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3 Things You Have to Do Before Overseeding Lawns

3 Things You Have to Do Before Overseeding Lawns

Winter is almost here and many local lawn care companies have finished overseeding lawns this year as temperatures in the Northeast have dropped below freezing. If you’ve missed the best time for lawn aeration and overseeding this year, don’t worry. We’ll explain how to prepare for overseeding your lawn in 3 easy steps.

Looking for DIY steps for choosing grass seed, or how to prep your lawn for Winter? Check back with our blog monthly for more tips, tricks, and lawn care best practices.

When's the best time for overseeing an existing lawn? 

The best time to overseed your lawn is in the Fall, and then again in the Spring as needed. But if you missed the window this year, don’t stress. There’s still time to get the healthiest green lawn growing for next Summer. 

Overseeding in Fall is a good idea because lawns tend to take on a lot of stress and compaction over the Summer, and Fall is the time of year when our lawns get a little less use as they prepare for Winter. Usually, when you overseed in the Fall, grass seed has enough time to take root and is ready to “spring” into action when the ground thaws after Winter. 

If you missed the Fall reseeding window, it’s still a good idea to prepare your lawn for Winter and to reseed in the Spring as the ground thaws. Whether reseeding in Fall or Spring, here are three things you need to do before laying seed in your yard.

What do I need to do before overseeing my lawn? 

Preparing your lawn for overseeding is important so that your lawn has the best chance of success when seeds are ready to germinate. Seeds need to be able to reach the sun, water, and soil that will nurture them into adulthood, so preparing your lawn helps increase the seeds’ access to nutrients. 

Here are three things you should do to prepare your lawn for overseeding:

1. Mow and dethatch your lawn. This will be the last mow of the Fall or the first mow of the Spring season. If you’re reseeding in the Fall, cut your grass a bit shorter than you did throughout the growing season (between 2 and 3 inches tall). If you’re reseeding in the Spring, only mow if your lawn is overgrown and dry enough to mow without disturbing any previously planted grass seed or creating ruts in the soil. Dethatch with a metal rake, clearing the soil of sticks, dried grasses, and debris. Compost these items, toss them into the woods, or, as a last resort, put them into a compost-friendly bag for curb pick up. 

2. Aerate. Aeration serves a number of functions and drastically increases your grasses’ chances for growth success. Aeration reduces the compaction that soil experiences throughout the Summer, giving grassroots a better chance of reaching nutrients in the soil and water. It allows budding grassroots to reach more soil surface area and dig deeper into the Earth, creating more resilient plants. It also helps the seeds “settle in” to the soil, reducing the likelihood that they’ll get washed away by rain or eaten by birds. 

3. Avoid herbicides and fertilizers. We don’t recommend applying pre-emergent herbicides or fertilizers when you’re reseeding, because they can interfere with your seedlings. Herbicides and fertilizers can stun the seeds and drastically affect the pH and nutrient balance of your soil. Give grass seed at least a couple of weeks before applying herbicides. If you choose to use fertilizer, be sure to do it after reseeding, not before. 

It’s also a good idea to make sure you have the right grass seed for your lawn type, based on your climate and sun/shade mix.

What to do if you missed your overseeing window this Fall

If you missed your Fall overseeding window, prepare your lawn for reseeding in the Spring. Or, call us. We’ll help you prepare your lawn for Spring reseeding so that you can still get new growth before Summer. Stay updated with our blog tips and best practices for your lawn next year!