Ultimate Guide: 12 Steps to Successful Spring Overseeding for a Lush Lawn

Dated: February 23 2024

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Spring is the perfect time to start thinking about your lawn and garden. After a long, cold winter, it's refreshing to see the first signs of green sprouts popping up from the ground. If you're looking to improve the appearance and health of your lawn, then our friends over at the Grass Pad have all the things you need. In this blog, you will read all about the 12 steps to Spring Seeding. Their helpful and knowledgeable staff are there to answer questions. You can also Click Here to view other ways to keep your yard looking great all year round.

#1 - Why you should measure your lawn

It’s always important to know the size of your lawn area to calculate the correct amount of grass seed, and which size “Idiot-Proof” Lawn Program you will need for your home. Knowing your lawn size helps to avoid an over-application of fertilizer which may result in burning your lawn. There are even apps that can help you measure your property or even walk it and count your steps.

#2 - How to pick the right seed

You have to ask yourself, what are your expectations for your grass performance? What is most important to fit your needs? For example, do you need drought tolerance? Do you want traffic tolerance? Do you have full sun exposure, or is your lawn heavily shaded? You can find more information on which grasses perform the best for your conditions here, or go down to the Grass Pad and talk to one of their Green Team grass seed experts.

#3 - Low mowing your lawn

Prepare your lawn by mowing the grass one or two notches lower than your normal mowing height. Be careful not to scalp. The height of the cut for a low mow will be about 2.5-3 inches if you have fescue or bluegrass lawns. Mowing low will give the grass seeds the best chance to contact the soil.

#4 - Rake up and remove loose debris

Open the pathway for the seeds to hit the soil by removing loose debris from the areas you will be seeding. The grass seeds must be in contact with the ground for the best germination. (Using a bagging attachment to catch your lawn clippings will help remove most of the loose debris)

#5 - Scratch up any bare areas

If you have bare spots, lightly scratch the surface to improve seed-to-soil contact. Avoid using deep penetrating aerators in the spring. The freeze and thaw of winter soils are Mother Nature’s perfect soil aerator. Core aerators will bring weed seeds to the surface to germinate. Deep in the ground, those weed seeds would have remained dormant if left undisturbed. Seed aerating in spring creates more weed problems than any benefits.

#6 - Spread your weed-free grass seed

Spread your Grass Pad weed-free grass seed with a rotary or hand-cranked spreader. The seeding rates vary based on what type of seed you have chosen and your conditions. A good rule for overseeding is 5-10 lbs per 1,000 square feet for fescue seed and 2-4 lbs per 1,000 square feet for bluegrass.

Grass Pad Tip: Extra seed should be applied to bare ground areas, about double the overseeding rate. You can find more information on grass seeding rates at this link, or go to the Grass Pad and talk to one of their Green Team seed experts.

#7 - Feed the new seed

Late February to mid-March - Bring the lawn out of dormancy and have nutrients readily available to young emerging grass plants by fertilizing the entire area with their Loveland Golf Course Starter or Renovator.

#8 - Cover the bare spots

After applying the seed, cover any over-seeded bare spots with a light top dressing of sphagnum peat moss or Primera Sports Field Conditioner. Top dressings will act to hold moisture and absorb sunlight to promote quick germination of the seed.

Grass Pad Tip: Primera Field Conditioner is an excellent remedy for muddy and soggy areas around dog runs, porches, and patios during the early spring thaw.

#9 - Watering the new grass seed

During any extended periods of a spring drought, as weather conditions permit, take your hose and water seeded areas lightly so the soil surface remains moist. Give special attention to repaired bare areas. Bare areas larger than a dinner plate can dry out too quickly from the wind.

#10 - Mow as needed

You should mow the entire lawn as needed to maintain a height of around 3 inches. Mow with a sharp blade at a time when the grass is not wet. Avoid making aggressive turns in newly seeded areas. Mowing straight lines across areas that have been top-dressed will have minimal disturbance to grass seedlings. Do not let the grass get too tall between mowing. Routine mowing is beneficial for root growth on seedlings.

#11 - Seed safe mid-April

Mid-April: Apply Seed Safe, a crabgrass pre-emergent that is safe to use when overseeding. In addition, Seed Safe contains a seed starter fertilizer to get that new grass growing strong. Seed Safe remains working in the soil for about four weeks. See here for more information on Seed Safe and why you should wait to apply.

#12 - Prevent at Mother’s Day!

Mid-May: Apply full-strength PREVENT crabgrass pre-emergent to all areas ONLY after those areas have been filled in and the new grass has matured and grown enough to have been mowed at least twice. See here on why to wait to apply PREVENT.

Be Aware: PREVENT should not be used over areas where grass seed has not germinated. PREVENT will remain active in the soil for 8-10 weeks, preventing all grass seed and crabgrass from germinating.

With the right preparation and care, spring seeding can be a simple and effective way to improve the health and appearance of your lawn. By following these tips, you'll be on your way to a healthy and beautiful lawn that will be the envy of your neighborhood. Remember to stay consistent with your watering and fertilizing routine, and don't be afraid to call in the professionals if you need additional assistance. With a little effort, your lawn will be ready for spring in no time!

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