Farm Store | articles | Reseeding your lawn

Reseeding Your Lawn

A green lawn in the summerThe best time of year to reseed your existing lawn is in the fall. In most areas of the United States, the ideal is to sow the grass seed in late August or September. It will germinate while temperatures are relatively warm, then grow and mature as temperatures begin to cool. If you didn't do it last fall, don't despair. You can do it in late winter or early spring before temperatures warm up.

First, rake the lawn with a heavy-duty broom rake. It comes with either wire or flat steel teeth. This rake also has looped spring braces between the handle bar and spacer bar.

Next, remove the thatch from your lawn. Thatch is a build-up of dried clippings and other dead plant material that forms a layer above the soil surface. Removing it allows for new grass seed to come into contact with soil, increases air circulation and makes it much easier for water to penetrate.

To de-thatch your lawn, you will need a heavy-duty garden rake with stiff steel teeth. De-thatching attachments are also available for most riding mowers and lawn tractors, either for purchase or rent.

Once the layer of thatch has been removed, the thin and bare spots in your lawn will be easier to see. Areas marked for reseeding should be free from weeds. It's wise to apply herbicide twice, spacing applications 3 weeks apart.

Use a cultivator to loosen the soil to a depth of 1 inch. Do not rototill your lawn, as doing so will cause weed seeds to germinate. Pulverize the lumps of soil.

Apply a starter type lawn fertilizer first, and rake it into the soil. Never mix grass seed and fertilizer in the same spreader.

Determine the type of lawn seed based on available light and moisture, and amount of traffic it will receive. Make sure to choose a top quality seed. Read the seed tag to determine the ratio of grass to weeds, and what percentage is inert ingredients. Don't ruin all your hard work with a low-quality "bargain" seed.

Freeze your grass seed overnight for faster germination. It's OK to keep it frozen until you're ready to put it down on the lawn.

It's a good idea to rent a verti-slicer or seed slitter, especially if you have a large area to cover. Most come with a seeder attached. Set the machine to cut ½ inch slits, and the seeder to drop 4 or 5 seeds per inch. Make east to west and north to south passes with the machine in a checkerboard pattern.

You can also use a broadcast spreader or shoulder seeder to manually spread the grass seed, but be sure not to spread it too thickly, as only about 6 seeds per square inch will survive.

Water the newly seeded areas immediately with a light mist. Lightly cover the areas with straw if you wish.

If time is short, cover the seeded areas with sheets of clear polyethylene plastic held down with rocks or land pins. Constant watering is eliminated, because the plastic keeps it in the soil.

Remove the plastic sheeting at the first sign of seedlings. It is used to speed germination only and will kill all newly emerging grass seedlings if left on. Once the covers are removed, you'll have to water with a light mist 2 to 3 times per day until your seedlings are 1 inch high.

Afterward, continue to water once per week so the new grass receives a total of 1 inch of water and rain combined per week.

When your grass reaches 2 ¼ inches high, it is ready for its first mowing. Mow your lawn to a height of 2 inches. Mow the grass often, because the more cuttings it receives, the faster it will mature. Should you need to apply granular weed killer, wait until the new grass has been cut at least 3 times.

Are you planning to reseed your lawn this fall? Tell us about your experience in the comments area below. What worked for you and what didn't?

Shop Lawn Products

Related Products

Grid View
List View
  • Southern States Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue 50 lb

    SKU 02132070
    Selected for its improved traits and ease of establishment in lawns, Southern States Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue is guaranteed to produce a fresh, light green color. Ideal for average lawn use, Kentucky 31 is heat, drought and disease resistant, and great for areas with heavy foot traffic.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Annual Ryegrass 40 lb

    SKU 02142022
    Southern States Annual Ryegrass is a bunchgrass with shiny, dark green blades that grow 2 to 3 feet tall. It's a highly nutritious pasture grass seed for foraging livestock, and also perfect for hay or silage. Ryegrass is also used widely for erosion control. September or early October are generally the best months to plant Southern States Ryegrass seed to ensure lush pastures come spring.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Grass Contractors Mixture 50 lb

    SKU 02142990
    Southern States Grass Contractors Mixture is an economical mixture of 50% turf type tall fescue and 50% annual ryegrass grass seed used to provide quick, green ground cover for new home/construction sites. If starting from bare ground, plant a rate of 10-15 lbs per 1,000 square feet.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Fria Annual Ryegrass 50 lb

    SKU 02142065
    Southern States Fria Annual Ryegrass not only delivers outstanding yields in the south, but also has exceptional cold tolerance that helps in fall establishment and winter survival throughout the transition zone and further north. This grass seed is an excellent choice for forage, as a cover crop, or even as a deterrent to soil erosion, and it was developed to be highly disease-resistant. For pasture management and high-yield forage production, seed Southern States Fria Annual Ryegrass into dormant warm season grass pastures or after wheat and corn silage harvest. It will provide grazing, hay, haylage or greenchop for your livestock through the winter and spring.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Premium Shadescape Mixture Grass Seed 20 lb

    SKU 02142484
    Southern States Premium Shadescape Grass Seed Mixture is perfect for dense shade areas in home lawns, parks, commercial sites or any turf application a top quality shade mix is desired. A premium mixture of improved fine fescue, tall fescue and perennial ryegrass selected for their performance under low light conditions, Southern States Premium Shadescape Grass Seed Mixture is designed to provide excellent performance in dense shade, where other products will not grow.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Premium Tall Fescue with Eco-Green Applied Science 20 lb

    SKU 02142642
    Southern States Premium Tall Fescue with Eco-Green Applied Science is a premium mixture of Dwarf Turf Type Tall Fescue varieties selected for their slow growth, shorter plant height and superior turf quality. These characteristics will provide you with the best looking lawn in the neighborhood and save you time and money by allowing for less mowing, fewer clippings and less equipment wear. Our Premium Tall Fescue with Eco-Green Applied Science offers a superior tolerance to heat and drought as well as heightened resistance to diseases such as brown patch, pythium and rust. This seed features a safe and non-toxic ALL-VANTAGE coating with AquaBond for optimal water absorption and Nutri-Start to provide essential micronutrients.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue Lawn & Garden and Field Seed 5 lb

    SKU 02132073
    Selected for its improved traits and ease of establishment in lawns, Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue Lawn & Garden and Field Seed is guaranteed to produce a fresh, light green color. Ideal for average lawn use, Kentucky 31 is heat, drought and disease resistant, and perfect for areas with heavy foot traffic.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue Lawn & Garden and Field Seed 20 lb

    SKU 02132074
    Selected for its improved traits and ease of establishment in lawns, Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue Lawn & Garden and Field Seed is guaranteed to produce a fresh, light green color. Ideal for average lawn use, Kentucky 31 is heat, drought and disease resistant, and perfect for areas with heavy foot traffic.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers