Northwest lawn overseeding and spot repair

STEP 1 - CONTROL UNDESIRABLE VEGETATION

  • If moss is present, dig it out by hand (a thatch rake or cultivator may help) or use a moss killer when the moss is moist and green. Apply moss killer at least 3 weeks prior to seeding.
  • Control broadleaf weeds by hand or with a broadleaf weed killer, which won't harm lawn grasses.
  • For best results, weeds should be actively growing and have plenty of leaf surface for the herbicide to cover.
  • Control weedy grasses with a nonselective herbicide containing glyphosate. For best results, the weedy grasses should also be actively growing. Some existing turf grass will probably be affected by overspray, however, the new seeding will replace the turf grass lost.

STEP 2 - MOW EXISTING TURF LOW

This is for two reasons: 1) a shorter turf will allow seed to more easily reach soil surface. 2) there will be a longer period of time before turf needs to be mowed again allowing the new seedlings to become established.

STEP 3 - PREPARE SOIL SURFACE FOR SEED CONTACT

The area will need to be thatched if dead moss or thatch is heavy enough to prevent the seed from dropping to soil surface. For small jobs, hand thatching rakes work well or rental yards carry motorized thatchers for large jobs. Be sure to remove loose thatch. The soil surface should be firm and lightly roughed.

STEP 4 - AERATE (IF NECESSARY)

One reason why your turf may be thin and need overseeding is because the soils are heavy, not allowing good drainage and blocking availability of oxygen to the grass plant roots. The result is a weak stand of grass. The process of core aeration opens up the soil allowing better drainage, oxygen availability and a healthier root system. Topdressing or filling the aeration holes with screened compost or a course sand will help to maintain the benefits of aeration.

STEP 5 - SOWING SEED

Select a seed mixture best suited for your specific site and its intended use, one of Swansons’ staff would be happy to assist you in this decision. Apply seed by drop or broadcast spreader, moving in at least two different directions to ensure more uniform coverage. For best results use a quality brand with Northwest-grown seed which we carry at Swansons.

STEP 6- USE A LOW NITROGEN STARTER FERTILIZER

Young seedlings have a need for larger quantities of phosphorus and potash than nitrogen. A low level of nitrogen will also prevent a rush of growth from existing turf and the need to now before new seedlings are established. Dr. Earth™ Organic Lawn Food is an excellent starter fertilizer, providing beneficial fungi and soil microbes, as well as nutrients.

STEP 7- WATER, WATER, WATER....

Once the first application of water is applied, the new planting must remain constantly damp until it is well established. Many light irrigations are better than heavier waterings that can tend to either drown the seed or float it away on a sloped area. On a warm day, multiple waterings may be necessary. After the grass is established, heavier but less frequent watering (to encourage deeper
roots) is desirable.

STEP 8- LET IT GROW THEN MOW

Let new seedlings and /or existing grass reach a height of at least 3 inches before you mow. Mowing new turf often, no lower than 2 1/2 inches, and with a sharp mower will stimulate new growth and thickening of your turf. As turf matures, progressively lower mowing height to desired length.