One way homeowners can improve the look and health of their grass is by overseeding a weedy lawn. Learn the overseed definition, benefits and the step-by-step process of how to overseed. In this post, you’ll get answers to common questions, including The experts at HGTV.com show how to remove weeds from your yard and garden. Here are the 11 critical steps to restoring a lawn full of weeds! Read on for all the tips and tricks of weed killer, grass growth, and lawn maintenance.
Overseeding Weedy Lawn: Homeowners Take Back Their Yards
When you look out over your yard, does the sight you see bring you a sense of pleasure and pride, or do you cringe with embarrassment? If you’re in the latter camp due to unsightly weeds and patchy, lifeless grass, don’t despair—and don’t give up! Your yard doesn’t have to be the neighborhood eyesore, and you don’t have to declare your neglected lawn a total loss.
Depending on the severity of your situation, it’s possible that you’ll need to re-sod the entire area, but a far easier fix might work just as well. The simple yet highly effective key lies in overseeding weedy lawns to reclaim the lush, green, beautiful grass that all homeowners desire.
Let’s find out how just a bit of time, care and know-how will help you resuscitate your ailing lawn into a thing of emerald, weed-free beauty.
Overseed: Definition And Benefits
The term “overseed” may sound technical and even intimidating if you aren’t familiar with the process, but it’s really a simple gardening concept: Overseeding is simply the process of planting new grass seed over your existing grass in order to create a revived, newly green and beautiful lawn that is lush and healthy.
When you overseed your lawn, you build on its current strengths while working hand in hand with nature against its weaknesses. With a bit of elbow grease, the result is a lush, weed-free lawn that your neighbors will envy.
But how do you know if your yard is a good candidate for overseeding? Grass that is looking tired, patchy or weedy is prime for this relatively easy option for homeowners who want to help their yards recover. If weedy patches and bare spots make up less than half your lawn, overseeding is an excellent option for you. It is certainly easier and more cost-effective than digging up your entire yard and laying down all new sod, which can be an expensive and painstaking process.
Our Answer To The Common Question: When To Overseed My Lawn?
Many homeowners ask themselves, when is the best time of year to overseed my lawn? No matter which region of the country you call home, there are two times of year that are best for overseeding: early spring and late summer (mid-August to mid-September).
The spring option is best for homeowners who use non-organic fertilizer products containing chemicals that would stop new grass seeds from growing. By overseeding in early spring, you’ll give your existing grass and soil the most time possible to shed all the chemicals that could impede fresh growth.
If non-organic fertilizer use isn’t an issue for your yard, you might opt to overseed in late summer instead. This is generally the time of year when weeds grow the least, making it the best time to address weeds aggressively and effectively. This is also a great time of year to facilitate new grass growth before your turf goes dormant for the winter.
Why Do I Have Weeds In My Lawn In The First Place?
Before we get into the step-by-step process to overseed your lawn, it’s important to discuss how your grass got so weedy and patchy in the first place. After all, you don’t want to put in a lot of work just to have the same issues develop again in the future. So why do you have weeds in your lawn? How do these pesky, fast-growing plants move in and take over?
There are many factors that can contribute to a weedy lawn, including watering too much or too little, setting your mower blade too low, not mowing often enough or having a yard with poor drainage. Essentially, weeds are opportunistic; they grow when and where they can. Grass that is less than thriving provides the necessary space and opportunity for weeds to move in.
When weeds do begin to pop up here and there, chemical weed killers might appeal in the moment, but these products can actually be dangerous for people and animals, not to mention for your grass itself. Plus, if you aren’t careful, you’re likely to find yourself relying more and more often on weed killers to spot-treat your problem instead of resolving it at its source: by growing grass that is dense and vigorous.
The simple truth is that a thick, thriving lawn is the best weed deterrent on the market. Savvy homeowners know that keeping weeds away for good isn’t about finding the right herbicide product—it’s about keeping your grass dense, lush and green, so weeds don’t stand a fighting chance at taking over your lawn.
