How To Overseed or Reseed Your Lawn In 10 Easy Steps

In order to avoid having a lawn that looks like a barren desert, you need to know how to reseed your lawn. By following these simple steps, you can create a beautiful and healthy lawn that will last for years.

Seeding a lawn is the process of planting new grass seed in an area where the grass is thin or missing. There are two ways to do this: overseeding and reseeding. Overseeding is the best way to fill in small patches of thin or balding grass. Reseeding is done when you want to replace your lawn’s grass completely.

How To Overseed or Reseed Your Lawn In 10 Easy Steps

If you’re noticing your lawn is looking a little thin or the color isn’t as bright as it used to be, you may need to overseed or reseed it. Overseeding or reseeding your lawn is a great way to improve your yard’s overall health and appearance. By planting new grass seed, you can fill in any bald spots or thin areas and help your lawn become thicker and more resistant to weeds and pests.

Step 1: Make a plan

Having a plan will help you focus on overseeding or reseeding your lawn. Consider tools, materials, cost, and labor before you start. You’ll need specific tools and materials for either process:

Tools list

  • Lawn Aerator: This tool creates holes in the soil, allowing air, water, and nutrients to reach the grass roots; This makes it easier for new grass seeds to take root and grow.
  • Dethatcher: This tool removes dead grass, thatch, and other debris from the lawn, which can help improve the soil condition and make it easier for new grass seeds to germinate.
  • Seed Spreader: This tool evenly distributes grass seed across the lawn. There are different types of seed spreaders available, including hand-held models and walk-behind models.
  • Lawn Roller: This tool presses the grass seed into the soil, creating good soil-to-seed contact; This helps ensure the seed gets enough moisture and nutrients to germinate and grow.
  • Rake: This tool is used to prepare the soil before seeding by removing large clumps of dirt or debris and smoothing the surface.
  • Watering Can or Hose: Once the seed has been sown, keeping the soil moist is essential until the grass has established itself. You can use a watering can or hose to water the seeds regularly.
  • Fertilizer Spreader: After seeding, you may want to fertilize your lawn to help the new grass grow strong and healthy. You can use it to distribute the appropriate amount of fertilizer evenly across the yard. Also, you can use a compost spreader as an eco-friendly option to fertilize your lawn.

Materials list

Step 2: Choose the best time

Overseeding is usually done in the fall for optimal growth before spring. The best time is about 4-6 weeks before the first expected frost to allow the new grass seed to establish itself and benefit from cooler temperatures.

Spring is a good time to overseed a lawn in some regions. Wait until after the last frost date to avoid damage to new grass seedlings.

The best time to reseed a lawn depends on factors like grass type, climate, and schedule. For cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass or fescue, early fall is ideal before the first frost to establish strong roots before winter. In warmer climates with Bermuda or Zoysia grass, late spring or early summer is best for quick germination and growth.

Step 3: Prepare the area to overseed or reseed your lawn

There are a few key things you can do in preparation for overseeding or reseeding your lawn. Once you’ve prepared the area, it’s time to choose your seed.

  • Remove any debris from the area, including leaves, branches, and stones.
  • Rake the area to loosen the soil and create a smooth surface.
  • Apply a layer of compost or manure to the area and rake it in.
  • If you’re overseeding, spread the seed evenly over the area and rake it in. Dig up the entire lawn and remove any old grass or weeds if you’re reseeding. Sprinkle the new seed over the place and rake it in well.
  • Water the area well until the soil is completely moistened.
  • Keep the area wet until the new grass has grown in completely—usually about two weeks.

Step 4: Solve existing lawn problems

Solve existing lawn problems

There are many common lawn problems that can occur, such as weeds, bare patches, brown spots, pests, poor drainage, and compacted soil. Here are some tips on how to fix these issues:

  • Weeds: Weeds can be a significant problem for lawns, especially if they grow unchecked. Common weeds include dandelions, clover, crabgrass, and thistle. To remove weeds, manually pull them out by hand or use an herbicide. If using an herbicide, make sure to read the label instructions carefully.
  • Bare patches: Bare patches in the lawn can be caused by various factors, including heavy foot traffic, insect damage, and disease. If the grass is thin or patchy, it may be due to a lack of nutrients in the soil. In this case, you can add some organic matter or fertilizer to help improve the quality of the soil. The best way to fix bare spots is to reseed the area. Prepare the soil properly before seeding, and regularly water the area until the grass grows back.
  • Brown spots: Brown spots in the lawn can be caused by several factors, including lack of water, heat stress, and fungal disease. To fix brown patches, find the underlying cause and address it. For example, if a lack of water causes the brown patch, water the area more frequently.
  • Insects: Various insects can damage lawns, including grubs, chinch bugs, and armyworms. To eliminate them, use an insecticide specifically designed for lawn pests. Follow the instructions carefully and apply the insecticide when the pests are most active.
  • Fungal diseases: Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and the brown patch can cause damage to lawns. You have to take some steps to control fungus in your lawn, like Mow your lawn regularly and at the correct height, water your lawn correctly, improve soil drainage by aerating your lawn, use an appropriate fungicide for the type of fungus if necessary, and follow the instructions carefully.
  • Poor drainage: Lawns that don’t drain well can develop standing water areas, leading to root rot and other problems. Improve soil drainage by aerating your lawn and removing any thatch buildup.
  • Compacted soil: Soil that has become compacted can make it difficult for grass roots to penetrate, leading to weak and thin grass growth. You can solve compacted soil in your lawn by taking some steps, like limiting foot traffic on the lawn by creating designated paths or walkways, using a core aerator to remove small plugs of soil, topdressing with compost or sand, and watering your lawn correctly.

