Tips on Spot Seeding and Overseeding Your Lawn
Take a look at your lawn. If it looks great, we love to hear it. But if it’s looking thin or riddled with bare spots, we’re here to help you turn it around. There are a few important steps to help you be successful:
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SEED
A beautiful lawn starts with fresh, quality seed customized for Massachusetts soil. Kennedy’s carries seed that was blended here in Massachusetts, not a big brand company that spends a lot of money on gimmicky marketing.
Kennedy’s carries a full line of seed, including:
PREPARE YOUR SOIL
For seeding in larger areas with very little grass, break up soil at least two to three inches deep with a hoe or shovel. Adding a little water to the soil will make it easier to work. Rake it back out so it is even and flat, but still softy enough for seed and roots to grow.
If you have a thin lawn or more than a bare patch here or there, and your lawn is sparse and patchy, you may want to consider overseeding. This basically means you are adding seed uniformly to an existing lawn.
Before you get started overseeding, it’s best to mow your lawn on a lower setting so the seed will have a better chance of making contact with the soil. Then rake the lawn to remove rocks, sticks, dead grass and any other debris.
If your lawn is very compacted and hard (maybe it’s had a few years of neglect and intense heat), you may want to begin with a thorough aeration. Aeration is a process that creates holes in the soil to allow water, air and the proper nutrients to reach your seed and to give the existing grass a boost. You can rent an aerator or check into local lawn services that offer aeration. If you suspect you have poor soil, we can help you determine this, then adding a light layer of compost, called topdressing, is a good way to improve soil quality and it help keep down weeds if done early enough in the season.
SPREAD THE SEED
Sprinkle the seed like salt and pepper into the bare spots and the surrounding area. Step on the seed lightly to press the seed into the soil to ensure good contact. For best results, we recommend adding a Starter Fertilizer to the seeded area. Salt Marsh hay or other hay products with no weed seeds can be lightly spread on top to help hold moisture or to reduce chance of birds eating the seed.
WATER, WATER, WATER
The frequency of water is the key to getting grass seed to germinate. The key is to keep the seed wet as much as possible until it germinates. Depending on the weather, this may be several times per day. Wet soil looks darker, so whenever it lightens it is time to water again. In the beginning water lightly just to get the seed wet, but not so much water that it washes the seed away.
Gradually as the seed germinates and starts to grow, you decrease the frequency from several times per day to once per day then to once every two or three days. So once the grass seed germinates, space out the watering and let the surface dry. This encourages the roots to go down deeper and deeper to get the water.
To review start by watering frequently with less water. After it germinates gradually decrease the frequency and increase how long you water.
Some people water the lawn with a hose and wand or pistol like adaptor. Other set up sprinklers. To make life easier, especially in larger areas it is advised to sue water timers and often multiple hoses and sprinklers to make sure you get thorough water coverage.
Only put seed down in areas you can water. In some instances it is better doing seed projects in sections.
The best time to spot seed is September or a little before or after, but April/May is also one of the best times to renovate as needed. If you do not fill bare spots with grass seed, Mother nature will likely find something else to grow there. Plus, doing it early leaves you plenty of time to enjoy it this summer.
Growing a gorgeous, green lawn can be easy with the right tools and timing. So, please let us know if you need any advice along the way. And if you’d rather skip a lot of steps, you can always consider sod. Kennedy’s sells sod every Saturday in May and again in fall (watch for details). We recommend you pre-order online so that we can have just the right amount of fresh sod on hand.
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Watch for more blogs and resources on proper planting technique, water and fertilizing guidelines, pruning tips and so much more. Until then, you’ll find some great resources here. And feel free to reach out to us in store or by phone at (781) 545-1266. We live for this stuff!