Overseeding is defined as planting new grass seeds in your lawn. We all want fresh, healthy, and green grass, but after a tough summer or a cold winter, the grass gets dull. This is when overseeding becomes necessary to regain the best look of your grass. So if you notice that your grass is getting old and doesn’t have a fresh look, you should spread new seeds over your existing lawn. After overseeding your lawn, it may take up to two weeks until you see results because it depends upon the grass seeds’ age, so don’t worry too much about the grass’s growth.
Along with proper maintenance, timing also plays an essential role in keeping your grass healthy and fresh. After overseeding, you need to change some of your gardening practices for effective results. Timing after overseeding plays a significant role in bringing about successful results.
Mowing After Overseeding, what is the best way?
In general, after overseeding your grass, you need proper timing and the correct mowing technique. The seed that you have planted will need time to get used to the grass conditions, so within the first two to four weeks of overseeding, avoid mowing your lawn because your mower can cause a lot of unrest and put pressure on the grass. When the grass grows to three and a half inches, you can mow your lawn. It is also recommended to keep your mower at the highest height during your first mow after overseeding. Do not cut more than 1/3 of your grass blades in a single mow.
This article will help you understand the most common mistakes people make after overseeding their lawn, which is why not getting effective results. You will also learn about the right time to mow your grass and the key factors you need to consider before mowing.
How to take Care of your Lawn after Over Seeding
Overseeding is without a doubt one of the most important and beneficial lawns caring services that you can provide to your grass, but what you should do after overseeding your lawn is just as important. Overseeding is primarily performed in the fall because it is most suitable for this cool season’s grass. Aeration can be done on the warm season grass, but they do not require overseeding. August and October are the most suitable months for overseeding. Combining aeration with overseeding is also recommended because it allows an effective contact of seeds with your lawn’s soil. This helps in a healthier environment for the seeds to become a plant, also known as the germination process.
After aerating and overseeding your lawn, proper maintenance for several weeks is necessary for the seeds’ successful germination. During the first two weeks, you should not pressure on and avoid walking on your grass to allow for proper germination. Seeds will begin to germinate throughout the first month. Also, you should water your lawn in the morning to prevent the risk of fungus and diseases.
The reason for watering your lawn in the morning is that the moisture can reach the roots while the leaves can dry out. Night or evening watering creates a very humid environment and should be avoided. Excess moisture, combined with high summer temperatures at night, with humidity are ideal conditions for severe disease problems.
Soil moisture is essential for seeds to germinate effectively. However, seeds need moist soil that is not too thin to grow in. Therefore, during the first two weeks, water the affected areas twice a day, or more under dry conditions, and moisten the topsoil up to ¼ inches. As the seeds start to germinate, the frequency of irrigation decreases, but the irrigation time increases. Water now needs to get into the root zone and therefore must penetrate the soil, which means that the top 4 to 6 inches of soil are moist.
Seeds need a lot of water to grow well – much more than the normal required water throughout the year. So watering your lawn at least once in the morning is necessary if it’s not too hot. Otherwise, water your lawn twice a day, depending upon the temperature. Be sure to water all the exposed areas thoroughly then you can restart your standard irrigation system after the first few days.
After watering your lawn for a couple of weeks, you will notice a certain growth in your grass. This is the right time for the first mow after overseeding. If your yard is lined with cooler grass such as Kentucky bluegrass or fescue, the recommended grass height is from 2.5 to 4 inches. The reason is that these types of grasses grow effectively during the spring and fall seasons.
Grass for the warm season, however, grows best in summer – Bermuda grass and soybean grass are the best examples of these types of seasonal grasses. These grasses start from 2 to 3 inches high. Identifying the grass types before seeding is key to know the best mowing height. Once these height levels have been determined, you can mow your lawn for the first time.
Generally, however, you should not mow between the first two to four weeks after overseeding and aerating your lawn. That’s because this is the time for root formation, and disturbing your lawn during this time can affect your grass’s growth. So for the grass’s mowing height, you should not mow your grass at a shorter height. The mowing height should be at least three inches. Trimming your grass shorter can stop grass blades from collecting enough moisture due to the loss of shade. As such, you should set your mowing machine at the highest height possible to mow the grass at the desired length.
