It was a hot, dry summer. And if you had any irrigation issues in your lawn, you've probably got some bare spots. Or spots from foot traffic, rabbit feeding, urine injury, etc. In my lawn, it's from beagle traffic.
|"Who me?" says Maple the beagle. You can see her footpath past the chicken coop and to the bird feeder, where she (and Hazel, back of photo) love to munch on black oiler sunflower seeds. Sigh.|
Depending on the size of the area you need to reseed, you can approach it a couple ways. The main points of overseeding are to make holes in the ground and get the seed into those holes. Seed needs contact with soil to germinate (that's why topdressing with seed on the soil surface is rarely successful...plus the seed can dry out). You can make holes in a number of ways--rent an aerator or have aeration done for you...or do it manually with tools you have in the garage.
The goal is the same for both methods--lots and lots and lots and LOTS of holes. You can't make too many holes. We recommend making "Swiss cheese" out of the lawn. If you use an aerification machine, mark your sprinkler heads to avoid damage. If you're paying someone to do it for you, emphasize that you want a lot of holes! Request they make holes in multiple directions across the area that needs to be seeded.
Below are photos of "manual" overseeding with a pitchfork...it's a great workout!
Step 1. Collect your tools and equipment: Seed, water (hose or sprinkler), pitchfork and leaf rake.
|Like my dad always says, make sure you have everything on hand before starting a project...|
|Poke yer holes! Lots and lots and lots of holes!|
|If you look really closely, you can see the holes.|
|My seed mix...it's about 50% tall fescue and 35% perennial ryegrass and bluegrass. Works for me!|
|The seed itself!|
|Lightly sprinkle the seed over the area.|
Step 6. After seeding, use a leaf rake to work the seed into the holes. This is a gentle process. You're just lightly pressing the rake to the ground. The seed that works into the holes will germinate best. You do not need to "topdress" with any sand, soil or peat moss. Really, I promise! Just work the seed into the holes.
|Hazel is thinking "But you're in my way of walking to the bird feeder!" Use a leaf rake to gently work the seed into the aeration holes.|
Step 7. Water in the seed. Depending on the daytime temperature, you may have to water a few times a week, but only just to keep things moist. Seed will need water to germinate, so don't skip this step. If you still have your sprinkler system running, that will likely be sufficient. But check these areas for dryness.
|For bigger areas, put out a sprinkler attached to your hose. You can even set a timer to have it automatically water a few minutes each day.|
Perennial ryegrass will germinate in just a few days...bluegrass will take about 10 days. Maintain your lawn as normal--there's no need to avoid the seeded areas with your mower. And go ahead and apply your fall fertilizer--just avoid using any herbicides near your seeded spots. In a few weeks, you can admire your new turf...from your couch as you watch football. Check it off your list--one more fall garden task complete!