Can You Overseed New Sod?

Published Categorized as Sod & Seed

The question of whether or not you can overseed new sod has been around for some time. Experienced and new gardeners often ask, “Can you overseed new sod?” And the simple answer is:

You can overseed new sod with signs of thinning since overseeding helps regain the density of the lost grass.

Although it is a common and essential practice, many people do it wrongly. In this blog, we delve into the pro tips that you will use when overseeding not just new sod but also dead grass. So, grab a chair and sit back as we take you through the process. 

For now, first things first.

Also read: Can You Ride a Lawn Mower While Pregnant?

Can You Overseed New Sod?

Can you overseed new sod?

Yes, you can overseed not just new sod but also dead sod or grass to help fill in the grass that may have been lost due to various reasons. Nobody likes patchy, dotted, thin, or even dead sod. A slim and dry lawn is almost inhabitable to humans and even to ground moles and other lawn pests, such as armadillos that thrive on lush lawns.

There are many reasons why overseeding is a reasonable undertaking. First, it is economical to overseed because buying grass seeds is much more affordable than opting for a complete turf.

Second, the overseeding process is usually more manageable. Third, it is straightforward. 

Fourth, compared to sodding, overseeding is less time-consuming. Generally, installing new sod can take 2–3 days, whereas overseeding the same area will take a few hours. 

Sodding is a bit technical, making it difficult for many people, especially gardeners who are just beginning to build their lawns. However, overseeding is simple, cheap, and easy, making it the perfect alternative to filling in new sod.

For best results, you need to topdress your sod using a mixture of soil and turf blend. The aim of topdressing is to cover the seeds so that they do not burn from excessive heat. 

In addition, make it a habit of reseeding, removing dead grass, aerating your lawn, and topdressing, especially if your yard has poor drainage. 

Related: Bermuda Seed Heads Good or Bad?

When to Overseed New Sod

Generally, the best time to overseed new sod is during early fall/autumn because the weather is temperate. With moderate temperatures, the soil is relatively warm, making it conducive for the grass to grow.

The advantage of overseeding during autumn is that the rains often accompany moisture. Besides, during autumn, days are slightly longer than nights; thus, the soil can observe as much heat as possible during the day. Remember, too, that the ground still has some warmth preserved from summer.

It is also advisable to overseed your sod if you delay removing weeds that grow on your sod during winter. Try as hard as possible to avoid overseeding during winter or summer because you cannot get good results. And here are the reasons:

During summer, the weather needs to provide the soil with more moisture necessary for seed germination. However, you can still overseed during summer, provided you water your lawn 2 – 3 times a day to calm the summer heat. 

But even after doing all you can to overseed new sod, you will still have to wait up to three weeks for the seeds to germinate. Give your new sod additional days (sometimes up to 2 months) for the blades to form. 

Also read: How to Get Rid of Ground Moles with Dawn Soap

Can You Seed Over Dead Sod?

Yes, you can seed over dead sod, but the seeds need to be as wet or moist as possible and be in contact with the soil to germinate. Seeds that fall on dead grass will not grow because for roots to grow, they must be wet and be in close contact with the soil as close as possible. 

But even as you contemplate reseeding over dead sod, there are safe practices that you should keep in mind. 

What Do You Need to Overseed New Sod?

To overseed new sod effectively, you need the following materials and tools:

Grass seed – grass seed is the primary material. There are different types of grass seeds that you can plant in your yard. You can choose grass seeds from any of the following categories:

  • General purpose grasses
  • Hard-wearing grasses
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Shady grasses

Pre-seeding fertilizer – slow-release pre-seeding fertilizer is essential to give your seeds the necessary boost to germinate and grow roots.

Lawnmower – before overseeding, you need to cut the grass to a height of 1 inch or below. You can only achieve a precise cut using Husqvarna Automower 430XH Robotic Lawn Mower with GPS-Assisted Navigation (pictured below). 

Sprinkler and hose – after seeding, you will need to water your lawn for several days. A sprinkler and a hose, long enough to cover your yard, will go a long way in helping you accomplish your mission of overseeding new sod. 

Lawn roller – the work of a lawn roller is to ensure you cover the seeds with soil. You wouldn’t want to throw your grass seed on top of the ground because birds and other pests will feast on the seeds before they germinate. 

Alternatively, you can use a lawn tamper to ensure the seeds come in contact with the soil.

