How to reseed your lawn
A well-maintained vibrant lawn can enhance any garden. Although it is large when proportionally balanced with other elements of your garden, we would go as far as to say, it can serve as a primary focal point. Lawn maintenance is not always an easy task, but it can be achieved with a little know-how.
How to tell if a lawn needs a repair or reseeding?
If your lawn looks very patchy but is still showing plenty of grass blades, you might just get away with overseeing. Overseeding is a seed application over an existing lawn. To find out more about overseeding, click here.
If your lawn is covered in weeds and moss and barely shows any presence of the grass, it is time to reseed it. It is a more labour demanding and time-consuming task but, in this instance, it is the right choice.
When is the best time to reseed the lawn?
You might have come across advice such as reseeding is best done in the late summer or early autumn. This time a year the ground remains warm and there is still time for seeds to germinate before winter. This is true.
Grass roots establish better in the autumn as the grass does not invest extra energy into flower production and can solely focus on the root’s growth. But let’s face it, most people don’t want to go through the trouble of reseeding the lawn before winter as it is not the time to enjoy and appreciate the new lawn.
If you have similar thoughts, we fully support you and your decision. If you are planning on redoing your lawn in the spring, there is no rule against it, but there are certain factors to be aware of:
- In the growing season, grass invests large amounts of energy into flower production followed by seed formation, therefore, less energy is spent on root development. Mow the new lawn (as it grows) twice a week to prevent this.
- The lawn needs to be irrigated daily during heat waves. If you don’t have an irrigation system installed, water the lawn using a garden hose, ideally in the evening. This time a day the soil retains moisture and water doesn’t evaporate rapidly.
- Any weed seeds germinate at the same time resulting in competing for space and moisture. As the weeds are appearing, regular spraying will need to be undertaken using selective weed killer (For more information consult your local supplier)
How to reseed the lawn?
- Kill existing lawn and weeds
- Turn the soil over and remove any remaining roots
- Level the soil
- Seed and fertilise
- Rake seed into the soil and press soil down
- Water well
Kill existing lawn and weeds
Before you start your lawn restoration ensure to eliminate the existing greenery. The easiest way to achieve this is the use of weed killers. Chemical products such as Roundup kill plants including roots and fully degrade in the soil within days meaning that any unwanted inorganic substances will disappear from the soil.
Please ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions prior to applications.
Turn the soil over and remove any remaining roots
After spraying and killing the grass and weeds, stronger roots of perennial plants are still present in the soil. The good news is that they are necrotic.
If you choose to turn the soil over using a rotavator, the chances are that the roots and any debris will be shattered and destroyed. In that case, no further action is needed.
However, if your preferred equipment is a garden fork, you might come across unwanted material remaining. As you are forking the soil over, eliminate any debris. Larger course material such as stones can be buried in the soil as it improves drainage. Break up large soil clumps as you go along. Smaller soil clumps mean smaller air pockets.
Level the soil
By turning the soil over you have created large air pockets in the soil. This has caused the soil level to rise. However, the newly aerated soil will now begin to break down, resulting in soil compressing followed by sinking. To avoid this, proper soil levelling is crucial.
After forking or rotavating, rake the soil to eye-pleasing level. Any larger soil clumps can easily be broken down by flat rake. After the first rake, run a lawn roller over the lawn several times to press soil down.
By now, you should have produced bumps and dips. This isn’t a problem, simply break the texture of topsoil with a rake, especially the bumps and level again. Now, roll again. The bumps and dips should be greatly reduced, and the soil is almost level.
For the last time break the topsoil structure with a rake and level. You can turn the rake flat side down for a neater finish. Focus on filling the dips with soil from the bumps. If your lawn borders with the patio or terrace, slope the soil away from it. You should aim for 1 cm per metre. This will prevent water from running down and creating puddles on your pavement.
Seed and fertilise
If you read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, it tells you the recommended amount per metre square. For example, it may recommend 30 grams per m2.
The easiest way to do this is to know the size of the area you are dealing with. You will know exactly how much fertiliser and seed you will need. Now, divide the final amount by half. Apply the first half of a product walking backwards handful at a time by throwing it from one to two metres away. Do the same with the other half of products but this time working the cross way. In larger areas, use of a spreader is a viable option.
Note: do not attempt to do this when the soil is wet. The fertiliser and seed together with soil will stick to your shoes.
Rake the seed into the soil and press down
Using the metal leaf rake, gently rake the seed in. You don’t have to apply any additional pressure, instead, let the rake do its work by its own weight. Too much pressure on the rake could place seeds into groups leading to patchy lawn.
Use a garden roller for the last time to ensure the seeds have proper contact with the soil. Without contact, they could dry out in the heat and not germinate. Furthermore, the wind could blow any remaining loose seeds away.
Water your newly seeded lawn well and ensure it is watered daily during dry spells. Seeds need moisture to germinate, and the roots need water for proper establishment.
We use the term “water the lawn” but be careful here. Use a hose gun to spray it with water and don’t focus too much on one spot. If you would see puddles being created, move away from that spot. Puddles will wash seeds away from one spot to another, again, resulting in a patchy lawn.
After correct lawn reseeding, you should start seeing results within 14 days, but it is usually sooner. 7–10 days might be enough. When the new grass blades are approximately 4 inches long you can mow the lawn using a lawnmower. It might be tempting to use an electric strimmer if you don’t have a mower but it can often do damage. The strimming line moving in slow rotation often pulls the grass blades out instead of cutting them. Mower with sharp blades is a better option.
In the spring and summer, your new grass will try to produce flowers, followed by seed formation. Try to eliminate this whenever possible. Flowers and seeds produced consume too much plant energy. By removing then regularly, this energy can be redirected into root development. Mow your lawn at least once a week.
When your once prestigious lawn is now covered in moss and weeds, don’t let it struggle anymore. Don’t hesitate to reseed the lawn, as right now, it is the kindest option. It doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Follow our free advice for optimal results.