Can I Just Throw Grass Seed on My Lawn? How To Overseed Your Lawn (2024)

If you’re someone who is wishing for green and healthy grass, then you may already know overseeding the lawn is part of the process. Still, you might be wondering how to overseed your lawn.

More specifically, can you just sprinkle grass seed on the existing lawn?

We hear this question a lot. Homeowners tell us that they typically just toss some grass seed down on bare spots to try and fill them in. But oftentimes they’re frustrated that this doesn't work like they expect it will. We’ll explain why you really can’t just sprinkle grass seed on an existing lawn and expect amazing results.Can I Just Throw Grass Seed on My Lawn? How To Overseed Your Lawn (1)

Can I Just Throw Grass Seed on my Lawn?

Whether you have some noticeable bare spots or you just want to thicken up your lawn as a whole, you might be thinking about sprinkling some grass seed around. We know that homeowners do this all of the time, but we’re not sure they always understand why they don’t get the results they expected.

The main reason is due to our clay-like soil here in the Memphis, TN area. When you just sprinkle grass seed on an existing lawn, it ends up just sitting atop of the soil and a lot of it may never germinate.

Then homeowners end up asking the question, why can’t I get my grass to grow?

In reality, the best practice is to have lawn aeration performed followed by overseeding the lawn.
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When aeration is performed first, it breaks up the clay soil, allowing your lawn to “breathe.” During an aeration service, small holes will be made by pulling out soil plugs (also called “cores”). This allows more oxygen, water, and nutrients to be able to penetrate down to the root zone where your existing lawn is already attempting to grow.
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But when this service is followed by overseeding, then you’re also providing those new seeds the best chance at germination. That’s because you’re providing optimal seed-to-soil contact.

In other words, the seeds will fall into the holes that were created rather than just sitting atop the soil like they would if you were to just sprinkle grass seed on the existing lawn. This provides them with the best conditions to get started in their growth process. When the seed just sits atop of the soil, often it gets blown or moved before it even has a chance to try and grow.

The Grass Seed also Matters When Overseeding the Lawn

In addition to ensuring that the soil conditions are optimal with a lawn aeration service, you also want to make sure that you are putting down a high-quality grass seed if you’re expecting great results.

We find that most homeowners aren’t aware how dramatically grass seed can differ. To get the best results, you need the best seed.

The best grass seed for Tennessee is a blend. At Master Lawn, we are seeding with a premium blend that is 80 percent Tall Fescue and 20 percent Ryegrass to provide the best of what each of those grasses has to offer.
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You also want to make sure that you’re overseeding the lawn at the right time. By late summer, most lawns in Memphis TN and Northern MS are struggling due to the intense heat. Lawn aeration is best performed in the fall as the temperatures begin to drop a bit. The soil is still warm but the air temperature is cooler, providing better growing conditions for your new grass.

The grass will thrive through winter but really start to perform its best in the spring, growing quickly and steadily.

While some people ask about lawn aeration in the spring, the problem with this timing is that it starts to heat up too quickly. Ultimately, the summer sun can fry your brand-new and fragile grass. That’s why we recommend aeration and overseeding a lawn in the fall.

Choosing a Professional Lawn Aeration and Overseeding Service

Now that you have an idea how to get better results when overseeding a lawn, you might be looking for a professional lawn aeration service. We’ve written a blog article on DIY aeration and why it’s not the best idea. Most homeowners are disappointed with the subpar results they receive when attempting to aerate on their own.

That’s why choosing a pro is the best choice.
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At Master Lawn, we believe that aeration is one of the most important things that you can be doing for your lawn for the reasons that we’ve explained. It’s included in our Platinum program and can be added to our Gold or Silver lawn care programs as an add-on service.

When you choose professional aeration followed by overseeding with high-quality seed, you can get on your way to the amazing results you’ve been wishing for.

Ready to have a lawn that you love at your Memphis area home? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.

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Can I Just Throw Grass Seed on My Lawn? How To Overseed Your Lawn (2024)

FAQs

Can I Just Throw Grass Seed on My Lawn? How To Overseed Your Lawn? ›

While the grass seed should germinate if you just throw it on the surface, you should know that there are a few negative effects of planting the seeds in this way. It could harm the speed and success of germination and may leave you with patchy and uneven coverage.

Will grass seed work if I just throw it down? ›

While the grass seed should germinate if you just throw it on the surface, you should know that there are a few negative effects of planting the seeds in this way. It could harm the speed and success of germination and may leave you with patchy and uneven coverage.

