How to Overseed a Lawn (6 Simple Steps)

Published Categorized as Sod & Seed

If your lawn is not as lush as you wanted it to be, it is time to revitalize it. The good thing is you can now follow these six simple steps to overseed a lawn and achieve the lawn you want!

To overseed a lawn, you need to:

  1. Mow the lawn.
  2. Rake the lawn.
  3. Amend the soil.
  4. Spread the grass seed.
  5. Add fertilizer.
  6. Water the lawn.

Without further ado, let us look at the steps you can take to overseed a new lawn. Of course, we start with a recap of what topics this article will have:

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Overseed a Lawn

You have planted grass for years or recently installed new sod, but weeks or months have passed without good results? While there could be many reasons for this problem, such as ground moles or other pests in your yard, all is not lost. It would be best if you kept trying.

After all, a lush lawn does not grow overnight. You have to toil to have a blossoming lawn your family can walk or sit on. Here are the six steps to overseeding a lawn to make it dense, healthy, and as lush as you’ve always wanted. 

Also read: How to Reseed a Dead Lawn

Step 1. Mow the Lawn

Isn’t the intention of overseeding to ensure the seeds get in contact with the soil? You cannot achieve that with tall grass. The first step, then, is to mow the lawn. When mowing, ensure you cut the grass as short as possible.

Experienced gardeners argue that if you’ve been mowing your grass to 1 inch, aim at making it 0.5 inches or shorter. If possible, more until you can expose the topsoil.

After mowing, bag all the clippings and debris in the yard. In other words, ensure there is nothing on the ground apart from the topsoil you’ve exposed during mowing.

Also read: Bermuda Seed Heads Good or Bad?

Step 2. Rake the Lawn

How to overseed a lawn

After mowing, now is the time to rake the whole area. Like mowing, you want to remove any additional grass, weeds, or debris you may have left when mowing. Using a handheld rake for small yards or a wheeled rake for large yards, ensure you expose as much topsoil as possible. 

Do not underestimate raking because it helps loosen the topsoil in preparation for overseeding. Besides, loosening the soil helps germinate the seeds and faster root development. 

ICYMI: The Ultimate Guide to Killing Moles with Marshmallows

Step 3. Amend the Soil

By now, chances are you do not know why your lawn isn’t as lush as you desire, but you can guess. One of the main reasons lawns don’t do well is the lack of nutrients in the soil. If that is the case, you must add nutrients to the soil.

One way of adding nutrients to the soil is by feeding it with suitable amendments. I am not talking about fertilizer but “soil amendments.” Do not confuse the two. Soil amendments are incredible at adding essential nutrients to the soil before you overseed. 

Some of the soil amendments you can think of include:

  • Poultry manure
  • Wood chips
  • Sphagnum peat
  • Straw
  • Wood ash
  • Sawdust
  • Biosolids
  • Compost
  • Grass clippings
  • Animal manure

Soil amendments raise the soil pH. However, be careful when adding sulfur amendments because they may increase acidity in the soil, thus hampering seed germination and subsequent grass growth.

From my experience, adding compost on sandy soil or peat moss on clay soil will help add nutrients to the lawn. 

If you are unsure of the soil’s pH, conducting a soil test to determine the soil’s acidity and alkalinity levels would be prudent. Perhaps you will do a test before deciding whether you will use soil amendments.

NB. If, after the test, the soil shows a neutral pH, then there would be no point in adding the amendments. 

Also read: 7 Proven Ways to Get Rid of Armadillos in Yard

Step 4. Spread Your Grass Seeds

Now that you’ve prepared the soil, it is time to spread the grass seeds. Using a seed spreader, spread about 16 seeds for every square inch. You can still use your hand to spread the seeds if you do not have a spreader.

Knowing the type of grass, you want to plant because different grasses do well in certain weather conditions, is essential.

For instance, warm-season grasses do well in warmer climates like those found in the southern part of the United States, while cool-season grasses thrive in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeastern climates.

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map helps decide which grass does better in a particular climate. 

Step 5. Add Fertilizer

However fertile the soil may be, chances are the seeds will not germinate or even sprout without the right organic fertilizer. Again, you can use a spreader to ensure the fertilizer reaches every part of the soil. 

Whether using a snap spreader, handheld spreader, drop spreader, liquid spreader, or broadcaster spreader, ensure fertilizer touches every part of the lawn you are overseeding. 

Step 6. Water the Lawn

You are now at the last step of how to reseed a lawn. At this point, you need to water the lawn so that the grass seeds, organic nutrients, and fertilizer can mix with the soil in readiness for the seeds to start germination.

Watering is not a one-time thing. From now on, you must water your lawn at least twice a day for the next several weeks. To maximize water intake, it is best to water your seeded lawn in the early mornings and late evenings. 

However, be careful not to overwater your lawn because the seeds will rot instead of germinating if water is lodged in the lawn.

How to Overseed a Lawn FAQs

Q: Will grass seed grow if I just throw it down?

A: Generally, grass seed can grow if you throw it down, but it may not grow to become healthy and dense if the soil is not fertile. 

Q: What is the best month to overseed your lawn?

A: Early fall is the best time to overseed your lawn.

Q: How much topsoil do I need to overseed?

A: For best results, a depth of 10-15cm of topsoil is necessary the grass seeds to establish roots. 

Q: Do I need to aerate before overseeding?

A: Aerating the soil before overseeding is necessary to ensure the soil absorbs air and nutrients needed for germinating grass seeds.

Again, this post contains answers to the following questions:

To Wrap Up

To this end, you have seen that to overseed a lawn; you need to mow the lawn, rake the lawn, amend the soil, spread the grass seed, add fertilizer, and continue to water the lawn for several days. 

If you observe those steps, you will no doubt master how to overseed a lawn, and the results will be incredible.

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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.