Q: What is over-seeding? Why is it important to fall lawn care?

overseed lawn care tipsA: Over-seeding is applying a suitable blend of grass seeds to an existing lawn to replenish grass cover to create thick grass that will crowd out weeds. Weed seeds are very opportunistic and will establish themselves wherever bare soil exists.

Top dressing is the addition of organic material such as compost to the surface of the soil or lawn to improve soil structure and nutrients. Over-seeding (sowing seeds on an established lawn) is one way to ensure your lawn stays dense from one season to the next. It is not necessary to cover grass seeds with soil unless there are bare areas which then need top dressing too.

Over-seeding is done with a broadcast spreader to evenly apply the grass seeds. The lawn needs to be kept moist until the seeds germinate which takes between 8 and 15 days dependent on the weather and type of grass seed. The morning dews in the fall are conducive to grass seed germination from over-seeding.

Over-seeding in the fall, usually in September or October, is extremely important and beneficial because: in the fall there is less competition from annual weeds; young seedlings can tolerate the winter cold but can easily die off in the heat of summer; the ground is warm and the air is cool which is ideal for germination; and fall rains tend to be gentler.

Over-seeding is done with a blend of grasses as variety in your lawn creates a healthier and more naturally resistant lawn. Certain diseases and insects favour certain types of grass. A mixture of grass types will mean that your lawn will be better prepared to recover from any injury; adapt to the varying levels of light from the sunny spots to the shady areas of your lawn; and better able to resist insects. Many fescues and ryegrasses are infected with a naturally occurring fungus called endophytes. Grasses that contain these fungi have shown high resistance to insects such as billbugs, chinch bugs and sod webworms that feed on the blades of grass. These grasses are more vigorous with a greater number of roots making them more drought resistant too.

In Canada the grass species that are grown are called cool season grasses. This means they do most of their growing during the times of cooler temperatures in the spring and fall. Cool season grasses tend to go dormant during the heat of summer and start growing again with the fall rains. Species of cool season grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, fine fescue and tall fescue.

Call (613) 838-4066 for a free estimate for fall lawn care, fall flowerbed care, fall cleanups, over-seeding, top dressing and sod installation.