How To Overseed: The Step-By-Step Process, Explained
The first consideration, before you start overseeding your lawn, is choosing the right variety of grass seed. The best options are perennial varieties that will do well both in your geographical region as well as in your particular yard. If you have a yard with large trees and lots of shade, for example, a shade-tolerant variety like fescue might perform better than a different, sun-loving variety like Bermuda. Another thing to consider is how damp or dry your region is, and what type of drainage your yard has. If you live in a wet area or your yard tends to collect moisture, a grass like St. Augustine might fare better than it would in a hotter, drier or sunnier area.
Once you’ve chosen the right grass seed for your yard, it’s time to prep your existing lawn and soil for overseeding. Here are the easy, step-by-step instructions for overseeding your lawn:
- Before you start your overseeding project, it’s important to water your yard deeply. In the days leading up to when you plan to spread your new grass seed, give your lawn a good soaking, allowing water to penetrate up to six inches below the surface. This will give your turf a couple of days to dry out a bit before you begin overseeding.
- Pull up or otherwise remove any large weeds in your existing grass. Bigger weeds can simply be pulled up by hand, preferably from the roots. You can also use an herbicide if you choose; if so, just be sure to follow up with a second application three weeks later to ensure that any new weed growth is also killed off.
- Mow your existing grass. Using a collection bag attachment if your mower has one, mow your lawn as short as possible, preferably to about one and a half inches. Yes, this will make whatever healthy grass you have look bald and terrible for the moment—but don’t worry! There’s a method to the madness. Your new grass seeds are going to need access to sunlight and water as they take root and grow, so it’s very important to facilitate that by getting the existing grass as short as possible. Once you’ve finished mowing, rake up any leftover grass clippings and dispose of them in lawn bags.
- Remove thatch. Thatch is the criss-crossing layer of dead grass roots and stems that lies on top of the soil, just beneath the greener blades of grass. Thatch must be removed so that new grass seeds can reach the soil along with compost, fertilizer and water. In smaller yards, thatch can be removed effectively with a hand-held rake, but homeowners with larger yards may want to rent a power dethatcher from your local garden center to do the job. Also called power rakes or vertical mowers, these machines will leave clumps and piles of grass and thatch; be sure to rake debris up when you’re finished with this step and dispose of it in yard bags.
- Aerate your grass. You can rent an aerator from your local garden center or, if your yard is small (or you simply don’t like the loud noise and gasoline stench of an aerating machine), use a manual aerating tool. Be sure to rake up and dispose of any soil plugs that are dislodged as part of the aerating process.
- Spread a half-inch thick layer of compost over your lawn. Once you’ve got your compost spread evenly, rake it lightly so it can mix with the soil and blend into the aeration holes.
- Fertilize your grass. Grass fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium—the three most important ingredients in a healthy lawn. You can use either a hand-held spreader for smaller yards or a drop spreader for larger ones to distribute your fertilizer evenly all over the yard.
- Apply grass seed. Using a hand-held broadcast spreader, apply your chosen grass seed over the entire lawn area. The goal is to have about 15 to 20 seeds per square inch, which typically results in several pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet of lawn. You can move in parallel lines as you spread the seed and then, if needed, go back over the area in perpendicular lines to ensure proper, even spreading.
- Use a rake to work the seed very lightly into the existing grass and soil. Be gentle—you don’t want to damage your seeds or interfere with their even distribution.
- Water generously, but not too much, and voilà—you’ve just overseeded your yard!
Over the next days and weeks as your grass begins coming in, be sure to water lightly once or twice a day, making sure the area doesn’t get sopping wet. This will give your lawn just the right amount of moisture until seedlings sprout. Let your new grass grow at least three to four inches before mowing for the first time. Once you’ve mowed the first time, you can switch to a deep-soaking watering pattern. To keep your grass its healthiest over time, be sure to fertilize twice every year, each spring and fall.
ABC Can Keep Your Yard Healthy And Green
Keeping your lawn healthy isn’t just a source of beauty and pride; it is also a practical measure for keeping weeds away. At ABC Home & Commercial Services, we know all about creating and maintaining dense, healthy lawns for our satisfied customers. If your lawn is becoming an eyesore and the overseeding process described above sounds like a little too much for you to handle, ABC is here to help. Our lawn specialists can reclaim and revive tired, weedy, patchy lawns and maintain thriving ones so your yard stays beautiful for years.
