Overseeding In Autumn
Autumn is one of the best, if not the best time to overseed your lawn: the soil temperature's still warm, and there’s a good chance of rainfall.
Overseeding involves spreading grass seed over an existing lawn. The lawn may be tired and damaged, or may simply need a little rejuvenation. Overseeding will repair any worn or damaged areas, and encourage a harder wearing lawn. It’ll also create a more uniform colour, improving the overall look of the lawn.
If you only want to repair certain damaged areas, you won’t need to overseed the entire lawn as you would when establishing a new grass species for example – but it’s entirely up to you.
So, why Autumn? At this time, the lawn is also likely to be at its thinnest, and the soil partially exposed. This means the seed has a greater chance of germinating, and has plenty of time to do so before winter sets in. There will generally be less lawn maintenance required at this time of year, meaning disruption to germination and establishment is also less likely.
Try to pick a calm day for overseeding, so the seed is not at risk of being blown away, preferably after a period of rainfall. The soil should be moist, but not saturated.
Before overseeding, mow your lawn short – slightly closer than you usually would – so that the seed can make contact with the soil. You then want to scarify / de-thatch the lawn, which you can do using just a rake for small lawns. You can also aerate the soil, which will help with drainage and air circulation. For small lawns, simply spike it with a garden fork at regular intervals, about 3-4" apart.
Your seed mix should contain: a suitable grass seed, an organic carrier, and sand if you wish. Compost and Turf Base are our two best organic materials for this. You will be applying around half the amount you would when sowing a completely new lawn.
Spread the mix evenly across the lawn. For small lawns you can do this using a brush/broom to spread it out - this will also help you to work the seed down and into the soil. Once you’ve applied the mix, you may wish to apply a top dressing, which can encourage the seed to ‘take’ quicker and help retain moisture. Turf Base, Fine Composted Bark, and Peat Free Fines are great top dressings. As with the grass seed mix, you can simply brush this across the seeded lawn.
Once the new grass has established, and the blades reach the height of the existing lawn, it can be mowed. We recommend setting the blades high for the first couple of cuts, after which you can resume normal mowing.
In autumn, rainfall will generally provide enough moisture for the lawn to thrive, however, if you find that there's a lack of rain, light watering will help.