Fall is the perfect time for overseeding the lawn! The soil is cool, but the sun is still bright, and the trees are dropping their leaves.
If you haven’t picked up the habit of overseeding your lawn in the fall, now is the time to start! Lawn grass gets weak and sparse with age. Reseeding helps to fill out those thin patches and get them looking lush and green again. Here’s how it works and why it’s so important.
Why We Recommend Overseeding Lawns in Fall
Fall is the perfect time for overseeding the lawn! The soil is cool, but the sun is still bright, and the trees are dropping their leaves, which means there’s even more sunshine for shady lawns. That light helps grass seeds to germinate and take root. Pathogens that can harm developing seedlings are much less active in fall, so your lawn has a better shot at success.
If you don’t get around to overseeding your lawn in the fall, you can also do it in spring. However, we find fall overseeding yields better results.
What Should I Use for Overseeding Lawns?
Choose a grass seed that’s compatible with your landscape. For example, if you’ve got a lawn that has bright sun in some spots but total shade in others, you can use Scotts Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix.
You’ll also want to follow up your overseeding with an application of fertilizer to help fuel growth and build strong roots fast. Some grass seed mixes intended for overseeding will have fertilizer already in the mix, which makes the process a little simpler. If you need fertilizer for your grass seed, we recommend Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass. It’s perfectly balanced to give your grass seed the right blend of nutrients to set them up for a successful year.
Overseeding Your Lawn in Five Steps
Overseeding is simple! Here’s what you need to do to get it ready before the snow falls.
1) Mow the Lawn Low
We don’t typically recommend mowing your grass short, as it isn’t ideal for the long-term health of your grass, and it makes it easier for weeds to take over the space. However, when you’re spreading a bunch of fresh grass seed around, cutting the lawn short will make it easier for those grass seeds to find a spot to lay down some roots.
2) Rake the Leaves
Your trees will be dropping lots of leaves in the fall, and you don’t want them to block the seeds from reaching the soil. Rake up those bad boys and toss them into the compost bin!
3) Consider Amending the Soil
You can apply seed blends formulated specifically for overseeding directly onto the lawn. However, if you’re using a standard grass seed mix, it helps to spread a thin layer of enriched soil across the lawn. A ¼-inch layer of soil fortified with fertilizer will work perfectly.
4) Spread That Seed!
Use a lawn spreader and follow the instructions on the package of your chosen grass seed product.
5) Water and Fertilize
Water in that grass seed thoroughly, and keep watering every three days or so to help it get established. If your grass seed isn’t already enriched with fertilizer, use our Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food for New Grass to give your new grass the nutrients it needs for its first stages of life.
The pro’s at Wallace’s Garden Center know all about overseeding lawns in Iowa, so if you need any assistance or product recommendations, you know where to find us! We’re always happy to help.