Step 5: Select a quality grass seed product

When it comes time to overseed or reseed your lawn, you want to select a quality grass seed product. The best time to do this is in the early fall, before the first frost.

In order to make sure your lawn looks great all year, it’s essential to choose a high-quality seed mix that will germinate quickly and fill in any bald spots. 

There are many different types of grass seed available on the market, so be sure to do your research before purchasing. Some popular varieties include Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue. 

Always use grasses suited for your climate and high-quality grass seed. If you’re unsure which type of grass is best for your climate and soil type, consult with a local garden center or landscaper.

best grass seeds for lawn

Step -6: Spread your grass seed

You need to remember a few key things when spreading grass seed to overseed or reseed your lawn:

  • Make sure you are using the correct type of seed for your climate and the specific needs of your lawn.
  • Be sure to water the seed properly for it to germinate and take root.
  • Give the new grass enough time to grow before mowing it.
Best seed spreader

Apply seed at the stated overseeding rates using the appropriate lawn spreader. To treat large lawns, use drop or broadcast spreaders. Small patches can be seeded by hand. Work in calm air to ensure seed distribution.

Step 7: Fertilize your new grass

Fertilize your new grass

The best time to fertilize overseeded areas of your lawn is after the new seedlings have germinated and started to grow. A light fertilizer application will help the new seedlings get off to a strong start. Choose a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus. This type of fertilizer will help the grass to grow thick and healthy. Be sure to water the lawn well after you apply the fertilizer. Stay away from weed and feed products. Seed germination is inhibited by pre-emergent herbicides.

Related article: How long does it take for grass seed to grow?

Step -8: Water your new grass

Water your new grass

A healthy lawn is a beautiful thing. Not only does it make your home look good, but a well-maintained lawn is also great for the environment. One of the most critical aspects of lawn care is watering. If you want new grass to grow, you need to water it regularly.

Watering schedule for new grass seed depends on various factors such as the type of grass, soil type, weather conditions, and the location. However, here are some general guidelines that you can follow:

  • Generally speaking, though, you should water your lawn at least once a week. However, you may need to water it twice a week or more in hot weather.
  • If you’re not sure how much water your lawn needs, there are several ways to test it. One easy way is to stick a screwdriver into the ground near one of your plants.
  • Overseeded lawns need regular watering. Water seed and soil lightly twice daily for the first four days, then more strongly every other day for five days, then as is necessary to prevent wilting. This promotes strong roots.
  • Keep the soil moist but not saturated. Overwatering can cause the grass seeds to wash away or lead to fungal growth.
  • Water for short periods of time, around 5-10 minutes per session, until the grass reaches about 1 inch in height.
  • After the grass has reached 1 inch or more in height, water less frequently but more deeply to encourage deep root growth. Once or twice a week should be sufficient, depending on rainfall and temperature.
  • Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day to reduce evaporation.

Step -9: Regular maintenance 

Regular maintenance 

Congratulations on your new lawn! Maintain a healthy lawn with regular watering, proper mowing, and proactive overseeding. A weekday lawn care routine can keep your weekends free and your grass green.

One of the keys to keeping your lawn looking its best is to develop a regular maintenance schedule and stick to it. This means mowing regularly, watering when needed, and addressing any problems as they arise.

Mowing Schedule for a new lawn

Here is a mowing schedule to help you keep it healthy and looking great:

  1. Week 1: Let the grass grow about 3-4 inches before the first mow.
  2. Week 2-3: Mow the grass to a 2-3 inches height.
  3. Week 4-5: Mow the grass to a height of 1.5-2 inches.
  4. Week 6 onward: Maintain the grass at a 1-2 inches height by mowing it once a week.

It’s important to cut at most one-third of the blade length in one mowing session, as this can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to disease and pests. Also, keep your mower blade sharp, as a dull blade can tear the grass instead of cutting it cleanly.

An excellent way to establish a maintenance routine is to think about your lawn in four quadrants and develop a plan for each one. For example, you might want to mow more often than in the shaded areas in the quadrant that receives the most sunlight.

