Lawn Care Tips: Fall Overseeding
As the leaves change and we welcome fall, many homeowners assume it’s time to just let their lawn go. A common thought is to just not even bother, because if everything else is dying then why not just let the grass be? But in reality, you don’t have to let your lawn turn brown and crunchy like the rest of your landscaping. We’re here to say that yes, your lawn can stay lush and green all year — even if you can’t say the same about the trees or flowers.
To help you maintain a beautiful yard this fall season we’re sharing all of our tips, such as fall overseeding and other ideas on how to get (and keep) a gorgeous lawn.
Fall Overseeding vs. Laying Sod
This question needs to be answered first and foremost! If you’re wondering if you should just add an entirely new layer of sod instead of trying to revive and maintain what you have now, here’s the breakdown.
When applying new sod, you have to first get rid of the existing lawn. If not, you will kill your new grass as the old one rots underneath. Getting rid of old sod can be done through a number of ways, like with smothering or simply cutting it out. However, this adds a lot of extra work that isn’t actually necessary. You will also need to measure your grassy areas to purchase the correct amount of sod, add organic matter into the soil, level the soil so that it’s flat, and neatly unroll and cut the sod to ensure a tight fit.
See how much work this all is? This might make sense if you are dealing with a courtyard or small yard, but you’re better off overseeding and reviving what you already have.
The Benefits of Fall Overseeding
The air is getting cooler and maybe you notice your lawn is getting a little thin or it’s browning in some spots. Chances are, heavy wear and tear and lawn pests from the summer months are taking their toll. Overseeding your grass before the wintertime is your best bet to salvaging your lawn right now before it gets colder. Here’s why you should consider fall overseeding as part of your yard maintenance:
- Random weeds trying to sprout will have a hard time forcing their way through your soil if your lawn is thick, healthy, and ready to defend itself.
- Increased grass thickness helps to prevent erosion from heavy activity and foot traffic.
- Your lawn will look gorgeous, increasing your home’s curb appeal and giving you the best yard on the block.
- Grass ages and eventually needs to be replaced. Worn-out lawns are more susceptible to weeds. Overseeding is a fast, easy and inexpensive way to rejuvenate your lawn without needing to fully replace it.
How to Overseed Your Lawn
There is a bit of strategy required when overseeding. Simply dumping massive amounts of grass seeds all over the lawn won’t give you the exact results you’re looking for. Follow our steps for fall overseeding and you’ll be on your way to a stunning lawn in no time.
1. Use the right seed
Make sure you know what grass type you currently have and if it’s considered a cool- or warm-season grass. Also take into account your local climate, soil type, and light requirements. Choose a product that combines seed, fertilizer, and soil improver in one product for ease of application.
2. Prep your lawn
Mow your grass fairly short and remove the grass clippings before overseeding. If needed, you will also need to remove any thatch by raking it away. This will help the seeds reach the soil and root better.
3. Test your soil
Test your soil beforehand! Putting all this work into overseeding can be completely ruined if your soil isn’t even able to grow anything. A simple test can be done through your local state agricultural office to get an idea of what you’re working with.
4. Aerate compacted areas
Check if your grass is compacted and in need of being aerated, or loosened. If your soil is very dense and made up of mostly clay, you will likely need to aerate it first. Regardless of if you are going to overseed or not, we always recommend doing it during fall time.
5. Use a lawn spreader
This step is pretty important, as we’ve seen some DIY methods used to try and spread the seed and fail. A lawn spreader ensures an even layer of seed is added for the best results possible.
Give your new seed a chance to grow by providing it with the correct amount of nutrients. Again, a soil test will tell you exactly what you need to add and how much. We don’t recommend guessing when it comes to fertilizing, otherwise, you can cause a lot of damage.
7. Water correctly
The seeds need to stay moist at all times in order to take. Lightly water once per day to encourage new seedlings to grow until they are the same height of the rest of the lawn. Outside, set up your sprinkler system accordingly to get healthy and strong roots.
Fall Tips for a Beautiful Yard
Fall overseeding isn’t the only thing you can do for a beautiful yard this time of year. All of the following tips will play a vital role in giving you a beautiful yard that can be enjoyed year-round!
- Rake leaves often to avoid mold and mildew growth and sunlight from reaching the grass
- Mulch garden beds to protect roots against cold weather
- Stay on schedule with your lawn maintenance, no matter how cold and unbearable the weather gets!
- Cover your outdoor furniture to protect it from the elements and keep it looking nice
- Clean garden tools to prepare them for heavy use in the spring
- Fertilize trees and shrubs
- Prune dead branches or plants
- Plant any new trees during this time so they can acclimate and have a better chance of surviving
- Band trees to protect against cankerworms from now until spring
- Inspect trees for signs of wood-damaging pests and insects
- Keep plants and shrubs protected from harsh wind and rain with special coverings
Professional Lawn Care for Fall
We’re just as invested in your lawn as you are, so we’re happy to help in any way we can! As part of our professional lawn care services, we provide treatments to seamlessly transition your lawn from one season to the next.
Once September rolls around, we begin applying a starter fertilizer close to the grassroots. We also aerate and overseed your lawn for you, using our professional equipment and years of expertise to get it all done quickly and correctly.
In November, we apply a winter fertilizer — which is much different than a starter. A winter fertilizer helps your grass store the nutrients it needs to survive the winter and continue thriving in the spring. We also use this time to control the growth of poa annua, a widespread turfgrass that is actually considered a weed. It grows as a cluster of seed stalks that look similar to grass from a distance, but are actually an invasive plant species.
Year-Round Killingsworth Lawn Care Services
When we are the ones taking care of your lawn, our work doesn’t just stop here. We provide a variety of services like weed control, disease prevention, insect control, and other professional care throughout every season. If you want a nice-looking lawn but don’t want to take on all this work, we don’t blame you! This is a common reason why many of our customers choose us to take care of everything for them. That, and the fact that we have years and years of experience and knowledge to get your lawn looking nice and vibrant — even in the dead of fall and winter.
Schedule an appointment with us to get your lawn ready for fall!
This content was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2020.