How to Reclaim a Weedy Yard
Grow healthy grass and say ‘goodbye’ to those nasty weeds with these simple and easy-to-follow lawn and gardening tips.
What do you do when the greenest things in your lawn are weeds? Jerry Cunningham wonders the same thing, so Gardening by the Yard host Paul James comes to the rescue with answers. The overall approach: Choke the weeds out not with chemicals, but by creating a new lush lawn of healthy grass.
Choose the Best Grass
Jerry’s yard is full of mature trees, which help shade his landscape. Fescue would be a great option for him, because it does well in partially shaded areas. The grass will require a bit more watering than Jerry’s current lawn, but he’ll get better results.
Paul suggests Jerry use a mixture of fescue — two types of tall fescue and also a creeping red fescue, which is extremely shade tolerant; in areas of complete shade, the red fescue will help fill in the bare spots.
Let Air In
Aerating the soil brings oxygen to the soil and helps water seep farther down, which encourages more growth. Although there are aerating machines on the market, they’re noisy, smelly and a little too much for an average size lawn. Paul suggests a manual tool instead.
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How to Control Weeds
Host Paul James shows how to get rid of weeds without using chemicals.
Sow Seed Correctly
When spreading seeds, it’s important to make sure you don’t throw too much into adjacent beds. Work side to side, and then work back over the same area at right angles to the original. You can either throw the seed out by hand or use a tool that helps relieve strain on your wrist. You can have too much of a good thing. Applying too much seed can create competition for the moisture and nutrients that feel the lawn.
Top-Dress With Compost
Top-dressings — such as a cow-manure/alfalfa mix — are underused in lawn care (such as after you’ve sown grass seed). Too bad, because they’re full of organic matter that activates soil.
Note: Cow manure, like grass seed, can be overdone. A little will go a long way for the freshly laid seeds, so layer no more than 1/4 inch over the lawn. If you have any leftover, feed other trees and plants in your landscape.
Tip: Paul uses this handy perforated shovel to sift the compost over an area. The shovel is also good for working in water gardens.
Fertilize the New Lawn
Paul suggests an all-natural, bio-solid fertilizer for Jerry’s new lawn. Because it’s all-natural, he won’t have to wait for the grass to germinate to use it. After a few weeks in the lawn, the fertilizer will break down and enter the root zone of the grass.
How to Restore a Lawn Full of Weeds
Almost every homeowner despises weeds growing on their lawn, and most people have to battle with dandelions, crabgrass, and other pesky weeds every year. The majority of property owners long for lush green grass that isn’t patchy, so knowing how to get rid of weeds and prevent them all together is crucial for maintaining a yard that your neighbors envy. Our how-to guide will aid in the restoration of your weed-ridden property to the beautiful green lawn most homeowners dream about.
Pulling every dandelion stem and clover bud sounds dreadful, and the pesky weeds will likely return if you didn’t get every root. Although there are many DIY methods for getting rid of weeds and preventing regrowth, you might want to hire a professional for the best and fastest results. TruGreen is one of the best lawn care companies for the job, providing affordable plans for beautifying your yard with proven, guaranteed weed control results.
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11 Simple Steps to Restoring a Lawn Full of Weeds
Getting rid of weeds on your lawn and keeping them away isn’t rocket science, but knowing the specific steps to take can prevent wasted time and money in the process. Below are 11 straightforward steps to overcoming your weed problems.
1. Identify the Type of Weeds in Your Lawn
Your first step in conquering weeds in your lawn is to identify which ones have taken root. There are three primary types, each calling for a slightly different approach in some cases. Below are the standard subcategories of lawn weeds.
As the name suggests, broadleaf weeds have wide leaves. They usually grow in soil that has been deprived of nutrients. Common lawn weeds include clover, dandelions, oxalis, ground ivy, chickweed, henbit, thistle, and dollarweed.
Grassy weeds are more challenging to distinguish from the grass blades around them because they look like grass. These weeds are most common in over-watered lawns and where soil compaction occurs. Some species of grassy weeds include crabgrass, foxtail, quackgrass, and goosegrass.
