Don’t fret over a sparse, patchy lawn. With professional overseeding, the problem is solved in no time at all. The following practical instructions explain when you should ideally sow the lawn seeds and what to look out for.
When is the best time to sow lawn seed?
There are primarily two dates a year that are recommended for reseeding:
- In spring, in March/April, when the lawn does not recover from the hardships of winter by itself
- In autumn, when summer stress is reflected in gaps, holes, and bare patches
In principle, all months of the vegetation period are suitable for reseeding, as long as there is no sweltering summer heat or it has frozen for the first time in autumn.
Proper preparation of the floor
It is worth preparing the lawn specifically for reseeding. If you simply spread grass seeds on the patchwork quilt, you shouldn’t be surprised if the tender seeds don’t germinate. This is how you perfectly prepare the lawn for receiving the seed:
- Mow the grass about 2 cm (.5 inch) short
- Scarify 3-5 millimeters deep lengthwise and crosswise
- Treat individual areas on the lawn with the hand scarifier.
- Remove all combed moss and weeds
The scarifier not only removes the lawn thatch but also loosens up the turf with its rotating blades. In addition, in this way, the remaining stock of grasses should be somewhat weakened in its competitive power so that the young seedlings can establish themselves. This form of preparation eliminates the need to laboriously dig up the entire lawn or the bare patches.
Aerating improves the chances of success
If the reseeding serves to repair the entire lawn, experienced hobby gardeners insert an intermediate step after scarifying. The turf is thoroughly aerated with the help of an aerator. This is particularly recommended when soil compaction is responsible for bare spots. How to proceed:
- Aerating the turf with a manual or mechanical aerator
- Press the high soil pegs into the turf at a distance of 15-20 cm 6-8 inches)
- Remove the pushed-out soil from the lawn
Before reseeding, the lawn is sanded. To do this, distribute half a bucket of fine-grained quartz sand per square meter (10 SF) to sweep it into the holes with a rake or broom. In this way, the lawn also receives drainage, which effectively counteracts further compaction.
The perfect reseeding – step-by-step instructions
Regardless of whether you sow lawn seed in spring or autumn, the procedure after the preparatory work is as follows:
- Level out any unevenness on the surface with a mix of garden soil and sand
- Distribute the lawn seed by hand or with a spreader
- Work the lawn seeds lightly into the ground with a rake and roll them out
- Sieve the light germs only thinly with sand or special lawn soil
- Finally, sprinkle the overseeding with the lawn sprinkler
Reseeding by hand is done evenly if you weigh out a handful of lawn seeds beforehand. This will give you a feel for the right dosage. When reseeding over the entire area, ideally scatter the seed in a checkerboard pattern, once lengthwise and once crosswise.
Always keep an eye on the weather report
Reseeding lawns differs only slightly from cultivating young plants by sowing. The light and temperature conditions have a significant influence on the successful course of germination.
For lawn seeds, this means checking the weather forecast both in spring and fall before starting work. These weather conditions ensure rapid germination of lawn seeds:
- Constant temperatures of at least 8-10 degrees Celsius (46-50 F) prevail
- Neither drought nor constant rain are to be expected
- In autumn, the first frost should be at least 4 weeks away
Proper care after lawn repairs
As a rule, the lawn seeds emerge after 8 to 14 days. They must not dry out during germination, so regular watering is a top priority. If the tender grasses sprout everywhere and close all the gaps, then this care is important:
- Fertilize the lawn for the first time after the seedlings have emerged
- Then sprinkle repeatedly until all the fertilizer granules have rained in
- When the grass has reached a height of 8-10 cm(3-4 inches), it is mowed
- Mow no deeper than 5 cm (1.2 inches) for the first cut – 7 cm (2.7 inches) for shaded lawns
Experts are increasingly moving away from simultaneous reseeding and fertilization. In order to get seeds of any plant species to germinate, a lean, nutrient-poor environment must be created.
In this way, lawn seeds are encouraged to make an effort in search of food. However, if the nutrient table right outside the front door is richly covered thanks to fertilization, there is no reason for the seeds to develop strong roots.
If you fertilize the reseeding in autumn with a potassium-rich preparation, this prudence will make a significant contribution to strengthening the winter hardiness of the lawn.
If the pH value is too low beforehand, it is advisable to apply lime, a time interval of 2-3 weeks between the two care measures is advisable.