How to restore your lawn by overseeding
A green and vibrant lawn can make any garden stand out, but to keep it to the required standard is not an easy task. If you are a semi-experienced gardener or a garden aficionado, we’re sure by now you know that the lawn care never really ends.
During the wet winter months, the lawn is exposed to a massive amount of rainfall, often leading to waterlogging. This encourages the moss build-up, making the lawn appear weak. Moss can be controlled by scarifying, but that can produce larger patches needing overseeding.
Another reason for a patchy appearance can be grass dieback, weed removal, petrol spill and even overuse of lawn fertiliser.
Manual weed removal will produce a small patch in the lawn. Don’t worry if you find several smaller or larger bare spots in your lawn, the repair is quite simple and can be resolved by overseeding.
What is the difference between lawn overseeding and reseeding?
In simple terms, overseeding is a seed application over an existing lawn to repair patches and bare spots, whereas reseeding requires lawn removal, soil preparation and seeding again from the scratch.
When should I overseed or reseed the lawn?
You might have come across some advice to overseed or reseed the lawn in the autumn. The ground remains warm and the air temperature still allows the seeds to germinate. However, when winter fast approaches, the lawn will not have sufficient time to re-establish, and your efforts will go to waste.
We recommend overseeding and reseeding the lawn at the beginning or throughout the growing season. This way your lawn will have enough time to be fully restored. However, you should ensure proper irrigating is carried out.
How to overseed
- Small patches
- Large patches
- Entire lawn
How to overseed small patches
Small patches in your lawn are mostly a result of weed removal, an accidental overuse of fertiliser or a dog’s urine. Weed removal, whether done chemically or manually, creates a small hole in the lawn. This can be easily filled with a 3-in-1 lawn repair kit which will be available at almost all garden centres. The lawn repair kit contains peat, grass seed and fertiliser. After application, water well and wait for the results.
Other patches created by accidental fertiliser overuse or a pet’s urine usually kill the grass, leading to a brown spot. In this case, the dead grass needs to be removed prior to repair kit application.
If you have a grass seed sitting around in your garden shed and don’t want to invest in a lawn repair kit, we have a cheaper alternative. Fill the hole with a handful of topsoil from your garden and sprinkle with grass seed. Again, gently press down by hand or foot to ensure the contact of seed with the ground. You can place down a fertiliser granule, but only as much as you can carry between two fingers. Water well and the results should arrive within 14 days.
How to overseed large patches
Large patches and bare spots in your lawn are most likely a result of grass dieback caused by drought, moss removal or damage caused by a scarifier or a mower due to uneven surface.
To repair larger patches, start by removing the thatch remaining. Thatch is a build-up of organic matter, rhizomes and grass roots and can be found on the top of the soil. Remove the thatch back to the soil level by using thatch or a metal leaf rake.
Refill an area with topsoil rather than peat or sand. Peat and sand have difficulty retaining moisture and can easily overheat in the summer. Topsoil, however, retains moisture and contains nutrients if maintained regularly. Again, the soil can come from your borders providing it is free from any weeds and their roots.
Spread the topsoil in the entire problem area from end-to-end to the level of the existing surround. It’s important that you don’t create dips or bumps.
Apply grass seed as recommended on the package provided by the manufacturer. There is no need to apply a larger amount but there is no rule against it either. The amount of grass seed recommended is usually calculated to cover the seed that will germinate, the seeds that will not germinate and even the seeds eaten by birds.
Fertilise straight away. Again, ensure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended amount. Gently rake the seed and fertiliser into the soil and press down by use of feet or garden roller. Water well on the daily bases especially in the summer.
How to overseed entire lawn
One reason for overseeding the entire lawn could be a very weak appearance. At times it might seem like a better option to remove and reseed the weak lawn, if you can see more grass blades than weeds, overseeding will suffice.
First, spray the weeds using a selective weed killer (If unsure, consult your local supplier) and if applicable, apply lawn sand to kill the moss. After the moss and weeds die, scarify the lawn removing as much thatch as possible together with the foliage of the weeds.
Now place a thin layer of topsoil over the whole area. The layer should not be thicker than half an inch to avoid suffocation of existing grass. You can evenly spread the topsoil by use of flat garden rake.
Tip: turn the rake flat side down not to interfere with prevailing grass roots.
Apply grass seed in the amount per square metre advised in the manufacturer’s instructions. You can use a lawn fertiliser straight away, in the amount per metre square as recommended on the package.
Rake the seed into the soil using a leaf rake. Wherever possible, use a lawn roller to press the seeds down to ensure proper contact with the soil.
Note: only use a roller if the topsoil is dry. Moist soil will likely stick to the roller together with the seed.
Water well and keep moist throughout the season. You should start seeing the results within 14 days.
Note; whether you are repairing a small or a large patch, avoid running the mower over freshly overseeded spots. The mower will pick up the grass seeds before they germinate.
To keep your lawn in showroom condition can be difficult, but not impossible. When it comes to repairing your lawn and restoring bare spots in it, overseeding is without a doubt the easiest option. Follow our simple advice for a full and vibrant lawn.