Fertilizer/seed spreader – for small lawns, you will spread the seeds by hand, but if you are dealing with a large portion of land, then a fertilizer or grass seed spreader will help you finish your work fast. 

Depending on your lawn’s size and budget, you can use a hand-held spreader or a wheeled grass seed spreader.

How to Reseed Over Dead Sod

One of the worst problems you will face in your lawn is when your sod dies. The yard will look ugly and uninviting. However, there are a few ways to improve your dead sod. Installing a new sod is perhaps one of the quickest ways, but it isn’t always the best alternative.

You have the option of reseeding over dead sod. Do the following if you choose to reseed dead sod:

1. Conduct a Soil Test

A soil test is crucial because it informs you of your soil’s health. The test will tell you whether the ground has the nutrients needed for germination and further growth of the seeds. 

Besides, conducting a soil test reveals the amount of acid in the ground, which can help you decide whether the soil is fit for seeding. 

2. Mow the Lawn

If you decide to continue with the soil, it is time to mow the ground. Cut the grass to about 1 inch high so you can see the patches. Remember, mowing aims to reveal the areas where you will reseed. 

In addition, you want the seeds to fall on the soil, not to be caught up inside the grass, where they will not germinate for lack of growing medium.

You need to mow your lawn because tall grass will hide the patches, trap your seeds, and block them from reaching the soil. Also, tall grass blocks sunlight from reaching the seeds, yet direct sunlight is essential for germinating seeds.

3. Rake the Lawn

After mowing your lawn, rake it to eliminate dead grass and grass clippings. Raking your lawn also aids in loosening the topsoil, something that helps the seeds to reach the fertile soil below the topsoil. 

In time, raking is essential for the seeds to start rooting fast and further seamless germination.

4. Detach the Lawn

A lot of thatch on the ground will block the seeds from contacting the soil, making the germination process lengthy. But you can lessen the burden by detaching, which helps remove dead layers from the topsoil, thus facilitating nutrient uptake.

5. Aerate the Lawn

The fifth step is to aerate the lawn. Again, the purpose of aerating is to detach the topsoil that may have compacted for one reason or another. When you aerate before reseeding, you allow enough air to enter the soil. 

Aeration also helps to push nutrients from the topsoil to the core of the soil, where seeds will settle. Compact soil blocks grass from developing deep roots; thus, you will likely grow a weak lawn if you do not aerate properly.

6. Reseed

Now is the time you have been waiting for – a time to put the seeds to the ground. Being the epitome of your work, you must do reseeding properly. The best way to approach your reseeding is to separate the seeds into two batches. 

Reseed the first batch in the left direction before you alter the direction to reseed the second batch. By alternating your reseeding, you ensure that the reseeding process is even. When reseeding, do not exceed the recommended amount of 25 grams per square meter.

If your lawn isn’t big, you can reseed it by hand. However, if you are reseeding an expansive lawn, you can opt for a grass seed spreader (pictured) for large yards. 

7. Roll the Lawn

Now that you’ve seeded, roll the lawn to ensure all the seeds go into the ground. Rolling also helps cover the seeds so that birds and other pests, such as armadillos, do not scavenge on them before they take root.

To be sure you’ve covered all the seeds with soil, roll the lawn 1-2 times. 

8. Water

Watering your lawn lightly 2-3 times a day for a few days gives your seeds the best chance of germinating. Generally, the ground should be rehydrated, moist, and calm for germination. 

As the days advance, reduce the number of times and the amount of water you use on your seeds so that you do not suffocate them. Reducing the amount of water in the soil gives seeds a chance to develop roots and subsequent growth.

To Wrap Up

So yes, you can overseed new sod whenever you see signs of thinning to help the grass regain density and recover lost grass. For expansive lawns, you will need an electrical or battery-powered lawnmower to cut the grass before seeding.

You will also need a lawn roller, sprinkler, fertilizer or grass seed spreader, and pre-seeding fertilizer, among other things.

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By Wycliffe Magara

Hi, my name’s Wycliffe Magara, a professional landscaper, journalist, published author, photographer, and lawn attendant. Apart from this site, I also own LawnAffection, Grasstology, and TheScholarshipTipster. I specialize in creating informational content to help you grow a Lifelong Lush Lawn and find the ideal scholarship opportunities no one ever talks about.