Is the grass always greener on the other side? For me the answer was yes for many years. My lawn had a green appearance, but upon closer look, the green hue consists of millions of clovers and a multitude of weeds. Thus, began my quest to create a lawn so lush, full, and green that it begged every passerby to run their toes through it.
During my research on obtaining the lawn of my dreams, I came across a landscaper’s trade secret. A secret that turned out to be surprisingly simple with a commitment to maintenance time. I did commit, and with time spent my lawn lives to tell the story of its meager beginnings.
The landscaper’s secret is called “Overseeding”. This might sound like an obsessive-compulsive lawn disorder, but in fact, it is a preventative measure that when used at the best time to overseed your lawn; it creates a full, plush, dark green, healthy lawn.
Overseeding is the spreading of additional seed on top of your current lawn. But why? The circle of lawn life. A blade of grass only lives 45 to 60 days. In time, your lawn becomes mature grasses in the twilight days of their life. Without a proactive plan in place to help your lawn through its normal thinning process, it will dry up and die. Overseeding keeps your lawn’s regeneration cycle of shedding the old and replacing with new, creating a healthy, full lawn.
For overseeding, timing is everything. It is recommended to begin overseeding 45 days before the first frost. The warm soil is optimal for seed germination; while the cool air promotes new growth. The best time to overseed a lawn is when the nighttime temperatures remain consistently below 65° Fahrenheit.
A hybrid mix of seed is the best choice to use. This allows you to take advantage of the individual strengths of each variety, creating an allover robust lawn. Check your package for the recommended amount to use; in time you will learn to make adjustments for your desired look. A good rule of thumb for maintenance is approximately 3 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. This will keep your lawn’s regeneration cycle going strong.
Now that you are ready to seed, first remove all dead patches. The dead continue to drink up vital nutrients from the soil, which will affect the overall health of the new growth. When you are prepped, begin overseeding.
Newly overseeded lawns need consistent moisture; moist but not soaked. Standing water will wash away your seeds. Do frequent, light waterings three times per day for 4 days; then twice a day until germination begins.
If you have a sprinkler system in place, you’re in luck. If not, I have a great DIY sprinkler system idea for those on a budget. This simple idea is for a non permanent, above-ground system that can easily be moved around.
Start with a 4-inch Hunter Pro Spray Base and connect it to a sprinkler riser . Then connect this to a sprinkler spike. Use thread tape at all connections for a tight seal to prevent leakage. Connect these to rotating heads that will spread water at various lengths. After you have several built, connect, and string them with low-cost hoses throughout your lawn. This system uses very little water pressure and puts out a nice even flow. This idea is effective yet economical.
There you have it; a landscaper’s secret. A simple plan that when used at the best time to overseed a lawn, with a great seed mix, and ample moisture; your grass will be greener and healthier season after season after season.