How To Weed And Seed Your Yard

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 Are you anxious to seed your lawn to fill in bare spots? The truth is, seeding in the spring is not a good idea. Read these tips on when to plant grass seed and how to achieve the best results.

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.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Water generously, but not too much, and voilà—you’ve just overseeded your yard!
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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.

3 Things to do Before and After Yard Pest Control Treatments

If you have bare or thin spots in your lawn then you might be thinking about seeding. Seeding can be a great way to solve these problems, however, homeowners often mistakenly assume that it’s something they can have performed any time during the year. For optimal results, that’s simply not the case.

Because we want the best for your lawn, we’ll explain when to plant grass seed in spring or fall and how to achieve the best results.

Can I Seed my Lawn in the Spring?

This is a question that we receive quite often. If you have a lawn that has bare spots or thin areas, then you might be anxious to seed in order to fill them in. But the truth is, seeding in the spring is not a good idea for two key reasons that we’ll explain.

You Can’t Put Down Some Lawn Care Materials

If you’ve seeded in the spring, then you can’t put down crabgrass preventer for approximately 3 months afterward, and at that time, it will be too late to prevent crabgrass.

The material being applied will not know the difference between a desired turfgrass seed and a crabgrass seed, and will ultimately prevent both from growing.

Sometimes people ask us about just skipping crabgrass control but in our opinion, this is risky. Skipping crabgrass control can become a potentially serious concern because of how quickly the pesky weeds can spread. Crabgrass also grows most freely in the thinner areas of your lawn, such as the ones you may have seeded, which makes seeding a bad idea.

Likewise, broadleaf weed control cannot be applied until your new grass seed begins to grow and has matured enough to mow it a couple times. Again, that time frame will end up being very late in the spring to early summer and at that time, your lawn will have also developed quite a crop of weeds along the way.

The Upcoming Weather is Not Ideal

While the springtime weather may be fine for growing grass seed, it won’t be long until the hot summer sun impacts growing conditions. Most people assume that winter is the most challenging time for grass but it’s actually the summer. It’s very difficult to keep brand-new grass seedlings alive with the heat of the summer sun beating down.

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The Best Time to Plant Grass in Virginia

You might be wondering when is the best time to plant grass in Virginia if it’s not the spring. Ideally, seeding should always be performed in the fall. Not only does this allow you to get through the spring season utilizing the professional weed control products that your lawn will need to look its best, but weather conditions in the fall are ideal for new seedling growth.

The weather is cool, the ground is moist, and the soil is still warm. In these conditions, your lawn will develop a healthy root system that will allow it to become established in plenty of time before the summer stress sets in.

When it comes to broadleaf weed control, you can apply a late summer or early fall application of this material and then wait approximately a week and seed your lawn. This allows for getting rid of most of the weeds in the lawn prior to seeding and then not having to worry about them for the rest of the fall.

Of course, you might also be wondering specifically when to plant grass seed in fall? The optimal time is anywhere between late August (technically late summer) through the end of October or possibly even early November. It’s not so much the exact time as it is the weather conditions.

Is There Ever a Time to Plant Grass Seed in Spring?

Even though we tell homeowners that seeding the lawn in the spring is not ideal, we occasionally still have people who really want it done. This is usually the case for homeowners who just bought a home and have no grass at all or have so many bare spots that they’re desperate for at least some new grass.

In these circumstances, it’s all about expectations.

We are honest with homeowners that we can seed their lawn in the spring but chances are only about half of it may survive, if they’re lucky. They may also have to deal with weeds in their lawn since we can’t put product down. Then we’ll still need to re-seed in the fall and perform aeration or power seeding. Once homeowners look at it this way and recognize that they’ll be paying for seeding twice (without much luck on the first go-around), they usually just choose to wait.

Of course, another option, for the homeowner who is truly desperate for grass, is laying sod. This is another service that we can offer should you not be able to wait for seeding in the fall (plus the process of nurturing and growing that new grass).

Laying down sod is basically like getting an “instant lawn” and some homeowners decide to do it if they have a party coming up or just can’t wait for the grass to grow. However, you should know that it can be costly and the bigger the yard you have, the more it will be. For that reason, this is something we perform for townhomes or small sections of lawns more often than the entirety of expansive properties.

Wanting the Best for You

We have no doubt that there are lawn care companies in Northern Virginia that will agree to seed your lawn in the spring even though they know it’s not the ideal timing. Companies like these do not have your best interest at heart and would rather just get paid for the work.

At Kingstowne, you can always count on us to give you the honest truth, even when we know it’s not always what you would prefer to hear. Though it can be hard to wait when you really want to seed sooner, waiting until the optimum time to seed your lawn will pay off with better results (and a wiser investment on your behalf).

Our objective is to do what’s best for you, even when it means forgoing potential revenue we could earn in the spring. Ideally, we would love to see all of our customers hold off on seeding until the fall so that you can have the best possible outcome.

If you’re ready to work with an honest company who is committed to doing what’s best for your lawn, then request a quote and relax while we get to work.