For many people, autumn means breaking out the sweaters and pumpkin-flavored coffee. For many lawn care professionals in the Southwest, it means overseeding lawns with ryegrass to keep them healthy, appealing, and weed-free through the winter.
Ideally, overseeding lawns should begin when nighttime temperatures consistently stay below 65 degrees. In the Southwest, this is typically halfway into October, weather permitting.
Follow these three steps to successfully overseed a Southwest lawn with ryegrass this autumn:
As summer turf weakens and dies, it creates a roadblock for emerging ryegrass that can prevent its successful establishment. Remove this roadblock by scalping the old turf to allow new ryegrass seeds to reach the soil.
To do this, first eliminate the thatch of the summer lawn. Set your lawn mower to its lowest height before you mow. If any thatch buildup remains after mowing, use a rake to loosen and remove it, along with the clippings. Use the rake to turn up the soil and expose it to the seeds.
Many ryegrass seed varieties are available, so make sure to read the tags before purchasing. Check the germination rate, seed type, and the purity of the seed. The better the seed’s quality, the better your lawn should turn out.
How much seed you apply depends on the appearance and grass height preferred by the property owner. General application rates include:
- Residential lawns at one to two inches: 2 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
- Residential lawns at a half-inch to one inch: 15 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
- Golf course tees at a quarter inch: 20 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
- Golf course greens at less than a quarter inch: 30 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
For best results, use a spreader to help maintain an even distribution when overseeding. Schedule overseeding for a calm day, because breezy weather will affect the even spread of seed. Missing a spot, or applying too much seed in one spot, will create eyesores once the grass is growing and can contribute to other landscape problems.
Don’t forget to adjust your watering times to help seeds germinate. It’s important to have a watering schedule that is appropriate for the lawn you’re maintaining—overwatering yards on slopes can create runoff or standing pools of water, for example.
Keep the ground moist, but not drenched, for 10 to 14 days to help with germination. Follow this grow-in period until the winter lawn has established itself, then adjust the watering schedule to every other day.
Join Ewing for a successful overseeding season
Following these steps will help you have a successful fall overseeding season. To learn more about how to properly overseed turfgrass, and to find the right turfgrass variety for you, visit your local Ewing store.