how to overseed a lawn

how to overseed a lawn? ( 10 quick ways)

[Step by Step Guide For Overseeding

Are you worried about bare patches and thinning of grass in your lawn? How will you decide if your lawn requires overseeding or reseeding? Do you have any idea how to reseed or overseed a lawn? If no, you’re ideally at the right post.

In this article, you’ll learn how to prepare your lawn, the step-by-step guide of overseeding and reseeding, and aftercare of your lawn. So, keep reading till the end if you want to be a pro gardener.

How to reseed or overseed a lawn? For overseeding an existing lawn:

  1. Mow the grass shorter than usual.
  2. Dethatch and rake.
  3. Remove all the clippings and bag them.
  4. Spread and cover grass seeds.
  5. Maintain enough moisture afterwards.
  6. For reseeding, kill and remove existing grass.
  7. Analyze the soil.
  8. Prepare the soil and spread seeds.
  9. Follow the watering schedule till the seedlings appear.

Though overseeding and reseeding have similarities in the techniques, both are different procedures. Moreover, both are applicable under other circumstances. If you’re establishing a new lawn, you should know whether your lawn needs overseeding or reseeding.

Keep reading to know more details.

Should You Overseed a lawn?

The primary purpose of overseeding is:

  • Achieve a dense lawn.
  • Maintain a healthy lawn.
  • Prevent weeds from taking roots.
  • Enhance the uniform appearance of grass.
  • To improve the colour of grass.

Reseeding is a remedy for dead patches and bare spots on your lawn. If you notice barren land on your lawn, try to fix it as soon as possible. First, you have to sort out the issue that is causing bare spots. It involves soil testing, renovation, and aftercare of your yard. Moreover, consider the correct type of grass seed and the best time of the year for reseeding.

The primary purpose of reseeding is:

  • Repair a patchy lawn.
  • Improve the soil quality.
  • To fix a dead lawn.

If your lawn has 50% grass in good condition and the rest is thinning, you should go for overseeding. If your lawn has 50% of bare patches or dead spots, reseeding is a good option. It may take time to start from scratch, but the results will surprise you.

Best Time To Overseed A Lawn

The best time to overseed a lawn depends on the geography and type of grass you are using.

For successful overseeding, proper timing is crucial. If you’re doing it at the wrong time, you’ll be wasting your money and efforts. Generally, spring and autumn is the best time to overseed an existing lawn. In ideal conditions, germination takes place in 7 to 21 days. Typically, grass seeds germinate successfully if the daily temperatures are above 13ºC.

The Northern climates of the US are cooler. For these areas, late summer to early fall is the best time to overseed. In the fall, the soil temperature is favourable to support seed germination. If germination not completed in the fall, you can overseed in the spring. But make sure to do it early in the spring. It will allow seedlings to establish before the summer sets.

Selection of the Grass Seed Based on Regional Climate

how to overseed a lawn

Firstly, you have to determine the type of grass seed best for the climate of your region. There are two types of grasses.

  • Cool-season grasses_Rye grass, Bluegrass, and Fescues are cool-season grasses. These grasses thrive well in the northern climates with cooler spring and fall and moderate summer season. Late summer or early fall is an ideal time for overseeding the northern lawn in the US.
  • Warm-season grasses_Bermuda grass, Zoysia, and Buffalo grass are warm-season grasses. These grasses yield vigorous growth in the southern regions of the US, where summer temperatures are high. Plus, they flourish well in the hot summer but can’t withstand low winter temperatures.

Apart from the options mentioned above, you can also select the online available premium lawn grasses—these grasses designed according to the specific needs.

Overseeding lawn Step By Step

Here is an easy step-by-step guide to overseeding. So, have a look to explore.

Tools required

  • Lawn Mower
  • Lawn Sprinkler system
  • Rake
  • Seed Spreader
  • Aerator(If aeration is needed)

Step1_Solve the Existing Lawn Problems

Firstly, you have to sort out the causes of thinning and bare patches. The soil needs of an established lawn are different from that of a newly planted garden. If needed, perform a soil test. Take the soil samples and send them to a lab for further results.

The test results will determine the soil’s pH, percentage of organic matter, and nutrient deficiency. Amend the soil with lime or sulfur to adjust the pH. Also, dethatch your lawn if needed to allow the seed, air, and moisture to reach the soil.

If you haven’t fertilized your lawn for the past four months, it is recommended to apply fertilizer before overseeding and then perform overseeding four weeks after fertilizer.

Step 2_Select the Appropriate Time.

For overseeding, timing is the key to build a flourishing lawn. In the US’s northern regions, late summer to early fall is ideal for planting cool-season grasses. However, the early spring is also an option if you fail to plant in the fall.

The warm soil temperature promotes seed germination, and cool air enhances the growth of the new plants. Moreover, the lawn weeds are also less active in the cool season. Late spring is the ideal time for overseeding lawns with warm-season grasses for southern regions of the US.

Step 3_Lawn Preparation Before Overseeding

  • Before overseeding, prepare the area and mow your lawn shorter than usual, approx 25mm.
  • Dethatch the dead matted grass and use a rake to remove the dead layer and debris.
  • Remove all the clippings.
  • Bag the clippings as you want the grass seed to make a good soil contact for faster germination.
  • Use a rake to loosen the turf.
  • Choose the best quality grass seeds suited to the climate of your area. You can research top-quality seeds or ask your local nursery.

