Over time, every lawn can look worn and thin, but how do you know when to reseed your lawn so new grass can grow into thick, healthy, luxurious turf?
An Unhealthy Lawn
When your grass starts to show wear, it isn't always time to reseed. First, check your watering to be sure the grass is well hydrated, and investigate for any signs of pests, fungus or weeds that could be damaging the lawn. If the grass is growing uniformly thin and dull, however, reseeding can improve the quality of the turf. If there are bare patches that are caused by use or wear, they can also be reseeded in order to recover.
When to Reseed Your Lawn
Lawns can be seeded in either spring or fall, depending on your local climate and what your lawn needs. Understanding grass's seasonal needs can help you determine when to reseed your lawn.
- Spring: Reseeding is ideal in spring after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed enough to nurture the germination of grass seeds, when spring rains can help keep the seed appropriately moist. Depending on local climate and weather patterns, reseeding from the beginning of March through the end of May is a good time, but avoid adding grass seed during heavy rain periods when seeds may drown or be washed away.
- Summer: Avoid adding grass seed during the hottest part of the year, when seed will scorch and it is difficult to keep new seed and just-sprouted grass appropriately moist. Summer is also the time when lawns see the most use, and delicate seed can be trampled and damaged too easily for effective reseeding.
- Fall: Autumn is the best season for reseeding because the soil is still warm but air temperatures are dropping, allowing seeds to grow well and stay moist with less watering. Days are still long to provide adequate sunlight, but the weather is not so hot as to damage young seeds. Ideally, reseed a lawn from the end of August through the beginning of October to give seeds enough time to get established before frost arrives.
- Winter: Grass seed cannot germinate when the ground is frozen and days are too short to provide adequate sunlight to nurture young grass. In extreme southern areas, some limited winter reseeding can be useful, but in most regions, winter is not the time to try to recuperate a lawn.
Tips for Lawn Seeding
No matter when the best time to seed your lawn may be, there are ways to make it easier and increase your chances for a lush, healthy lawn.
- First rake and dethatch the lawn to remove debris that may keep seed from accessing the soil. If the ground is really compacted, aeration may be useful to help loosen the soil.
- Amend the lawn appropriately with a suitable fertilizer, compost or other amendment to provide suitable nutrition for young seeds.
- Trim the grass slightly lower than normal to allow seed to get greater sunlight, and bag or rake the clippings so they are not blocking the soil.
- Seed the lawn twice, moving at right angles from the first seeding when you go over the lawn the second time. This will ensure more even seed coverage.
- Keep the seed moist with appropriate watering, or consider adding a gentle, protective layer of straw over the seed, but avoid a heavy cover that can suffocate seed and block sunlight.
In just a few days, the seed will sprout, but it will need good care for several weeks until the new turf is well established. In time, the lawn will grow thick and lovely again!
Need help choosing your best grass seed or keeping your lawn healthy? Ask us!