Overseeding in Spring

Overseeding in Spring

The art and science of achieving and maintaining a beautiful, full and lush green lawn requires active management of a comprehensive lawn care plan. An essential element in ensuring the creation of a healthy, plush and luxurious lawn of thick, verdant grass is overseeding.

This lawn enhancement process is key to realizing your ideal lawn with ultimate natural beauty and resilience. The team of lawn care experts at Lawn Love is committed to combining art and science to create and maintain beautiful green lawns and with exquisite beauty and vibrant, healthy growth.

As part of your ongoing lawn-boosting blueprint, overseeding is an excellent process to grow and sustain an ideal lawn with pure, unequaled beauty. Only the professional nurturing of lawn care experts and gardeners or the caring, proactive attention that homeowners can provide will create well-cultivated lawns that will grow and flourish.

“Even an older, thin and dull looking yard of dry and fading green grass that has been worn-out by constant use as a play area for children or pets can be revitalized to display lush, opulent natural beauty with use of top grade overseeding techniques today. “

The technique of overseeding in spring involves planting new grass seed into lawn turf while taking care to avoid tearing or damaging the turf. This is an excellent method of closing up bare spots and enhancing turf density. By adding better quality types of grass, you can achieve a full lawn of stunningly rich deep green.

Any lawn that has a worn-down, aging, dull or sparse appearance is in need of overseeding. Even the worst lawns that are insect or disease prone and need regular fertilizing and watering to show any signs of improvement will soon attain new, fresh and thicker grass growth after overseeding.

Benefits of Overseeding for Old or Worn Lawn Grass              

There are major beneficial features that top quality overseeding spring lawn techniques can provide for older or worn looking sections or patches of lawn grass. Worn-down lawns can become overgrown with weeds. When you overseed your tired or sparse looking lawn, you are using a fast, efficient technique for restoring your lawn to its former attractive, healthy state. Adequate and timely overseeding in spring will revitalize and replenish the earlier growth of rich green grass without damaging or disturbing the surrounding healthy turf.

As experienced overseeding and lawn care experts, we realize that many lawns surrounding older homes today were initially seeded with grass varieties that are not compatible with the needs of modern lawn use, wear, and upkeep. These lawns are frequently plagued with disease and insect infestation and damage. They need more fertilizing and watering than newer, stronger grassy lawns as well as overseeding spring lawn procedures.

By using overseeding spring lawn techniques with current turfgrass types and interspersing them among the older grass growth of a worn-down lawn during the best time to overseed lawn, we can enable this old lawn to become stronger. With its new-grown, stronger grass coverage, this old lawn will be able to withstand any ill effects from insects, drought, disease, excessive amounts of shade or heavy foot or equipment traffic.

Eventually, this overseeding practice will result in a reduction in the amount of water, fertilizer, and pesticides needed to sustain this healthy grass growth. A lawn that has been refurbished by top quality overseeding will support its stunning green hues and thick, full grassy growth for a healthier, highly appealing appearance.

Even an older, thin and dull looking yard of dry and fading green grass that has been worn-out by constant use as a play area for children or pets can be revitalized to display lush, opulent natural beauty with use of top grade overseeding techniques today.

Professional Overseeding Methods can Reverse these Adverse Lawn Conditions:

• Depleted or poor soil conditions

• Soil compaction and erosion

• Poor water drainage

• Insufficient water

• Insufficient fertility

• Inadequate amounts of sunlight

• Poor air circulation

• Excessive amounts of thatch

• Unsuitable choice of grass varieties for a location

• Overall neglect of lawn care

Steps for Performing Top Quality Overseeding Techniques on Your Lawn    

Whether you are a homeowner, a novice lawn care enthusiast or an experienced lawn care professional, the following steps for lawn overseeding set a clear standard that will bring good grass growth for a fresh, revitalized lawn:

1. Mow Grass Low. – Before overseeding your lawn using overseeding grass spring techniques, cut your grass low so that it is shorter than usual. After you mow, bag up the clippings and rake your lawn. This will remove any dried or dead grass, twigs, leaves, and debris. It will also loosen the top strata of soil, making it easier for the grass seed to enter the soil, germinate and root.

2. Select Top Quality Grass Seed. – Choose a grass seed that is compatible with the existing grass growth on your property. If your lawn contains cool-season varieties of grass, select new seed that will add fresh, denser grass coverage to lawns with sparse growth. Some modern products include grass seed, soil enhancers and fertilizing agents in a single product that can be easily applied to yards with use of a spreader. If your property has a warm-season grass, your local gardening supply store staff can offer advice concerning the grass type best suited to your locale.

