Kansas City summers can be tough on your lawn. Thicken your lawn and return it to its lush glory by overseeding. What is overseeding? Overseeding is putting down new grass seed over an existing lawn to fill in thin and patchy areas. In addition to restoring damage from heat, traffic, disease, or insects, it can even make your lawn more drought resistant. Here are some tips for overseeding from the lawn experts at Custom Lawn & Landscape.
The Benefits of Overseeding
Overseeding is an economical way to rejuvenate your lawn. Why tear up your old lawn to lay a new one down if you don’t have to? There are several benefits of overseeding your lawn.
- Fill in any areas that were damaged by traffic, heat, disease, or insects
- Thicken your lawn overall
- Enhance your lawn’s ability to fight disease and insects
- Adding newer, hardier types of grass make it more drought and disease resistant
Why Fall Is The Best Time to Overseed Your Yard
Seed germination relies on water, sunlight, and soil contact. There are 3 reasons why Fall is the best time for overseeding:
1. The Ground Is Prime Temperature
During early to mid-autumn, temperatures begin to cool down, but the ground is still warm. Warm soil encourages germination and the average ground temperatures in early fall are still warm enough to meet that high standard for germination.
Seeds that are planted in the fall will be healthy and grow nicely when spring returns. Also, since the air is cooler at this time of year, this will keep weeds and other vegetation at bay. Seeds that are planted in the spring are often overtaken by weeds native to the area.
2. Sunshine Is Moderate
Summer sunshine can provide a tough growing environment for seedlings, and too much sun can stop their growth outright. The decreasing sunlight in the fall ensures safe, healthy growth.
For a popular variety like Kentucky Bluegrass, reduced sunshine is crucial to ensuring robust growth, while Tall Fescue should be planted closer to the end of summer/early fall to guarantee a bit more direct sunlight.
3. More Rain = More Growth
The extra rain during a Kansas City fall, combined with the two above factors, enriches the soil with rainwater that lasts longer in the topsoil. After seeding, start with frequent, light watering. How much water is enough water? That’s a hard question. Water enough so that the lawn doesn’t dry out between waterings. On a shady area, that may be 3 light waterings a day but on an open area on a hot windy day, you may have to sprinkle it with water up to 5 times to keep it wet enough for seed to germinate.
Decrease watering frequency as the seedlings establish, and allow natural rain to follow through on the process. Don’t be afraid to take a day off after your seedlings get to be about 3 or 4 inches tall to give it it’s first mow.
How To Get the Healthiest Lawn on the Block
Here in Kansas City, we have some of the worst soil. Unfortunately, our soil contains high amounts of clay. Clay is a very dense soil that compacts easily. That’s why we recommend aerating before overseeding.
When your soil gets packed too tightly, water and nutrients cannot reach the roots of the grass as easily. Plus, the roots need room to breathe and grow. Aeration allows them to do just that because it removes small plugs of dirt and grass depositing them on the top of the soil and leaving room below for growth.
It also allows water and nutrients to reach the roots more easily. Luckily, this is a fairly easy fix. Once your lawn is aerated, it will respond very well, and should be greener and healthier next summer.
Why is Aeration Good for Your Lawn?
Aeration is recommended every year. If you’ve noticed your lawn browning early in the summer, water running off rather than soaking in, and fertilizing doesn’t seem to be helping, it probably needs aeration. Some of the benefits of aeration include:
- a better root system
- less water runoff
- better germination when overseeding
- better water and fertilizer uptake
- improved air exchange
- enhanced thatch breakdown
- better tolerance to heat and drought
What Type of Grass Seed to Buy
So, back to our seedy little story, once you’ve aerated, you want to make sure you sow the best grass seed. Here are a few tips for buying the best grass. Not all grass seed is created equal.
Many brands contain a certain percentage of weed seeds mixed in. You have enough trouble with keeping weeds out. Don’t accidentally add them yourself.
Importance of Using the Right Seed
Though there are a lot of different types of seed available on the commercial market, it is not difficult to choose the right seed.
100% Tall Fescue seed works great in most Kansas City area lawns. Your lawn already has Bluegrass in it naturally. The mix of fescue and Bluegrass is an excellent one.
The fescue provides endurance and can take the heat, while Bluegrass provides a richer color and a softer texture for bare feet to enjoy.
Custom Lawn Uses the Best Grass Seed
If you’re going to seed, make sure you use good quality seed that will grow well in this climate. Not only do we use weed free grass, we also use varieties of grass seed that are genetically darker green and more drought & disease resistant.
We have over 30 years of grass growing and lawn seeding experience in the Olathe area. It’s also a good idea to fertilize your new seeds, but be careful that your fertilizer isn’t a “weed & feed” type or it will kill the new seed.
How to Water Your New Lawn
Though it is important not to overwater the soil when seeding a lawn, the seeds need water to sprout and grow. A general rule is that the soil needs to be kept moist at all times. In many cases, a yard will need to be gently watered multiple times per day.
See our summer watering guide to learn the best way to water your lawn.
A gentle watering is best as overwatering can result in the development of fungus on the new grass and can even wash the seeds away.