The best time for overseeding a lawn or repairing bare or thin areas is fall. Overseeding lawn in fall works best as the mild, shorter days and the cool nights offer the ideal conditions for the germination of seeds. These conditions allow seeds to better retain moisture, and seedlings can flourish without the severe heat of the summer months.
Why Plant New Seed in Fall rather than Spring?
Overseeding lawn in spring works well; however, most people wait for too long and find themselves in summer. Facilitating the growth of new grass is much more difficult in summer.
Spring is a time of doing various jobs and projects involving the outdoors, garden, lawn, etc. Overseeding is a task that takes a lot of time. Moreover, if you usually apply a crabgrass prevention herbicide, spring seeding will not be possible. Most of the pre-emergent herbicides inhibit seed germination completely for about 12 weeks. This brings you right in mid-summer. Additionally, overseeding lawn is the most effective right after the lawn has been aerated, and the ideal time for lawn aeration is fall.
Why Overseed Lawn?
Lawns that are never overseeded tend to appear old. If a lawn is mowed consistently, it doesn’t even get the chance of going to seed for propagating itself. Such lawns will depend on tillering, stolons, and rhizomes for growth. An old lawn will eventually find it difficult to maintain proper growth, compete with weeds, and tackle other lawn stresses.
Besides, grass species of new varieties are emerging in the market. So, it’s wise to combine grass that is resistant to insect damage, disease or drought with older grass varieties that don’t have these features.
How to Overseed Lawn in Fall?
For cool-season turfgrass, the process of overseeding lawn in fall should be started by aerating the lawn thoroughly. Apply the new grass seed using a fertilizer spreader, while following the recommended coverage rate of the product. It’s ideal for the seeds to fall in the aeration holes as they will not dry out too quickly there and will also germinate faster. You might consider going over your lawn for ushering more grass seeds into the holes using a rake’s backside.
The seeding should be followed with a fall fertilizer application. Apply the fall fertilizer the same day you apply the seed, and then water your lawn. Watering should be done one or two times every day until you find the new grass beginning to grow. Germination of the seeds may require two weeks or above. Keep mowing your lawn as usual until the growth of the grass stops for the season.
What Type of Grass Seed should you Use?
Make sure you use the appropriate grass seed type as per your climate – whether it’s a warm season or cool season. Additionally, opt for the right seed type according to your lawn’s use – your lawn may be low-maintenance and aesthetic or intensely maintained and high-use.
You can find drought-resistant grasses now in warm as well as cool-season species. Moreover, don’t go for the cheapest grass seed available. Grass seeds are available in varying qualities and the quality you get depends a lot on the cost you pay. Cheap seeds are often made of poor-performing, generic grass varieties, or even contain lots of filler like annual ryegrass or weed seeds.
It’s not necessary to choose the costliest variety available for overseeding lawn in fall but go for a seed type that’s good quality and recommended by the local experts.
Best Grass Seed for Overseeding your Lawn in Iowa
Cool-season grasses are planted in Iowa primarily, and they grow best during fall and spring. The chief cool-season grasses that can be used for overseeding lawn in fall are listed as follows:
1. Kentucky Bluegrass (KBG)
The best-adapted grass in Iowa for use in lawns is Kentucky bluegrass. This grass type has medium texture, has a dark-green hue, and develops an attractive, tightly knit sod as it can spread by rhizomes (underground stems). Common types of Kentucky Bluegrass should be maintained at a height of 2-3 inches; however, the better varieties of this grass can withstand lower mowing heights. The wear resistance of this grass type is moderate but it’s quick to recover from damage.
This grass shows the best growth on fertile, well-drained, and heavy soils, and can withstand partial shade. It has high water requirements during the growing season. However, during hot and dry spells, this type of grass escapes drought by becoming dormant, and it can survive without water for around 4 to 6 weeks. In most cases, the grass recovers quickly during fall as cooler temperatures and an adequate degree of moisture return.
2. Turf Type Tall Fescue or Tall Fescue
Among the cool-season grasses, tall fescue has the most drought, traffic, and heat tolerance. This grass type can also withstand wet soils. Tall fescue is adapted well to shady sites, and it is often used when the requirement is of a low-maintenance lawn. This grass type develops a deep root system, which can tolerate alkaline soils and clay.
3. Kentucky Bluegrass Seed Mixtures
Seed mixtures often have Kentucky bluegrass in at least two high-quality varieties. These seed mixtures are very competitive and favor healthy growth of plants over weed development. Their tolerance to cold winter temperatures and diseases is good, nevertheless, they are vulnerable to leaf spot and necrotic ring spot diseases. Bluegrass of improved varieties has higher resistance to these diseases compared to common grass types.
4. Perennial Ryegrass
A bunch-type grass (without any rhizomes or stolons), Perennial ryegrass is employed primarily in seed mixtures as it has the ability of germinating and establishing quickly. This grass type has the darkest green hue of all cool-season grasses and has a medium to coarse texture. Perennial ryegrass can withstand wet soils well, can grow well on various types of soil, and can withstand partial shade.
5. Fine Leaf Fescues
Fine fescue is the name of a fescue grass species group that is characterized by a very fine leaf texture.
This grass species group consists of:
- Sheep fescue
- Hard fescue
- Chewings fescue
- Creeping red fescue
- Call Us for Overseeding Lawn in Fall
If you are planning for overseeding yard in fall, All American Turf Beauty has expert lawn care professionals to do the job in the best possible way. Our professionals can also guide you on when to overseed lawn in the fall and the best grass seed for overseeding. Our long years of experience in lawn care helps us ensure that the fall grass overseeding performed by us fetches the best results. Reach out to us at 515-996-226 for excellent fall grass overseeding service!