Overseeding your lawn will thicken the grass, helping it resist future weed invasion. However, it is best used on a lawn where the weeds are currently dormant How to grow lawn that is lush and full of grass. Checklist to grow a weed-free lawn. Growing a lawn without weeds is a dream for many homeowners. This checklist will help you keep the weeds away from your lawn while maintaining healthy grass and teach you how to make St Augustine grass thicker. Make your lawn the envy of your neighbors with the best grass seed for your yard’s conditions. Find the right match and top recommendations.
Will Overseeding Choke Out Weeds?
Overseeding your lawn will thicken the grass, helping it resist future weed invasion. However, it is best used on a lawn where the weeds are currently dormant or have recently been killed. Spreading grass seed on a weedy lawn won’t do much good. Weeds that are actively growing in your grass will steal water and nutrients from grass seedlings, causing them to struggle and die. For best results, attack lawn weeds with a weed killer, then overseed to create a healthy lawn that prevents weeds from returning.
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How Does Overseeding Help Prevent Weeds?
Overseeding your existing lawn with new grass seed fills in bare spots and contributes to thicker grass throughout the lawn. A thick grass lawn without bare spots shades the soil below, depriving weed seedlings of sunlight, killing them. Not only that, but thick growing grass pulls moisture and nutrients from the soil first, before weed seedlings can get to them.
- Overseeding contributes to a thicker lawn.
- Bare spots that have been overseeded with grass are less prone to weed invasion.
- Lawns thickened by overseeding prevent weed seedlings from receiving sunlight and nutrients, smothering them.
- Regular overseeding maintains a thick, weed-resistant lawn without herbicides.
Grass plants, like all plants, weaken and die naturally over time. By overseeding you replenish your lawn with new grass plants. This constant replenishment keeps your entire lawn thick enough that it continues to smother new weeds. This reduces the need to use chemical weed killers on your lawn.
Do You Need to Remove Weeds Before Overseeding?
Overseeding is most effective when you kill existing weeds before you overseed. This is because grass can’t choke out existing, established weeds no matter how thick it is. A lush lawn can only stop new weed seeds from sprouting. Also, any weeds that are present when you overseed will steal water, nutrients, and sunshine from your new grass seedlings. Wipe out the weeds to give your grass a fighting chance.
- Remove existing weeds before you overseed.
- Existing weeds won’t be killed or choked out by overseeding. A thick, overseeded lawn will only suppress new weed growth.
- Kill established weeds or they will rob water and nutrients from your grass seedlings.
You’ll get more new grass sprouts from overseeding if you kill existing weeds first. Overseeding a lawn overgrown with weeds will get a poor yield. Your new grass will struggle to compete with the weeds. Paving the way for new grass by killing weeds is your best bet.
What is the Best Time of Year to Overseed a Weedy Lawn?
For the best results overseeding your lawn, you need to seed at the optimal time for your grass type. Warm-season grass lawns (such as Bermuda, Zoysia, and Centipede grass) should be overseeded in spring. Cool-season grasses (Kentucky Bluegrass, Fescue, Ryegrass) sprout and survive best when overseeded in fall.
- Overseed warm-season grasses in spring.
- Overseed cool-season grasses in fall.
- It’s best to overseed when no weeds are present.
Another factor that makes overseeding in fall a great option for cool-season grass lawns is that few weeds will be present. Even if your lawn was infested with crabgrass in spring, by fall it will have begun to drop its seeds and die off. If you overseed in fall, your new grass will sprout and establish itself. By spring, the grass will be thick enough to prevent many of those crabgrass seeds from sprouting.
What is the Best Grass Seed to Use for Overseeding?
The best grass seed for overseeding is grass that will grow well in your climate. In regions with freezing winters, choose cool-season grass. In regions where winters seldom freeze, warm-season grass will perform best.
- Seed with cool-season grass in regions with freezing winters.
- In regions with mild winters, overseed with warm-season grass.
- Match your grass seed to the variety of grass present in your lawn.
