Overseeding is often frustrating because it just doesn’t come up like you’d want it to. Sound familiar? I didn’t think so. If you can tuck kids to bed and give them breakfast, you can grow grass. I promise.
Early evening is the best time to tuck the kiddos in so you can sneak back to the TV and computer. Early spring and fall are the best times to seed grass so it has time to grow before a stressful summer or winter hit.
Master the basic theory after the video. Skip to the end if you want the 5 simple steps to success.
Overseeding (video 6:48)
Grass seed needs four things to germinate.
Too much moisture and the seed will drown and rot. Too little moisture and of course it will dry up dead, unless it has never been moistured yet, like when it is resting in the bag on a shelf in the store or in a truck or under that half used bag of potting soil in the garage. Rule of thumb, ½ inch of water per week when day time highs are under 70 degrees F, 1 inch of water per week when temps are above 70. A light mulch cover of straw or PennMulch will help keep moisture from evaporating as well. I think it’s better to split the weekly water tab into 2 or 3 waterings per week, but no more. This means you will NOT be watering every morning like I explain on the video.
Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass that we use need a soil temperature of 55-65 in order to germinate. Since the weather pretty much dictates soil temps, seed when the “iron his hot”. GreenCast online has a great soil temperature map of the USA. Here again a light mulch helps keep in the warmth and boosts germination in early spring or late fall.
Grass sprouts need oxygen when they break through the seed to grow. When the ground is overwatered it drowns the plant so that it cannot take oxygen from the air. Most grass plants do not have fins like fish. Aeration greatly contributes to extra oxygen to the roots.
A seed can grow underground, without light, for only so long before it dies. Photosynthesis requires light to create food for the plant which keeps it growing. Therefore, seed that is deeper then about ½ an inch most likely will not make it to the surface. Less is more when mulching with straw or PennMulch.
That’s all there is too it! Now that you’ve got the theory,
Follow these steps to git-R-done.
- Till or scuff or chew your dirt to at least 1 inch deep.
- Spread the seeds as thick as candy sprinkles on Turkey Hill Vanilla ice cream.
- Lightly rake the seeds into the soil from the surface to 1” deep. There is more moisture under cover and actually warmer. Don’t go too deep. You are sacrificing oxygen AND light Think about it. Seeds that are planted 1” above the ground probably will not root well since it is very frustrating to suspend moisture 1” above the ground for a sustained time.
- Lightly mulch with straw or PennMulch. This gives warmth and holds in moisture. Here again, less is more, or the oxygen and light are compromised.
- Water 1” per week. ½ inch of water per week when day time highs are under 70 degrees F, 1 inch of water per week when temps are above 70.
You might be thinking… How late can I overseed this fall?