Overseeding requires proper mowing, watering, and composting for the seeds to germinate. This will help both root formation and grass growth. You can continue mowing when the grass reaches a sufficient height to mow according to the above instructions. Also, the soil must be dry enough when mowing your lawn because the blades of your mowing machine can damage your grass when the soil is wet. The blades of your mower should be sharp enough to cut the grass evenly and effectively.
Mowing your lawn after overseeding should be done very carefully to avoid any grass damage and so the following techniques should be kept in mind when mowing for the first time.
- Mower Blades: The first rule to follow when you mow your lawn is to keep the blades sharp. Remember that you have to sharpen your blades after every 20 hours of mowing. Many hardware stores can do this for a small fee, and it is well worth the effort because a dull blade will cut grass unevenly and affect growth.
- Patience: When mowing for the first time after overseeding, you should not rush things –try to move slowly and turn your mower gently to avoid tearing off new seedlings. Their roots are still growing, and they will not hold the grass stems in the ground as tightly as mature plants.
- Never mow a wet lawn: Since this is your first mow after overseeding, take each step with caution.As such, try to avoid mowing when the grass is wet or during the watering session. Wet grass can be torn and compacted by your mower and will be pulled up by the roots.
- Mowing Height: As discussed above, the mower should be set at the highest height to mow the grass long enough so as not to disturb the root system. The grass should not be cut more than 1/3 of its total height. This will usually ensure a healthier look. The advantage of these rules is also that you do not have to mow your lawn often.
- Mow Mulching: Try to leave your grass clippings on your lawn just so long as they do not pile up. They will provide nutrients to the soil and maintain moisture without adding too much to thatch. But if seeding weeds are also on your lawn, then you should mow your lawn with a bag attached to your mower and collect the grass clippings in that bag to dispose of them far enough away from your lawn to stop the weeds subsequently growing again.
Tips for Successful Results from Overseeding
Sometimes people do not get the desired results after overseeding because of some mistakes that cost them both time and money. So be sure to avoid these mistakes to get the healthy and fresh look that you want.
- The Right Equipment: Some people just spread the seeds on their lawn when seeding and do not use the right equipment. I recommend you use a slit seeding machine with a mechanical slit seeder. It has vertical cutting blades that cut through a grass layer and open a lump or small ditch in the ground. The depth of the furrow or slit depends on the type of grass seed used. Generally, you should not go deeper than half the length of the grass seed pod.
The vertical blades of this slit seeding machine keep the slit open while the seeds are discarded. This ensures good seed contact with the soil, which helps seeds penetrate the soil from where they can germinate. Using this type of slit seeding machine takes less seed than the traditional method because most of the seed goes into the soil to germinate. Multiple contacts with the soil mean a higher germination rate and new turf that looks fresh and healthy.
- Overseeding at the Wrong Time: The perfect time to overseed your lawn is when a new life has a great opportunity to grow. You don’t want to overseed too early or too late before the frost occurs and kill the seeds. You also won’t want to do it when the temperature is at its peak during the summer, and the heat suppresses the growth of your grass.
For winter grasses, it is recommended to overseed your lawn during fall or spring. Summer grasses, common in the southern grasslands, grow best in the spring or early summer.
- Avoid Overseeding During Dry Conditions: Overseeding is most effective for your grass when the soil of your lawn is considerably moist and wet. Dry and compacted soil is difficult to penetrate and requires extra human effort to compress the equipment. Especially in times of drought when the grass is already damaged, it is best to wait for a good amount of rain.
- Weed Control: This is necessary for the healthy growth of your grass, but applying chemicals and herbicides can damage the seedlings and new blades of the young grass. Even organic and natural solutions can pressure young plants, so it is usually best to wait until your lawn is strong before applying any weed control agents. I recommend you wait until you cut your new grass four to five times before weeding out any weeds that appear.
Overseeding can negatively affect your grass if you do not give it proper attention and use the best ways to mow your grass. Mowing right after overseeding stops the growth of the grass and damages the seeds. As such, you should wait for two to four weeks until the grass reaches the height of three to four inches to mow it perfectly.
Proper watering is essential for seeds to germinate effectively. You should irrigate your lawn at least once a day to give its soil enough moisture. When mowing, set your mower at the highest height because mowing your grass shorter can damage the grass blades. Also, make sure that your mower’s blades are sharp to cut the grass evenly and properly.