It’s also important to note that overseeding is the act of spreading additional grass seed over an existing lawn. It’s usually best to overseed your lawn with the same species of grass that is present there. This will create a uniform, beautiful lawn.
What Grass Will Choke Out Weeds?
The best grasses for choking out weeds in your lawn depend on your location. If you are planting warm season grass and wish to have a weed-resistant lawn, Bermuda grass is your best choice. It spreads through runners and roots to take over areas, which prevents weeds from getting a toehold.
- Bermuda grass is the best warm-season grass for choking out weeds.
- Kentucky Bluegrass is the top option for battling weeds in cool-season grass lawns.
Kentucky Bluegrass spreads faster than any other cool-season grass. It produces roots that form new plants in both spring and fall, meaning it self-thickens and fills in bare spots. If you want to weedproof your northern lawn, go with KBG.
Will Overseeding Your Lawn Get Rid of Weeds?
Overseeding a weedy lawn will not kill weeds on its own. However, thick grass growth produced by overseeding prevents new weeds from sprouting. In order to keep your lawn weed-free with overseeding, first, kill any existing weeds, then prep your lawn and spread new grass seed. The thick growth of new grass will choke out new weed seedlings as they attempt to sprout.
How To Grow A Grass Lawn Without Weeds
Growing a lawn without weeds is a dream for many homeowners. While it’s probably unrealistic to have a lawn 100% free of weeds, you can aim to grow a thick, healthy stand of grass. That’s actually the easiest way to give weeds the brushoff: grow turf that’s so thick and strong that weeds can’t find an inch to take root. Follow this checklist to grow your healthiest grass ever.
Grow the Right Grass
Different grasses grow in different areas of the country. Warm-season grasses are usually grown in warmer, more southerly regions. Types include Bahiagrass, Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass and Zoysiagrass. Cool-season grasses are typically grown in cooler, more northerly regions. Types include Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass and Ryegrass. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office to learn which types of grass grow best in your area.
Start by cutting grass with a sharp mower blade that cuts grass cleanly, without tearing or shredding. Proper mowing height depends on grass type. Vary your mowing pattern to avoid creating ruts in the lawn. Avoid mowing when soil is wet, or you risk tearing up grass and soil.
Provide adequate moisture to grass, especially during episodes of drought or high temperatures. Provide deep, infrequent irrigation, which promotes healthy, deeper roots. Learn about lawn irrigation basics and how much grass actually needs.
Before you start a fertilizer program, do a soil test so you know you’re applying the correct blend of nutrients. In some parts of the country, soils may be acidic or alkaline and require additions of iron, magnesium or lime. Also, different types of grass need to be fertilized at different times of the year. Check with your local Cooperative Extension System office for help developing the right fertilizer program for your lawn.
Scout for Problems
Like any landscape planting, lawns can suffer from a variety of problems. Weeds, bare spots, insects and diseases can weaken and, if left untreated, even destroy a healthy lawn. Keep an eye out for problems in your lawn.
- Deal with weeds when you first see them, because one weed leads to many more. Learn about the types of lawn weed killers and when to use each. Discover why fall weed control is key and how to do it successfully.
- When a bare spot appears, figure out the cause and deal with it. Open soil extends an invitation to weeds, so repair bare spots as quickly as possible.
- Scout for insect problems. Some of the signs to look for are skunks digging up lawn or flocks of birds feeding on turf. White Grubs are a common lawn pest. Discover the basics of dealing with Grubs.
Aerate and Dethatch
Compacted soils don’t allow air and water to reach grass roots, which results in unhealthy grass.
Aerating helps relieve soil compaction.
When thatch builds up in a lawn, it can prevent water and fertilizer from reaching soil and provide refuge for insects.
The Best Grass Seed of 2022
Make your lawn the envy of your neighbors with the best grass seeds for your yard’s conditions.
By Tony Carrick | Updated Jun 29, 2022 6:15 PM
BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Many homeowners dream of a lush, green carpet of grass upon which their children and pets can frolic. Growing a lawn that makes neighbors green with envy begins with choosing the right grass seed.