Watering Schedule for a new lawn

Watering is another essential part of lawn care. You should water deeply but infrequently rather than shallowly and often. This will help encourage deep root growth, which will make your lawn more drought-resistant.

The fertilization schedule for new grass seed depends on the grass you are planting and your region’s climate. In general, it is recommended to fertilize new grass seedlings once they have established a root system and started to grow.

Here is a general fertilization schedule for new grass seeds:

  • Pre-planting: Before planting new grass seed, prepare the soil by removing weeds, rocks, and debris and adding any necessary soil amendments. You can also apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent weed growth.
  • Initial fertilization: Once you have planted the grass seed, wait until the grass plants have grown to about 2-3 inches tall before applying the first round of fertilizer. Use a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). Apply the fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound per 1,000 square feet.
  • Second fertilization: About 4-6 weeks after the initial fertilization, apply a second round of fertilizer. Use a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content to promote leaf growth. Apply at a rate of 0.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
  • Third fertilization: Another 4-6 weeks later, apply a third round of fertilizer. Use a fertilizer with lower nitrogen and higher phosphorus and potassium content to encourage root growth. Apply at a rate of 0.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

It’s important not to over-fertilize new grass seed, as this can cause the grass to grow too quickly and become weak and susceptible to disease and pests. Also, follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully and water the grass thoroughly after each application.

Address any problems with a new lawn

A few common problems can arise in a new lawn, such as patchy growth, weed invasion, and pest infestations. Here are some steps to address these issues:

  • Patchy growth: If areas of your lawn aren’t growing correctly, you may need to reseed or re-sod those areas. Prepare the soil properly before planting, and water frequently to encourage healthy growth.
  • Weed invasion: If weeds have taken over your new lawn, you may need an herbicide to control their growth. Don’t damage your grass while applying the herbicide; follow all instructions carefully.
  • Pest infestations: If you notice pests in your lawn, such as grubs or chinch bugs, you may need to apply a pesticide to control the infestation. Again, follow all instructions carefully and take precautions to protect yourself and any pets or children who may come into contact with the treated area.

With care and attention, you should be able to address any problems that arise and enjoy a healthy, beautiful lawn. If you see any serious problems with your lawn, don’t hesitate to consult your local garden center.

Step -10: Follow the proper lawn care schedule

A proper lawn care schedule is important for the health of your grass and the overall appearance of your yard. Depending on the type of grass you have, you will need to mow, water, and fertilize at different times throughout the year. You should also aerate and thatch your lawn on a regular basis. Also, it’s important to clean up dead plants and leaves in the fall to keep diseases from staying in your lawn over the winter. By following a proper lawn care schedule, you can ensure that your grass is healthy and your yard looks its best.

DutiesIdeal TimeAcceptable Time
AerationMay and Late-August to Mid-OctoberMid-April t Mid-November
Broadleaf controlMid-May to Mid-June and Mid-August to Early-OctoberMay to October
FertilizationLate-April to May and Late-June to SeptemberLate-April to October
Grub controlLate-May to Mid-JuneLate-April to June
IrrigationApril to Mid- NovemberApril to Mid- November
OverseedingEarly-October to Mid-SeptemberMay, June, Late-September to Late-October, and Mid-November to Mid-December
Pre-emergent controlLate-April to Late-MayApril, May to Late-June
SoddingMay to Late-June, Early-August to Early-OctoberEarly-April to June and Early-August to Early-November
Soil testingMarch, April, and NovemberMay to October
A Complete Lawn Care Schedule for A Year In General

FAQs About Overseeding or Reseeding A Lawn

Q. Is it easy to overseed a lawn?

Overseeding a lawn can be a relatively simple task, but it requires careful planning and attention to detail to ensure it’s done correctly. Here are the general steps involved in overseeding a lawn:

  • Determine the best time for overseeding based on the type of grass.
  • Mow your lawn to a shorter length than usual and remove any debris.
  • Use a rake or other tool to loosen up the top layer of soil and create a seedbed for the new grass to grow in.
  • Spread the grass seed evenly over the entire lawn, using a seed spreader to help ensure even distribution.
  • Lightly rake the seed into the soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.
  • Water the newly seeded area thoroughly and moisten the soil until the new grass has fully established.
  • Once the new grass grows, gradually reduce the watering frequency and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

Overall, overseeding a lawn is a simple process, but it does require patience and consistent care to achieve good results.

Q. Should you fertilize or overseed first?

For the best results, fertilize and reseed your lawn separately. First, plant new grass to let it take root without competition. After a few weeks, apply fertilizer to help it grow strong. Make sure to time these tasks right for your grass type and climate. Get advice from an expert or research the best practices for your area.

