Lawn Maintenance Tips - Overseeding

Overseeding a Lawn in 5 Steps 
Step 1: Mow and rake the lawn.
If your lawn has thatch (a compact layer of grass and soil), it might need dethatching or aerating before you spread seed. Otherwise, the grass seed used in overseeding won’t reach the soil to germinate and take root. Aerating creates holes in the grass and soil through which water, oxygen, and vital nutrients can reach the new grass seed and the roots of the existing grass.
The goal of overseeding a lawn is to get the grass seed in contact with the soil. To do that, the first step is to mow the lawn. Mow it shorter than usual so the grass seed will have a better chance of reaching the soil. Make sure to bag the clippings so they don’t come between the seeds and soil.
After mowing, rake the entire lawn to remove dead grass, rocks, sticks, and any other debris. This process removes any final barriers between the grass seed and soil, and loosens the soil in preparation for seeding and germination.
Step 2: Amend the soil, if necessary.
Additions of peat moss for clay soil and compost for sandy soil also can improve the nutrients in the lawn and its condition.
Step 3: Spread the grass seed.
Load the grass seed into a seed spreader and set it to distribute at about 2-4lbs/1000 sqft. The right seed density will depend on the thickness of the existing lawn, so some lawns might need less. (You can spread grass seed by hand if you don’t have a spreader.
Step 4: Add grass seed fertilizer.
Select the best fertilizer for your region and property, and load it into a fertilizer spreader. Start by scattering around the perimeter of the lawn to make sure fertilizer reaches the edges of your property.
Step 5: Water the seeded lawn.
It’s best to water in the morning to maximize the water intake. More evaporation occurs during the afternoon and evening, which means it will take more water to get the same benefits. You don’t want to overwater the lawn because doing so can wash away the seed, prevent germination, or encourage thatch development and the growth of fungus and weeds. If there are puddles or the ground feels spongy, cut back on the watering time.
QUESTION. Can you just sprinkle grass seed on lawns?
You will have very little success overseeding a lawn if you just head out and sprinkle grass seed and then cross your fingers. For grass seed to take, the soil must be ready and free of barriers like grass clippings. If the lawn has lots of weeds that compete with grass, for example, sprinkling seed is a waste of time.
Be diligent and first take the appropriate steps to prepare the soil. After all, the fact that you need to reseed might mean that your yard has thatch or other issues that should be addressed first.
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