Grass-like weeds also look like grass from a distance, but up close, you’ll notice that each leaf is tubular. These weeds thrive where the grass is cut too short, the soil is compacted, or overwatering is common. Some grass-like weeds include wild onion, garlic, nutsedge, and nutgrass.
2. Clean and Mow
Your next step will be to clean up your property. If you have a few broadleaf weeds, you can remove them by hand as long as you make sure to get the root as well. Total manual removal will likely be too time-consuming if you have grassy or grass-like weeds.
Once you’ve removed as many weeds as possible, you can mow your lawn to about three inches to prepare for the herbicide application.
3. Select the Best Herbicide for the Job
Now you’re ready to choose a weed killer, and the weeds you identified in step one should inform your decision. If you had the foresight to recognize the weeds that gave you trouble last year, you could apply a pre-emergent herbicide before they come up this year. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weed seeds from taking root so that you can avoid them altogether. Best of all, they won’t kill grass that is already established.
You’ll need a post-emergent herbicide if weeds have already taken root in your lawn. Many of these products — all non-selective herbicides — also kill healthy grass, so be careful in your selection. A selective weed killer designed to kill the weeds you have an issue with is more likely to be safe to use on your lawn and even in garden beds.
4. Apply the Weed Control
You’re finally ready to apply the herbicide, but you’ll want to make sure you do so correctly. Timing is everything when it comes to successful weed control. First, avoid applying it under the intense sun, as this combination can burn your grass. Avoid using it if it’s supposed to rain in the following 24 to 48 hours, as the precipitation can wash away the active chemicals before it has a chance to work.
If you get a liquid weed killer, you can use a garden sprayer to apply it. Follow the container’s dilution instructions and get an even application over all critical areas. If you have a granular weed killer, apply it to large areas with a broadcast spreader or too tight spaces by hand or with a drop spreader.
5. Be Patient
Most weed killers — especially natural and organic herbicides — take time to take effect. You should expect to wait at least a week before seeing results, and some products can take up to four weeks before you start to notice fewer weeds in your lawn. Take note of the timeline indicated on your product’s packaging, and be prepared to wait a bit.
Additionally, some homeowners make the mistake of putting down grass seed shortly after applying herbicide. A pre-emergent herbicide will prevent new weeds from sprouting and stop grass seed from germinating, so you’ll waste time and money on the seed. Plan to wait at least four weeks between applying preventative weed control and seeding.
6. Rake and Till Your Soil
Once you notice the weeds in your lawn start to turn brown, use a rake to remove as many as possible and till the soil in any bare spots in preparation for seeding.
7. Dethatch and Aerate Your Lawn
You might need to dethatch and aerate the soil for treated areas that still have healthy grass. Begin by using a rake or specialized dethatching rake to remove the thatch — dead grass roots, grass clippings, mulch, leaves, etc. — between your soil and your grass.
Once dethatch your lawn, use an aerator or hire a professional lawn care company to aerate the soil to reduce compaction. This process will allow new grass and established grass to get nutrients and water from the soil.
8. Apply Soil Amendment
Completing a soil test will show you if your soil pH is suitable for growing grass . If not, apply your soil amendment according to the product instructions.
9. Plant Seeds or Lay Down Sod
Once your soil is prepped, you can use a garden spreader to lay down grass seed or lay sod instead. Traditional seeding is far more affordable but takes up to 12 weeks with some grass species to yield a full, beautiful lawn. Laying down sod provides an instant new lawn, but the cost can be about four times as much or more. Both seeding and sod require intensive maintenance afterward. Regardless of which method you use, complete this step in the correct growing season for your species.
10. Water Your Lawn
Whether you’ve seeded or laid down sod, you need to keep your soil moist — but not soggy. Use a sprinkler to water each area three to four times a day for 10 minutes each.
11. Maintain Your Lawn
Once your lawn is fully established, you need to maintain it to keep it weed-free in the future. Weeds thrive in compacted or nutrient-deprived soil and in grass that is overwatered or cut too short. It would be best to aerate at least once a year to reduce soil compaction, fertilize regularly to maintain the proper nutrient balance for a healthy lawn, complete infrequent, deep waterings, and mow your lawn at the highest mower setting to avoid weeds from returning. Year-round care is essential to keep your property looking green and healthy.