Q. Can you just sprinkle grass seed on the lawn?

Don’t just toss grass seed on your lawn. Prepare the soil first by loosening it up. Use a seed spreader to evenly distribute the seed, then gently rake it in. Water and fertilize regularly for better growth.

Q. How fast does grass grow after overseeding?

Grass growth after overseeding depends on seed type, soil, weather, water, and nutrients. It may take weeks or months for new grass to grow fully. To help it grow well, water and fertilize regularly and avoid walking on it until it’s strong.

Q. Can I put topsoil over grass and reseed it?

Yes, you can put topsoil over an existing grass lawn and reseed it. This technique is known as overseeding and can help improve the quality of your lawn by filling in thin or patchy areas.

First, mow the grass short, clear any debris, then spread 1/4 to 1/2 inch of topsoil. Roll the soil, sow grass seeds at 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet, and water the area regularly until the grass grows.

Q. What is the best grass seed to overseed with?

The best grass seed for overseeding depends on your location, climate, and lawn condition. Each type of grass has different requirements for sunlight, soil, water, and temperature.

Choose a grass seed that suits your area and growing conditions. Here are some popular options for overseeding:

  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Fine fescue
  • Tall fescue

Perennial ryegrass is a popular choice for overseeding because it germinates quickly and forms a dense, lush lawn. It also has a high tolerance for foot traffic and can withstand heavy use.

Kentucky bluegrass is another popular choice for overseeding. It has a fine texture and produces a dark green lawn well-suited to cooler climates. It can take longer to establish than perennial ryegrass but is known for its durability.

Fine fescue is a group of grasses that includes creeping red fescue, chewings fescue, hard fescue, and sheep fescue. These grasses are well-suited to shady areas and can tolerate various soil types.

Tall fescue is a hardy grass that performs well in hot, dry conditions. It has a deep root system that helps it withstand drought and heat stress.

In any case, it’s best to research or consult a local gardening expert to determine the best grass seed for your specific needs.

Q. How much seed do you need to overseed 1 acre?

To overseed 1 acre, you typically need 86-130 pounds of grass seed, based on the recommended seeding rate of 2-3 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Different grass varieties may have specific seeding rate requirements, so always check the seed label or seek advice from a gardening expert to ensure the right amount for your needs, especially when using a grass mix.

Q. How much topsoil do I need for overseeding?

The amount of topsoil you need for overseeding will depend on the condition of your existing soil and how thickly you want to spread the topsoil.

Generally, a layer of topsoil that is 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick should be sufficient for overseeding. To calculate the amount of topsoil needed, you’ll first need to determine the square footage of the area you plan to overseed.

Once you have the square footage, you can use the following formula to estimate the amount of topsoil needed:

Amount of Topsoil (cubic yards) = Square Footage x Depth (in feet) / 27

For example, if you have a lawn that is 1,000 square feet and you want to add a layer of topsoil that is 1/2 inch thick, the calculation would be:

1000 x (1/24) = 41.67 cubic feet of topsoil

To convert cubic feet to cubic yards, divide by 27:

41.67 / 27 = 1.54 cubic yards of topsoil

So in this example, you would need approximately 1.54 cubic yards of topsoil to add a 1/2-inch layer over a 1,000-square-foot lawn.

Q. Can I use garden soil for overseeding?

Avoid using garden soil for overseeding your lawn as it may contain weed seeds, rocks, and debris that can hinder grass seed growth. Opt for high-quality topsoil designed for lawns and gardens, rich in organic matter and free of contaminants. Blend the garden soil with existing topsoil if you decide to use it, but be aware that it could lead to weed growth and other problems for your lawn.

Q. Can I overseed and fertilize the same day?

Don’t fertilize and overseed your lawn on the same day to avoid stressing the new grass. Wait a few weeks after overseeding before fertilizing to give the new grass time to grow. Use fertilizer for new grass once it’s well-established to help it grow.

Q. How many times should you overseed?

How often you overseed your lawn depends on factors like the type of grass, soil quality, and how much the lawn is used. It’s usually best to overseed every 2-3 years to fill in bare spots and help the grass grow well. In some thin or worn areas, you may need to overseed more often. Areas that get a lot of foot traffic might need overseeding more frequently to keep the lawn healthy and thick.


In conclusion, overseeding or reseeding your lawn is a great way to improve the health and appearance of your lawn. However, it is crucial to choose the right time to do this and use the right type of seed mix. By following these simple steps, you can create a beautiful and healthy lawn that will last for years. Just never forgot the power of overseeding.

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Jeffrey Bromley
Jeffrey Bromley

Jeffrey Bromley is an experienced lawn care professional with over 13 years in the industry. He is the owner of The Lawn & Landscape Company and the founder of Lawn Gardeners Blog. His passion for lawn care extends beyond his business ventures, with a personal commitment to helping individuals take better care of their yards.

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