There is a seemingly endless variety of different seed types and products on the market, which can make choosing the right one an involved process. Climate, shade, and foot traffic all play roles in which grass seed is right for your lawn. This guide features factors to consider when choosing the best grass seed that will turn your yard into a striking carpet of green.
- BEST OVERALL:Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun & Shade-3 in 1
- BEST BUDGET:Scotts Turf Builder Sunny Mix, 3lb.
- BEST WARM-SEASON:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Southern Gold Mix
- BEST COOL-SEASON:Jonathan Green Black Beauty All Grasses Sun or Shade
- BEST FOR DENSE SHADE:Pennington Seed Smart Seed Grass Seed 3 Lb
- BEST FOR HIGH-TRAFFIC:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed High Traffic Mix
- BEST KENTUCKY BLUEGRASS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Kentucky Bluegrass
- BEST BERMUDA GRASS:Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Bermudagrass, 5 lb
- BEST FAST-GROWING:Pennington Smart Seed Perennial Rye Blend Grass Seed
- BEST LOW-MAINTENANCE:Scotts Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch
Types of Grass Seed
Grass seed falls into two main categories: warm-season and cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses endure hot southern climates much better than cool-season grasses. During the winter, warm-season grasses turn brown as they go dormant. Cool-season grasses grow quickly in the cool weather of fall and spring before going dormant in the summer heat. Warm-season grasses can be reseeded during the spring and summer, while spring and fall are the optimal time to reseed cool-season grasses.
- Bahia: This warm-season grass is popular in hot climates because of its heat tolerance and drought-resistant qualities. While other grasses burn to a crisp in the hot sun, with its broad leaves and coarse texture, Bahia grass thrives. This makes it an attractive grass species in the Deep South.
- Bermuda: As with many other warm-season grasses, Bermuda grass thrives in hot climates thanks to its exceptional ability to tolerate heat and withstand high traffic. Bermuda grass requires good drainage, full-sun exposure, and plenty of nutrients. The grass does not tolerate cold weather well, making it a good option in the southern part of the country.
- Buffalo: Even though it is considered a warm-season grass, buffalo grass thrives in a broad range of climates and is quite common in states such as Montana that experience harsh winters. Like other warm-season grasses, it goes dormant and turns brown in colder weather. Planting season for buffalo grass is from April to May.
- Centipede: Centipede grass is known for being heat tolerant and very low maintenance. This makes it a popular grass with those who don’t enjoy spending a lot of time managing their lawns. Centipede grass thrives in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Due to those requirements, it does best in the Southeast. Plant centipede grass seed in the spring when all danger of frost has passed.
- St. Augustine: One of Florida’s most popular grasses, St. Augustine can tolerate high heat and humidity. It features blue-green grass blades that spread quickly through a lawn. St. Augustine also can tolerate salt water, which makes it a popular option for coastal yards. Since it spreads rapidly, one of the most effective ways to establish St. Augustine grass is by planting plugs. Plant St. Augustine seed in the spring or the summer.
- Zoysia: Zoysia is a durable, dense variety of grass that’s known for its ability to stand up to heat, drought, and high foot traffic. Possibly the softest grass for bare feet, zoysia forms a dense lawn that chokes out weeds with very little maintenance required. Although some types of zoysia can only be grown from sod or plugs, some grass seed companies offer a variety that can grow from seed. Zoysia grass should be planted in the spring once the threat of frost has passed.
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- Fescue: Tall, fine fescue grass seed is perhaps the most common grass type in the country. This is because it adapts well to many different climates as it tolerates heat, cold, shade, and drought reasonably well. This is primarily due to its deep roots that can reach as deep as 2 to 3 feet. Tall fescue is perhaps the easiest grass to grow, but it can suffer under heavy traffic. Plant and reseed fine fescue grass seed in the fall and spring. Shoppers will sometimes see fescue sold in all-season grass seed mixes, which claim they’re good year-round.