3. Correct Existing Problems. – If your grass has more than common thinning issues, get testing advice from your local gardening center to determine any necessary soil amendments for correcting bare spots. You may need to de-thatch and aerate areas of your property that show signs of lawn compaction. These procedures will allow essential moisture and fresh seed to reach and enter the soil to promote seed germination and sprouting. Your lawn and garden expert may recommend using a product that includes premium quality seed, a stabilized-release formula fertilizing agent and wood mulch to refurbish your lawn.

4. Amend Lawn Soil. – When using grass seed alone, without other products included, to overseed your lawn, it is best to rake a very thin layer of soil across the existing grass. For best results, use enriched soil to help ensure good new grass growth after the seed enters the soil layers. Be careful to add no more than a quarter-inch layer of the enriched soil to avoid killing or damaging the existing grass.

5. Spread the Seed. – After cutting your grass to a short length and raking it free of debris, you are ready to spread the new grass seed with use of overseeding grass spring techniques. This part is simple. All you need to do is fill the spreader with fresh seed, adjust the settings to comply with directions on the label of the seed bag and start overseeding.

6. Feed, Water, and Nurture. – To supply your newly spread grass seedlings with vital nutrients to promote fast growth, you should apply nutritional plant growth products such as Scotts® Turf Builder® Thick’R Lawn™, which contains both nutritious ingredients and fertilizer. If you prefer, you can also use a nutritional supplement for plants and a separate fertilizing agent. After completing this process, take care to water the soil once or twice each day until the seedlings grow to the current height of your existing lawn grass.

Different Methods for Overseeding Lawns Today        

There are two primary types of overseeding methods in use today:

With the use of a recommended mechanical slit-seeder or by broadcast seeding using a cyclone or drop-style seeder and following a simple step-by-step procedure, you can perform good quality overseeding on your lawn.           

Slit-Seeding With a Mechanical Slit-Seeder

This is the favored overseeding method for currently established turf. The best slit-seeders are designed with verticutting blades that slice through the layer of thatch to create a slit or mini-groove (or small trench) in the ground soil. The depth of this miniature trench or slit should be no more than one-half the length of the grass seed husk and will vary depending on the type of grass seed you use.

The slit-seeder should be equipped with concave disk blades that follow the shape of the slits to keep them open as the seed is planted deep enough to germinate. This overseeding method provides the proper distribution of seed directly into the soil without any loss of seed through scattering. This fact ensures high rates of germination resulting in fuller, more attractive new grass growth.

Many lawn care experts recommend Slit-seeders like the Ryan®Mataway®Overseeder for achieving highly successful overseeding results. Many lawn growth experts also recommend overseeding each area of turf twice (making two passes). Each pass should seed at 50 percent of the overall rate recommended for your lawn.

If you make both passes at a 45-degree angle to one another, forming a pattern similar to the shape of a diamond, each set of seeds will be placed in the soil approximately two inches apart. Although some overseeders place seed in three-inch rows, this will give your lawn a grass covering that has a striped appearance. Be sure to measure the thatch on your lawn before you start overseeding. If the turf has thatch greater than one-half inch in thickness, you should dethatch before overseeding.

Broadcast Seeding Using a Cyclone or Drop-Style Seeder

If you cannot use a slit-seeder, broadcast seeding is also an effective method. First, aerate multiple times before you broadcast seed, spacing the aeration holes no more than two to three inches from one another. For best seed-to-soil contact, remove soil plugs with core-style aerating tines. After completing the overseeding process, water the entire area thoroughly. This will wash the new seed into the aeration holes, helping to break apart the surface aeration cores.

One problem often encountered when broadcast seeding is that sizable amounts of seed can get caught in the layer of thatch, never permeating the soil to germinate. With this method of overseeding, it is best to use bluegrass or other grasses that have a creeping growth style so that grass growth will be even. If you use grass varieties that will not spread, the new grass will sprout in the aeration holes, leaving the lawn with a clumped or tufted appearance. Always heed the necessity of using more grass seed when broadcast seeding since the rate of germination is lower than when using the slit-seeding method.

Refrain from using too much seed when overseeding your lawn or property grounds. Thick, lush green lawns require time to grow, just as trees, bushes and all types of plants do. If you apply too much seed to your current lawn, this may cause overcrowding as new grass seed sprouts. The stronger grass sprouts will survive, but they may choke out existing grass, which will lead to the need to perform additional overseeding.

If most of your lawn already has thick grass growth, overseeding will be a general maintenance task. In this case, you should use two to four pounds of seed for every 1,000 square feet of lawn. However, if your lawn has exposed areas of soil, apply four to eight pounds of seed per every 1,000 square feet. For lawns that need complete renovation, eight to twelve pounds of new grass seed per every 1,000 square feet of turf will be required.

