Ideas & Inspiration
How to Seed a Lawn in Fall
As summer comes to an end, it’s time to take care of your cool-season lawn. A little feeding and overseeding now makes for lush, green grass in spring.
Cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial rye grass and tall or fine fescue thrive in areas with freezing winters and hot summers.
Cool-season lawns need a high-nitrogen fertilizer in fall and spring. Overseeding in fall prevents bald patches in early spring.
1. Test soil every three to four years. Choose a slow- or timed-release fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio. N = nitrogen; helps stems and leaves to grow. P = phosphorus; good for better root and flower development. K = potassium; good for overall plant health. You can purchase a soil test kit or contact your local Cooperative Extension Service for a soil test.
2. Find out how much seed and fertilizer you need by measuring your lawn. Multiply the length by the width to figure out square footage. Follow bag instructions for coverage area.
3. Check the weather. Don’t seed or feed if a strong thunderstorm is headed your way.
4. Select a broadcast spreader for large areas or a drop spreader for small spaces. Drop spreaders are more accurate and should be used around flower beds and sidewalks and other hard surfaces to avoid wasting seed and fertilizer.
5. Start with a dry lawn and overseed by making passes back and forth in a single direction. Make a second round of passes perpendicular to the first for uniform coverage.
6. Spread fertilizer the same day, following the application directions above.
7. Water the lawn generously to work the seed and feed into the soil and off the grass blades.
8. Watch out for falling leaves. Don’t let them pile up on grass because they can suffocate the seeds. Mulch leaves with a mulching lawn mower or leaf blower with a mulching feature. If you can collect the chopped leaves, they make great mulch for your flowerbeds.