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Thinking of Overseeding? Consider These 3 Things First

Here in North Texas we have a favorable climate that allows us to grow grass all year round. Sometime around mid October we start to see the warm season grass turning brown and some people don’t like that! If you’re one of those people and are considering overseeding, consider these 3 items first to make sure it is a good idea for your landscape.

1. Think twice if you have St. Augustine.

If your lawn is made up St. Augustine grass, then it will be less tolerant to overseeding. Cool-season grass seeds need good contact with soil to germinate and grow proper roots. St. Augustine has thick blades and grows in such a way that overseeding would require the lawn to be scalped, which can damage the growing crown of St. Augustine grass. Another issue is the initial watering the grass seed will need to germinate. St. Augustine is highly prone to Rhizoctonoia AKA Brown Patch in the fall. Cooler temps are the onset but moisture is the exasperating factor. Brown Patch doesn’t kill the grass but does cause it to green up slower (usually 2-3 weeks behind normal transition) the following spring. Lastly, St. Augustine doesn’t tolerate the root and nutrient competition with cool-season grass very well and will decline overtime if you reseed it repeatedly.

2. Have you already applied Pre-Emergent or planning to? 

Pre-emergent is a chemical weed control application done in late summer/early fall to help stop weeds from germinating through the winter and early spring. If you’ve already applied it to the yard or are planning to, mark overseeding off of your TO-DO list. If the pre-emergent was applied correctly and was activated, it will do it’s job correctly and not let the grass seeds germinate and sprout.

3. Do you like mowing and watering your yard all year round?

Complete this sentence… Mowing is ____________. If you answered “fun” then by all means, overseed! With green grass growing all winter, you’ll be mowing weekly. If you don’t like mowing or want to cut back on your winter lawn maintenance services, then skip the overseeding. Also just like any other plant, cool season grasses need proper watering to thrive. If you’re OK with tacking on a few extra dollars onto your water bill through the winter, then go ahead with the overseeding.

Other Tips and Info on Overseeding

  • If you have healthy thriving Bermudagrass and you don’t mind watering and mowing weekly through the winter, then overseeding is a good option for keeping a green lawn year-round. Bermudagrass is easier to overseed due to its fine leaf blades and very vigorous root system. Competition with the winter grass won’t set it back much however, we do recommend letting your Bermudagrass take a breather every couple of years to give it a chance to recover.
  • Do you have bare spots in your lawn that create a muddy mess when it rains? Or perhaps you have shady areas that can’t sustain warm season grass? Overseeding these areas in the fall could be a good option.
  • Know that overseeding will take some extra water, both to germinate the seed and for occasional maintenance in winter. To germinate your cool-season grass properly, you’ll need to run your sprinklers for 30-60 seconds @ 3-6 times per day until germination occurs. This usually takes about 7-10 days. After seeds germinate, you’ll need to water 1-2 times a day to keep the seedlings from drying out. After that, your overseeded lawn will need water twice a week for the next 2 weeks. Once your “winter lawn” is established, you’ll have to provide supplemental water when natural rainfall isn’t present.

Overseeding definitely has its pros and cons. Make sure to weigh them out before making the investment of your time and money!

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