches high.
Overseed dormant grass
If you live in the South or West and are growing bermudagrass, which goes dormant in the winter months, overseed with annual ryegrass at this time of year. Doing this will give you a green lawn all winter long. The annual rye will die back in the spring when your bermudagrass wakes up.
Now that you know how to reseed your lawn in fall, you can look forward to healthy, green turf next spring.
- Julie Bawden-Davis