As we discussed in last week’s blog on aeration, the best time to prepare your lawn for next summer is in the fall. Working on your lawn in the fall allows you to take advantage of a still warm ground, which is ideal for seed germination, and cooler temperatures, better for grass growth. We spoke last week about aeration and why it is important to aerate your lawn. Aeration helps break down root thatch and allows water and nutrients to penetrate deep into the roots of your existing turf. The “plugs” opened up by aeration provide your lawn with the perfect environment for overseeding.
What is overseeding?
Overseeding is the practice of spreading grass seed over an existing lawn. This is done to help increase turf density, help fill in thin spots, and rejuvenate old lawns. Overseeding is important for cool season bunch type grasses, such as fescue, ryegrass, and bluegrass, all of which are very popular in Central Indiana. The fall is the best time to overseed your lawn because it allows your new grass to mature during the fall and spring before having to brave its first summer. Summer is the time when most lawns are the most stressed and susceptible to drought and disease. If your new grass is not at peak health during the summer, it might not survive.
How do I overseed my lawn?
There are a couple of different options when overseeding your lawn. The first is a drop spreader. As its name implies, this type of spreader drops the grass seed directly below the spreader. This type of spreader is perfect for small areas where a high level of control is needed. However, when overseeding a large area, it is recommended that you use a broadcast spreader. These types of spreaders are the most common and can be used to apply grass seed and fertilizer to lawns in warm months, along with salt to driveways in winter months. When using a broadcast spreader, it is important to watch how far the seed is broadcast on the lawn. You want to make sure that you slightly overlap each “pass” with the spreader to ensure a uniform dispersion of the seed.
What types of grass should I use for my lawn?
This is a very common question and one that is not easily answered. There are numerous variables that will come into play when determining the best type of seed for your lawn. Is most of your grass in the shade, or does it get direct sunlight? Do you like a lower maintenance lawn or a high maintenance lawn? Do you prefer short, thin blades or tall, thick blades of grass? All of these questions will need to be answered before you can pick out the best grass seed for your lawn. Ask a professional at your local lawn and garden center for guidance.
Grass seed blends vs. Grass seed mixes
Bags of grass seed will be labeled as a “blend” or a “mix”, but it is important to know the difference between the two. A “blend” is when different types of the same grass seed are mixed together. For example, a bluegrass blend will have multiple types of bluegrass, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. They are combined, in different percentages, to give your seed the best chance to germinate and create a healthy lawn. A “mix” is the same thing, only instead of different types of the same grass, it is a mixture of different varieties of grasses. For example, in Central Indiana, most mixes will contain different percentages of bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass. The types of seed, along with their percentages, are chosen to give your lawn a robust, and healthy, final product. If given a choice, mixes are preferred over blends because they offer a greater genetic diversity. This genetic diversity gives your lawn a better chance to fight off disease, drought, and insects.
If you have any questions about overseeding, or anything else about fall lawn prep, please contact us at (317) 575-1100, of fill out the form below.