Preparation and After Care for Lawn Overseeding | TruGreen

Steps to Prepare Your Lawn for Overseeding and How to Care for It After

By TruGreen May 10, 2023
new grass growth

Overseeding is an effective turfgrass management technique used to increase turf density and fill in patchy spots in your lawn. The results of overseeding, when applied correctly, are a beautiful, evenly contoured lawn. The lawn overseeding process involves planting the grass directly into the existing lawn. 

To get the most out of overseeding, there are some simple steps and rules to follow, including preparation of soil as well as crucial after-care maintenance. While the process can be undertaken by the avid gardener, it’s highly recommended to consult a professional lawn care specialist who can customize and perform the service for your lawn’s specific needs and offer expert guidance on what to do before and after the overseeding service. If it is also that time of year when you are wondering what to do after aerating your lawn, overseeding may be an option to help get the lush, verdant grass of your dreams. 

How to prepare your lawn for overseeding

TruGreen suggests following these steps before overseeding for best results and consulting your lawn care professional in advising on a full before and after seeding plan:

1. Decide on the type of turfgrass to use. 

If your existing turfgrass hasn’t been performing well, overseeding your lawn with a newer, improved turfgrass variety that is suited to your local climate is often the best way to thicken your lawn through the overseeding process. The newer turfgrass varieties may provide better color and are better able to resist damage from drought, diseases, and lawn damaging insects. TruGreen takes the stress out of decision-making by partnering with seed growers to use the best grass seed for your lawn that is bred to withstand the stresses of your climate and thrive in your area.

2. Choose the right time of year to overseed your lawn

This will also depend on where you’re located. Lawn care experts agree that early fall is usually the best time to overseed, but if you’re in colder regions, it’s advisable to overseed in the late summer when the daytime temperatures are still warm enough to encourage germination.  Your TruGreen expert will be able to advise on the best time of year to overseed for your region. 

3. Mow the lawn before you start the overseeding process

Mowing before overseeding helps reduce excess material that could block the seed from getting to the ground.  Reducing your mowing height is not recommended as it does not significantly aid the overseeding process and could damage your existing turf.  Before overseeding, we recommend mowing at the standard recommended height for your turf species.

4. Water the lawn enough to moisten the soil but don’t saturate it

TruGreen recommends watering the lawn the day before overseeding. 

5. Aerate the soil before overseeding

Use a professional aeration service, core aerator, or slit seeder to open up the soil to best receive the seed as soil to seed contact is critical for best results. You may be wondering if you can aerate after overseeding. We recommend aerating before applying seed, not after. Aeration removes thatch and pulls soil cores out of the lawn, making a good seed bed for your newly planted seeds to reach into the soil. Without aeration, your new grass seeds may not be able to reach the soil and germinate.

6. Fertilize your lawn after aeration

Proper fertilization provides your lawn and soil with the nutrients it needs to promote your newly germinated seeds to establish and mature more rapidly. Just make sure to water the fertilizer into the soil to ensure it reaches the root system. If you are wondering if it is best to fertilize before or after seeding, either option may be advisable. However, if you do choose to fertilize before overseeding, it may be best to use a slow-release fertilizer variety. Multiple factors go into choosing the right fertilizer to promote germination of the new grass seed and your TruGreen professional will be able to pick the best fertilizer for your grass type, soil condition, and time of year. For more information, take a look at our comprehensive guide to aerating and fertilizing your lawn for overseeding.

What to do after overseeding lawn or turfgrass

Once you’ve completed the overseeding process, you will need to provide basic after-care to promote healthy seed germination. The time it takes the grass seeds to germinate will depend highly on your watering schedule but also the grass species, soil type, and climate. While most species will germinate and grow within 10-14 days, some other species like Kentucky Bluegrass can take up to four weeks. A professional lawn specialist, like TruGreen, will be able to provide a detailed plan with timelines and expected outcomes. 

Here are some steps you can take after overseeding to help your young seedlings get started and get the most out of your overseeding:

Mowing

In determining when to mow after aeration and overseeding, make sure to give your seeds time to germinate and start developing.  If you mowed before overseeding, by the time your existing turf reaches its regular mowing height, it is likely safe to mow your newly seeded lawn.  It may not be advised to mow in the first week as the new grass seeds need time for root formation. 

Watering after overseeding

Watering is likely one of the most important factors after overseeding. It’s important to water a seeded lawn daily to encourage germination. It’s best to water in the morning as it will likely not evaporate in the heat of the day or risk disease from watering at night. Water twice daily for the first week after overseeding but be mindful not to saturate the soil. Water lightly and frequently enough to prevent the seed from drying out. After the first week, irrigate once a day for the second week, then go back to your normal irrigation schedule.

Overseeding watering schedule

  • Water lightly twice a day. Don’t allow the soil to dry out. Use enough water to keep the soil moist at the new seed depth. 
  • Occasional deep watering is acceptable to maintain the existing grass.
  • When the grass seeds germinate, continue light watering but allow the soil to dry out before you water again. It’s critical not to overwater during the seedling stage as this could lead to root diseases. 
  • Start deep watering once the grass reaches cutting height. The soil should be wet to a depth of at least four inches. 

TruGreen knows how to plan and prepare your lawn for overseeding. Find out about our professional overseeding and aeration service. Restore your lawn to a lovely lush green and eliminate those bare spots, thinning turf or patchy grass areas. 

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