Over time, grass wears out and needs to be replaced. A worn-out lawn is a target that invites weed growth. You may need to repair any bare patches with new seed. If more than half of your lawn is damaged or bare, it's time to completely reseed your lawn. Make sure you are reseeding several weeks before the first big frost. To begin, loosen the soil with a rake and pull up any dead grass.
Grass seed comes in a number of varieties, but don't buy inexpensive grass seed in bulk. You may think quantity is better than quality, but bulk seed often contains unwanted filler material that can lead to weeds and unwanted grasses. Instead, look for quality. Read seed package labels to find seed blends that have disease-resistant properties, high germination rates and low levels of inert matter.
Choose the appropriate grass seed for your yard and use a mechanical spreader to disperse the seed.
Rake the seed into the soil to be sure it makes good contact. To get the grass growing well, keep the soil moist by watering it twice daily. It’s important to avoid heavy traffic on a newly planted lawn, but keep it mowed regularly.
If you need to patch just a few areas of your lawn, opt for over-seeding. Fall is an ideal time to over-seed your lawn because the soil is still warm but it’s generally cooler outside, which boosts your chances of reseeding success.
Spread a thin layer of nutrient-enriched soil over your lawn with a rake. Don’t overdo it; you don’t want to smother your grass. A ¼" layer is all you need.
To begin, mow your lawn shorter than you normally would. This will give the new seed a better chance to take root and prosper. Pick up clippings if you didn’t use a bag attachment on your mower.
Spread seed either by hand or by spreader. As with any reseeding project, keep the soil moist, avoid heavy traffic and mow regularly.
Test your soil acidity and fertility with a soil testing kit. The ideal pH level for soil is 7. If you have a fireplace in your home, consider adding wood ashes to increase pH levels; sulfur or aluminum phosphate can lower them.
Consult local experts to see which seed mixtures grow best under local conditions. Some grasses tolerate heat or moisture better than others, and you'll want a mix that will thrive throughout the year.
Keep mowing your lawn right up until the first frost, but keep the grass length longer than 2½".
When you mow for the last time, use a mulching mower. The mulch will keep as much nitrogen as possible in the soil over the winter and into the spring.
Check your lawn for weeds. Use a dandelion digger to pop them out of the soil, and they won’t return in the spring.
While it may sound contradictory, be sure that when you’re over-seeding that you don’t overdo it. It’s tempting to dump a large quantity of seed on a bare patch, but too much seed can cause a weak yield; too much competition for nutrients, water and light can adversely affect grass growth. Always use a spreader and use the spreader setting recommended by the seed manufacturer.