- Kentucky bluegrass: This is the type of grass most people imagine when they consider the perfect lawn. With its lush, deep-green appearance, Kentucky bluegrass is a prized species. This grass is not easy to grow, requiring a high level of maintenance and care. Its shallow root system does not tolerate heat well, making it more suitable for northern lawns. Kentucky bluegrass should be planted and reseeded in the spring and fall.
- Perennial ryegrass: Perennial ryegrass should not be confused with annual ryegrass, which is a temporary grass used for erosion control. Perennial ryegrass comes back year after year. Ryegrass germinates quickly, making it popular for new lawns. It does best in colder climates with mild summers; however, it can still be found in the southern part of the country. Perennial ryegrass should be planted or reseeded in the fall.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grass Seed
When deciding which grass seed is best for a front yard or a backyard oasis, it’s crucial to consider several important factors, including climate, maintenance, and sun requirements. A good grass seed should thrive in the specific conditions of your yard. Check below for some of the elements you should consider when purchasing the right grass seed.
With enough determination and money, you can grow most of the above grass seeds just about anywhere in the country. It’s not uncommon to see beautiful Kentucky bluegrass lawns in the baking heat of the Southwest. But going against climate guidelines will make the job a lot harder and more expensive, requiring significant investments in irrigation systems, water, and fertilizers. Paying attention to climate will make establishing a lawn much more manageable. Consider where you live and what grass types will thrive in your region with minimal maintenance and watering.
Reseeding vs. New Planting
How you go about reseeding a lawn versus planting a new lawn is quite different. When seeding a new lawn, you’ll be applying seed to the bare dirt you’ve prepared for new planting. For reseeding, you’ll be attempting to thicken an already existing lawn. With that in mind, you typically need about twice as much seed to start a new lawn as you need to reseed an existing lawn.
Grass types vary in how well they tolerate foot traffic. If you have kids or pets and plan to use your backyard extensively as an area for play, consider selecting grass types that can take some abuse and still keep on growing. Zoysia and Bermuda grasses are the most tolerant of foot traffic, while fescue does poorly with heavy traffic.
While some property owners enjoy fussing over their lawns, many homeowners dread long hours spent maintaining a yard. Consider which grass types require the least amount of care and how much work you’re willing to put into a lawn. Zoysia grass, for example, requires annual dethatching, while perennial ryegrass will not self-repair and requires patching. Bermuda grass, in comparison, requires very little maintenance.
Various grasses tolerate different levels of sun exposure. Some grasses, such as Bermuda grass, demand full sun but other varieties, such as tall fescue, do well with partial shade. Assess the sun exposure of your lawn to determine a good lawn grass seed for the lighting conditions there. Some seed companies produce specific seed mixes for full shade, full sun, or lawns with shaded areas and full-sun areas.
Single Seed vs. Mix
When selecting a type of grass seed, you can choose one specific seed type or a blend that combines several different species. Go for a single seed type if you’re trying to achieve a particular look for your lawn. While single seeds are more difficult to maintain, the effect of a single species lawn can be well worth it.
Mixes are easier to grow and maintain because companies blend the mixes for improved drought or heat tolerance. They also generally grow more uniformly with little need for patching. However, your lawn will lack the attractive uniform look of a single species lawn.
Despite your best efforts to prepare your yard for seeding, some seeds simply weren’t meant to become plants. This is where germination percentage comes into play. Germination percentage is a measure of the viability of a collection of seeds. It is calculated by dividing the number of seeds that germinate by the total number of seeds.
Given how much grass seed can cost, the higher the germination percentage the better, and it mostly relates to seed quality. Although you might be tempted to buy the cheapest grass seed on the shelf, chances are it will have a lower germination percentage, resulting in significant waste. High-quality grass seed has a 90 to 95 percent germination rate, making it worth the additional investment.
Our Top Picks
You can find grass seed for sunny areas, shade, high traffic, hot and cold climates, and more. These top-rated grass seed picks cover lots of lawn and grass types to suit various uses.