How to properly overseed your lawn? ›

How to overseed a lawn
  1. Cut the grass. Mow the lawn at 1 ½ inches to 2 inches. ...
  2. Prepare the soil. Both dethatching and aerating help water, nutrients, air, and sunlight reach the roots. ...
  3. Plant seed. After preparing the soil, it's time to put down the new seed. ...
  4. Water.
Nov 21, 2023

Can I just spread grass seed on an existing lawn? ›

Overseeding can help you get back to the thick, lush, green lawn you've always wanted. By spreading grass seed over your existing lawn, you can thicken up the thin areas, and your lawn will start to look terrific again.

Will grass seed grow if you just sprinkle it on the ground? ›

If you simply toss the grass seed onto the soil, you will end up with poor germination. Thoroughly rake the area to remove any loose debris and to create grooves in the soil. These grooves will help increase the seed-to-soil contact that is imperative for germination.

How to overseed a lawn without aerating? ›

Homeowners often wonder how to overseed lawn without aerating, and if it's a good idea. The answer is that you can overseed effectively without aerating. As we've just mentioned, it's all about seed-to-soil contact. You can get good results without aerating by simply clearing and raking the soil before applying seed.

Can I sprinkle grass seed on bare spots? ›

Watering a bare spot will not get the grass to regrow. Site preparation is needed. Before planting the seed, please ensure that weeds, existing grass, sticks, and rocks are removed. After cleaning the area, rough up the soil or lay down some fresh topsoil.

Should grass be wet or dry when overseeding? ›

A good rule of thumb is to water the day before you plan to overseed so the soil has a little time to dry. When the soil is moist, go over the grass a few times with a core aerator (you can rent these at most garden stores) or a manual lawn aerator. This leaves tiny holes in the soil for the seeds to be worked into.

What month is the best time to seed or overseed a lawn? ›

For warm-season grasses, late spring, specifically around May, is ideal. On the other hand, the preferable seeding window for cool-season grasses is in the fall, from late August to early September, and alternatively in early spring, around March.

Can you put too much grass seed down? ›

Quality grass seed labels include guidance on optimal seeding rates to maximize your results. Don't overdo or cut corners. Too much grass seed causes undue competition for resources such as light, water and nutrients, and grass seedlings struggle as a result. Too little seed leaves lawns thin or bare.

Should I water immediately after overseeding? ›

For best results, water all newly-seeded areas twice daily, beginning the day of seeding. The goal is to keep the seed moist, but to avoid standing water. Too much water will kill the seed. If you are not able to water twice a day, thoroughly water once daily for a longer duration.

Can I reseed over dead grass? ›

Start by raking dead grass spots to loosen the soil and remove the expired blades. Lightly rake the healthy areas to get rid of dying grass and aerate the soil for root stimulation. Once you have the land prepared, take a rotary seed spreader and lay down new grass seed over the dead spots.

What is the best grass seed to overseed with? ›

If you are tired of looking at bare spots in your turf, ryegrass seed is one of your fastest solutions. Whether you have cool season grass that needs overseeding or warm season grass that needs a fall touch-up, the Jonathan Green product can lead to a very healthy lawn.

What happens if I just throw grass seed on the lawn? ›

If the seed is just thrown on the ground it will cause poor germination.

Should I water after putting grass seed down? ›

It is important to keep the surface area constantly moist until all seeds have germinated. Until the planted area is densely showing green growth, don't allow it to dry out.

Can you just throw seeds on the ground? ›

Wildflower seeds don't need to be planted in holes; however, they should be tapped down to encourage growth. After you've scattered them over the soil, use the back of a shovel, your hand, or your foot to gently press them into the ground.

Will grass seed germinate on top of soil? ›

Will grass seed germinate on top of the soil? Yes; in fact, germination will suffer if too much soil is placed on top of the seeds. The experts at Jonathan Green recommend placing a thin layer of mulch or topsoil over them to help keep them moist and warm and promote growth.

Should you water right after putting grass seed down? ›

Simply insert a long screw driver into the ground. If it pushes down 6 to 8 inches without much resistance, you have the proper water saturation. Water new grass seed for 5 to 10 minutes immediately after planting to gently moisten the first several inches of soil.

What to do after throwing grass seed? ›

You must keep newly seeded lawns moist with light, frequent watering in order for the seeds to germinate. Keep the soil moist (but not saturated) until the new seedlings are about 1 inch tall. Be careful: Too much water can rot the seeds or wash them away.

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