Fall is the absolute best time to seed or re-seed your lawn! The hot, dry summer is over and the insects and weeds are less prevalent. Moisture from morning dew keeps the seed bed moist and the less intense sun rays slow the rate of evaporation. The soil temperatures are still warm and the cool rains make it the perfect time to create that beautiful lawn that your neighbors will envy as they look over your fence. To successfully seed, you MUST have good seed to soil contact. Seeding on top of dead matter will lead to failure.

A Seeding Guide

Why should I overseed my lawn?  Overseeding is the planting of grass seed over an existing lawn. Overseeding corrects thin lawns, or prevents thinning, by compensating for the natural slowdown of the turf’s reproduction or turfgrass death from environmental stresses. Overseeding introduces new and improved turfgrass varieties into your lawn that out compete weeds and fill in bare spots. By doing this, the lawn stays healthy and you seldom have to start over.

The best time for overseeding is late summer to early fall. Weeds are less active at this time so the seed will germinate better, temperatures are cooler, the ground is warm and you have great growing months ahead.

How do I begin?  Choose the proper seed for the growing conditions of your lawn.  A good one is Black Beauty grass seed mixtures for their beautiful dark green look, drought tolerance, along with its disease and insect resistance.

Test your soil pH to see if Mag-I-Cal is needed, ideally your lawn should have a pH of 6.5 to 6.8. Then, check your lawn for soil compaction and overall soil health, to determine if Love Your Soil is needed. To test for soil compaction, push a screw driver into the soil. If this proves difficult, your soil is compacted. If your soil has clay, sand, is light in color, or has a dusty composition it is missing essential microbes and Love Your Soil could be applied either once or twice a year, between the months of May and early September, depending on its severity.

If the lawn has not been mowed, do so before raking the ground to loosen the soil. While raking, remove dead grass, stones, sticks, etc. from the lawn area. In the case of larger areas, use of a rented, motorized, thatching machine can be helpful in the establishment of a seed bed.

Apply Winter Survival or Green-Up for Seeding and Sodding and soil foods, such as Mag-I-Cal and/or Love Your Soil. These products can be applied the same day as the seed.

If following our organic program, apply Mag-I-Cal for Acidic Soil or Mag-I-Cal for Alkaline Soil, along with our Organic Lawn Food if it has been over 2 months since your last lawn fertilization. These products can also all be applied on the same day as the grass seed.

How do I accurately apply grass seed?  Apply seed at the proper rate, preferably with a spreader. For proper application see the back of all product bags for accurate rates and settings. For maximum germination, please be sure that the grass seed is in firm contact with the loosened soil. Grass seed should be raked lightly so it is covered by 1/4 inch of soil.

How often should I water?  The seed bed should be kept moist for a few weeks while the grass seed is germinating. Light waterings, 2 to 3 times a day, are of benefit during the early days when the newly seeded area is establishing. Within a few weeks, after the newly seeded grass needs to be mowed, you can decrease your watering schedule.

Is it possible to seed too heavy?  All plants need ample space for roots to spread. By spreading your grass seed too thickly on the ground, roots have to compete with each other to grow. Some seeds push through quickly and others fail to grow a deep root structure at all. As a result, you have a patchy lawn that still struggles as the seedlings fight for nutrients.

When will my grass seed sprout?  Perennial Ryegrass germinates the quickest, sometimes in 5 days, however it usually takes 10-14 days.  Fine fescues including the creeping, chewing, and hard types usually take about 10-20 days. Tall Fescue usually takes 10-20 days but can be slow to establish under colder temperatures.  Kentucky Bluegrass is the slowest to germinate, usually in 14-30 days and longer with cold temperatures.  Remember, germinate means start to grow.  You cannot expect a filled in lawn in 10 days!

Mow the new grass once it reaches 4” high. Keep the mowing height at 3” except for the last cut of the year which should be 2 inches in height.  This is very important for your lawn during the winter months. The shorter mowing height helps the grass plant roots survive winter stress.