Choosing the Best Lawn Overseeding Season and Grass Seed Variety for Your Locale

Homeowners and lawn care enthusiasts who live in the South should overseed their lawns from late spring to mid-summer. This is the best time to overseed lawn in the southern states because warmer-season grass requires warmer soil temperatures for germination to occur. In the northern states of the U.S., fall is generally the ideal season for overseeding lawns.

Since the air is cooling, but the ground soil still retains warmth from the summer months, your new grass seed should flourish. Also, your newly spread seeds will have fewer weeds to contend with as they sprout. As the surrounding foliage begins to turn and fall, your lawn will receive steady sunlight during the daytime. If other requirements in your life prevent you from overseeding during fall, you can also perform overseeding in spring with good results.

Ideal Grass Seed Variety

Select your grass seed variety according to your local climate. In northern, eastern and western sections of the U.S., cool-season grass seed types are the best choice. Cool-season grass seed includes Kentucky Bluegrass, Bentgrass, Perennial Ryegrass, and the Fine Fescues. These grass varieties can thrive during moderate summer weather, and they will also withstand frigid cold temperatures that can occur in wintertime.

Warm-season grass types like Bermudagrass, Bahiagrass, and Centipedegrass, grow well in the southern, southeastern and southwestern states of the U.S. They can survive heat extremes in summer and are capable of surviving sub-freezing temperatures during winter. In the mid-southern and western states, Tall Fescues are used commonly for overseeding. Since the introduction of new turf-type Tall Fescues, this seed variety is gaining usage in other regions of the country as well. Your local lawn care experts can guide you in choosing the ideal grass seed variety for your specific location.

Negative vs. Positive Effects of Overseeding Your Lawn     

Overseeding a lawn may have positive or negative effects, depending on lawn conditions at the time and various other factors. Some significant pros and cons of overseeding are the following:


• Reduces Erosion. – Lawns with thick, healthy grass have a close-knit, fibrous network of roots that bind the soil together, helping to prevent or alleviate erosion. Well overseeded lawns also retain water, helping to irrigate grass from each blade top down through the root and the soil below. Densely seeded grass also holds essential nutrients in the soil, improving the health and overall appearance of the lawn. After achieving a lawn with dense, healthy grass, you can maintain it with an understanding of how to overseed lawn without aerating when needed.   

• Create Beautiful Grass. – Stretches of grass that have been correctly overseeded, well cultivated and well cared for create a lawn of lush, sheer beauty. Not only is this lawn a joy to look at and enjoy as an essential part of your home’s exterior property, but it is also delightful to walk on, play games on or spend leisurely time on relaxing with family and friends. An attractive, lush green lawn also dramatically improves your home’s curb appeal and market value.  

• Prevents Pests and Disease. – When your lawn is thick with healthy, vibrant green grass, it will combat infestation of pests and diseases that can attack vegetation. Overseeding can take the place of using pesticides on your lawn. Also, some grass seeds are highly resistant to disease.    


• Causes Competitive Growth. – If you make the mistake of overseeding your warm season lawn with use of a cool season grass seed, this can inhibit the next spring’s growth of the existing lawn grass. Since cool season grass flourishes at temperatures from 60 to 70 degrees F, this newly seeded cool season grass will get a head-start on early springtime growth. It will then compete with the permanent lawn grass for space, nutrients, and water, just as strong weeds do.  

• Requires Year-Round Upkeep. – Some homeowners and lawn care enthusiasts do not favor overseeding because it requires lawn upkeep throughout all seasons of the year. Although you only overseed during one season, you will need to feed, nurture and groom your lawn all year long.

• Requires Year-Round Spending and Effort. – After overseeding your lawn, you must be attentive to watering, fertilizing, and adding nutrients to your grass all year long. All these stages of lawn upkeep require extra funds in your lawn care budget throughout the entire year.  


Successful lawn care is both a fine art and an innovative science. As the professional Lawn Love team will explain, it requires well-executed management of a comprehensive cultivation and care plan. One of the primary elements of top quality lawn care is expert overseeding practices. Overseeding is an excellent way to correct soil compaction and erosion, poor water drainage and excessive amounts of thatch. With the use of a recommended mechanical slit-seeder or by broadcast seeding using a cyclone or drop-style seeder and following a simple step-by-step procedure, you can easily overseed your own lawn. By adding fresh grass seed to cover and regrow bare or sparse areas that mar the look of your lawn, you, your family and neighbors can soon enjoy the vibrant beauty and health of your revitalized, lush, grass lawn.

Sara Butler

Sara Butler has written scores of articles for Lawn Love -- everything from how to revive your dead lawn to how to start to lawn care tools every homeowner should have.