Just how challenging would it be to learn how to plant grass seed on an existing lawn? With the biting frost in winter and the arrival of the humid season, your property requires some rehabilitation to maintain a patchless grass carpet in spring. It should be an easy, enjoyable, and fun task that can even keep your kids busy! Moreover, there is nothing more satisfying than having a patchless lawn – perfect for hosting weekend barbecue parties, playing with pets, or simply basking under the sun's moderate heat. If you want to know the steps, proper timing, methods, and tips from experts on how to add grass seed to your lawn, keep reading until the end of this page!
Can We Plant Grass Seeds Over Dead Grass?
Yes, it is absolutely possible to seed an existing lawn that appears lifeless, but you will need to play the role of a grass doctor to determine the cause. For instance, you must first investigate if the dead spot is shaded, too soggy, affected by disease, or has been urinated on by a dog (oops). Conducting this simple diagnostic routine will be helpful in preventing a recurrence in the future. And the next step is reseeding! Keep scrolling to learn how to plant a new lawn over an old one!
Best Ways To Plant Grass Seed Over Old Grass
How do I plant grass seed in an existing lawn? The answer is simple and involves at least three techniques. The following methods can be used to add grass seed to your lawn:
Planting by Hand
Will grass seed grow if you just throw it on the ground? Definitely yes! Hand-sowing is the simplest method if you only need to cover a few spots. Take a handful of seeds and spread them over the dead patch, or better yet, involve your kids and introduce them to some basic gardening chores.
Also known as a lawn spreader or rotary spreader, this simple gardening device can help you evenly sprinkle grass seeds on your lawn. It works by controlling the seeding rate, ensuring the right amount of seeds per minute, and can be operated by simply pushing it like a rolling suitcase. Unless you have a golf-course-sized lawn, a seed spreader might be unnecessary.
Another advanced method for reseeding is hydroseeding, which is ideal for hilly lawns or nutrient-poor soil. This technique involves blasting a slurry of grass seeds mixed with nutrients, plant hormones, fertilizers, fillers, and water onto the site, ensuring good establishment of lawns.
How to Plant Grass Seed on an Existing Lawn
After selecting the method that works best for you, it is now time to seed over your existing lawn. Planting grass is as simple as sprinkling salt, but gathering your supplies and familiarizing yourself with the steps is essential to successfully reseed your backyard.
To seed over an existing lawn, you will need the following supplies, and additional equipment if you're covering a large area:
- Garden fork
- Rake Grass seed
- Additional equipment: Seed spreader, hydroseeding pump.
Pay a visit to your local garden depot! Maybe you'll find new friends?
When it comes to reseeding a bare lawn, there's no need to feel overwhelmed. This step-by-step guide will help you through the process with ease:
- Mow the Grass. Mowing overgrown grass will help the overseeds thrive better. Can I put grass seed on top of grass? It is possible, but the growth might be unsightly. It is best to completely remove the grass before replanting to ensure proper seedling establishment.
- _Rake the Clippings._The second step in preparing the ground is to rake the grass clippings to tidy up and clean your lawn. Dead clippings produce heat as they decay, which can hinder grass seed germination. Additionally, leaving plant debris can create a breeding ground for pathogenic fungi, and we certainly don't want that to happen!
- Aerate the Soil. Just like most plants, good root establishment requires oxygenated air. If you're sowing a small part of your lawn, simply tilling the ground with a hoe or a garden fork will suffice. However, for larger areas that need reseeding, it is advisable to use mechanical plugs or spike aerators.
- Fertilize the Lawn. The amount of fertilizer needed varies depending on the soil fertility. If the soil lacks nutrients, adding a few handfuls of complete fertilizer can significantly help the grass seeds grow. Alternatively, applying a thin layer of compost or earthworm castings also improves the soil's condition.
- Sprinkle the Seeds. After loosening the soil, it's time to sow the seeds! As mentioned earlier, you can do it manually or with the help of simple gardening devices. While overseeding is possible, if you have a limited quantity of planting material, it's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Water Your Lawn. Finally, immediately after sowing the seeds, it's crucial to give them a good soak. Keep the ground moist but not soggy to ensure proper soil establishment. In hotter climates, watering up to three times a day is essential until the seedlings have sprouted to prevent root abortion. Once the growth appears lush, reduce the watering frequency to every 7-10 days, depending on the soil moisture.
It's always better to have a guide, even if you're a green thumb. Gardeners are always learning!
Planting in Spring
The question of when to add grass seed to the lawn depends on the plant species and the ideal growth conditions. Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia, and Cynodon grasses thrive best in spring. Wait until the last spring frost has occurred to avoid killing the freshly germinated roots. The ideal temperature should range between 50-70°F (10-21°C). Additionally, the spring rain helps keep the soil consistently moist, resulting in better and faster emergence of the overseeds.
Planting in Fall
Planting in fall follows a similar approach to spring planting. Make sure the average daytime temperature does not exceed 70°F (21°C) to prevent heat damage. However, you also don't want to delay overseeding until the first frost date. If you intend to sow Bentgrass, fine fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, or Perennial Ryegrass, which are cool-season turfs, fall planting is highly advisable.
Tips on How to Plant a New Lawn Over an Old Lawn
If you're feeling nervous about reseeding your lawn and worried about making planting mistakes, don't worry! We have some helpful tips to guide you through the process:
Plant at Night
To reduce the risk of disease when sowing grass seeds, we advise planting them in the evening, dusk, or late afternoon. This timing also helps reduce heat stress, especially if you live in a tropical climate.
Pre-Humidify the Soil
Some gardeners prefer to moisten the lawn before spreading the seeds to aid in the germination process.
Pre-Germinate the Seeds
This is an optional step to encourage fast germination, as the seed coat has already absorbed water. Soaking the seeds in lukewarm water for 30 minutes before overseeding can help. However, keep in mind that wet seeds may be challenging to sow using a seed spreader that requires dry seeds.
Use High-Quality Seeds
High-quality seeds ensure a higher sprouting rate. Coated seeds are also available, containing nutrients, hormones, and fillers that promote healthy growth. These coated seeds are relatively larger in size and less appealing to rodents and birds.
Avoid Burying Seeds
While it's important to lightly rake the overseeds to spread them over the soil, it's crucial not to bury the seeds. Deeply planted seeds may struggle to sprout and may not emerge at all due to the lack of light stimulation required for germination.
Can We Put Grass Seed on Top of Grass?
Yes, you can seed directly on top of existing grass, but the results wouldn't be the same as your expectations. The grass may grow thinly, and the seeds may not sprout uniformly.
When to Add Grass Seed to the Lawn?
Seeds can be sown either in fall or spring, depending on the growth requirements of the turf species. Cool-loving grasses should be planted in the fall, while warm-loving ones should be in spring.
Should We Put Topsoil over Grass Seed?
No, because the light stimulus is often required for the seed to emerge, burying it might slow down or reduce the germination rate. The maximum depth is less than the seed size, meaning it should barely be covered.
Will Grass Seed Grow if You Just Throw It on the Ground?
Yes, but the growth may be frustrating. Seeds may fail to germinate with improper seed-to-soil contact. Hence, we recommend raking it and properly preparing the soil for a thicker turf emergence.
A beatiful lawn is guaranteed! Get a blanket and enjoy a sunny day out. After all this gardening, you surely deserve it.