Even in well-maintained lawns, spot or general seeding is sometimes needed. Lawns can thin because of weather, or as a result of damage caused by insects or diseases. Some badly damaged lawns need to be completely rebuilt before regular maintenance can do much good.

There are three general categories of seeding: spot seeding, overseeding, and renovation. The type that’s right for your lawn depends on the condition of your turf. Whatever type of seeding is done, there are three important rules to follow:

  • High-quality seed should always be used;
  • The seed has to make good contact with the soil;
  • Enough water has to be supplied to assure germination and establishment.

Deciding on the best seeding system for you

  • Spot seeding is a quick and easy way to repair things like ruts along driveways, areas worn by foot traffic, and small areas that have died. To spot seed, use a stiff rake or potato hoe to cultivate the soil and break open the surface. Apply seed to the open seedbed and gently tamp down.
  • Overseeding distributes the seed over a large area. This works well when the lawn just needs a general “thickening up.” Overseeding can be done along with aeration, or by itself, but doesn’t work too well when there is a heavy thatch layer.
  • Renovation is for lawns that have excessive thatch or are so thin that only a complete rebuild will get the lawn back in shape. Renovation can be done several ways: old sod can be removed with a sod cutter; the lawn can be dethatched and seeded; or slice seeding can be used. Slice (or verti-cut) seeding is probably the best because it “drills” the seed into the soil without having to remove a large amount of thatch.

Seed anytime of year, but...

It’s true that seeding can be successful any time of year, but spring and summer seeding require a lot more care and water, and weeds and crabgrass create a lot more competition. Late summer or fall seeding is ideal. Early fall is preferred because seeds germinate faster in the warm soil and continue to establish themselves through the cooler weather of fall and winter. There’s also more natural water in the fall so less sprinkling is needed.

Whenever you choose to seed, remember to keep the seed moist until you have good germination. Sprinkle lightly several times a day during hot weather until the grass is 1” tall. Also, avoid any type of weed control until the new grass has been mowed 3 or 4 times.

Need help with seeding?

Contact NutriGreen — your local fertilization & weed control experts.