Step 4_Distribute the Seeds

After the lawn is ready for overseeding, use a seed spreader for a more extensive lawn. Follow the label guidelines of the grass seeds mentioned per square feet of area. You can also use a handheld spreader for a smaller area.

 If you need to fill small spots, you can spread the seeds with your hands. Also, ensure to spread the seeds in calm air. As it not only avoids seed wastage but also promotes an even seed distribution. Slightly rake over mulch or compost to protect the new seeds.

Step 5_Provide consistent Moisture

Overseeded lawns require frequent moisture to enhance germination and plant growth. For the first four days, keep the soil moist and water twice a day. For the next week, water daily and then return to the regular watering schedule to prevent wilting. Don’t overwater as it could wash away your seeds.

Step 6_Aftercare

Fertilize the overseeded lawn with phosphorus-rich fertilizer to promote faster root growth. After fertilizing, water your lawn heavily, so the soil absorbs all the nutrients. Minimize the traffic on newly overseed lawn till the complete growth of the grass. The new seeds will take around 7 to 21 days to germinate. Avoid mowing until the turf starts to thicken. Once the fresh grass reaches a desirable height, you can switch to the regular mowing schedule.

Reseeding Lawn Step By Step

Reseeding includes filling the bare patches or starting a new lawn from scratch. Most steps involved in reseeding are almost similar to that of overseeding. However, it serves different purposes.

Tools required

  • Soil moisture tester
  • Sod cutter
  • Chemical to kill the grass
  • Tine Rake
  • Tiller
  • Sprinkler system
  • Aerator(If required)
  • Seed spreader(For more extensive lawns)
  • Climate suited seeds

Best Time for Reseeding

If you are reseeding a lawn in a cooler climate, early spring is the ideal time to plant new grass seeds. Late summer is also an option to start reseeding in colder regions.

For warm climates, late spring and early summer are ideal for reseeding. However, you should consult your local turf experts for advice.

Step 1_Evaluate the Causes of Dead and Patchy Lawn

Firstly, analyze the issues that are causing dead and patchy lawns. The causes may include:

  • Pets
  • High traffic
  • Poor drainage
  • Insects
  • Moss
  • Fungus
  • Compact soil

Don’t worry if your lawn faces high traffic—this problem solved by selecting a high traffic tolerant turfgrass. In moss, fungus and insects, apply insecticides and improve the drainage to minimize water retention. If the turf dries, maybe it is not getting enough water. Install a lawn sprinkler system to water uniformly. Aerate the soil to promote aeration.

Step 2_Select the Right Climate Suited Seeds.

The selection of the seed suited to your climate is the key to successful reseeding. You can choose the cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses based on the needs of your regional climate. Moreover, you can also select shade tolerant and traffic tolerant turf-type according to your lawn requirements.

Step 3_Perform Soil Test

A soil test is crucial to check the soil requirements of your lawn before you plant. For this, take out the plugs of soil 6 inches deep from 3 different sections of your lawn. Then take slices of soil from all three plugs, remove rocks and weeds, mix them in a container. Send the sample to your nearby soil testing lab. They will recommend the fertilizer and soil treatments based on the test results.

Step 4_Lawn Preparation Before Reseeding

After testing the soil, follow the below-mentioned steps to prepare the lawn before reseeding.

  • Kill the existing grass by using chemicals.
  • You can also spread a 4m or thicker black poly film sheet to kill the grass by blocking the sunlight. It will take two to three weeks to dry the grass completely.
  • Use a rigid tine rake to remove the weeds and dead grass from the topsoil.
  • Use a rented tiller to till the soil to a depth of 5 inches.
  • Spread conditioners to the entire lawn as recommended by the soil test analysis.
  • Remove all the debris and rocks.
  • Use a broom rake to smooth the ground.
  • Create Furrows by dragging the rake.
  • Apply the best starter fertilizer into the furrows after consulting the local nursery. Make sure not to over-fertilize the area.

Step 5_Evenly Distribute and Cover the Seeds.

Once the area is ready, it’s time to distribute the grass seeds. Before seed spreading, mix the seeds and fertilizer in 4:1 in a bucket. (Different seeds may have different mixing ratios, check the label for details). Spread the seeds by using a seed spreader. You can use a rented sod roller half-filled with water to ensure good seed to soil contact. For the light application of the pellets, set the spreader to the widest settings and walk quickly. Finally, cover the soil with mulch to promote moisture retention during germination.

Step 6_Aftercare includes Watering and Maintenance.

Water the newly reseeded lawn heavily immediately after compost mulch application. You can use compact sprinklers at one corner of the lawn to avoid puddle formation. Water daily until the seedlings start to appear. You can gradually reduce the watering for six weeks after carrying on with your regular watering schedule.

Once the new grass reaches the height of 6 inches, mow the lawn with sharpened blades.


Here’s the end of our complete step-by-step how to overseed a lawn. If you are concerned about your lawn thinning, or the bare patches of your lawn are bothering you. Don’t get panicked and follow our mentioned guidelines.

It is crucial to set your goal and do it at the right time of the year. The climatic condition of every lawn is different. It’s better to understand the requirements of your lawn. Possibly your lawn may need overseeding or reseeding more than once a year. So, keep learning and practising for good results.

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