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The Secrets of Lawn Overseeding

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist


If your lawn is thin and patchy, or if you're just looking for year round green and want to put a cool season grass in for the months when your warm season grass is dormant, or vice versa, overseeding is the technique of choice.

Lawn overseeding can help you take your lawn from so so to sensational, but just throwing some seed on your old turf won't get you the great lawn you're going for. Follow these tips to make sure you do overseeding right.
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  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Tip #1 - Time it Right

If you're overseeding with a cool season grass, do it in the fall, the peak growing time for cool season grasses. For warm season grasses, think spring.

Tip #2 - Prep your Soil

You need to give the new seeds the most hospitable home possible. Remove thatch, and consider aerating your lawn. Loosen the soil with a strong raking as well. This is also a great time to test your soil and amend your soil, whether it's upping its phosphorous levels or adjusting its ph.

Tip #3 - Mow Your Lawn Short

One of the big reasons to avoid scalping your lawn most of the time is that it opens your lawn up to weeds. But the same conditions that give weeds an easy entrée also make it easy for you newly overseeded lawn to take hold. You want your new lawn seeds to have as much contact with the soil as possible, so scalp away.

Tip #4 - Sow Seed Heavily

For lawn overseeding to succeed, you need a lot of seeds. You should plan to double the seeding you would do if you were putting the seeds down on straight soil with no existing turf.

Tip #5 - Baby Your Lawn

Even though you have existing turf, your new sprouts are just as delicate as a completely new lawn, so treat your yard accordingly. Put a protective mulch down, fertilize, water, water, water, and stay off the grass for a few weeks.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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