Broadcast Seed

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This article will teach you how to overseed a lawn.
by Terry O'Leary · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · August 27, 2010 · 34,781 views

Broadcasting Seed on LawnAfter aearating and applying any organic matter, and before spreading fertilizer, broadcast the grass seed over the area. Broadcasting the seed first allows you to actually see where the seed is falling on the ground, helping to insure there will be no bare spots that you would have to go back to later and reseed again.

Begin by applying a band of seed around of the perimeter of the area to be sowed.

Then make two passes over the interior lawn area. Make the passes in opposite directions to insure even coverage. Spread extra seed in bare spots or areas.

TIP: Fescue and Bluegrass seeds are best broadcasted with a "walk behind" or "shoulder-type" rotary spreader. Bermuda and Centipede seeds are much smaller and therefore it is best to broadcast these seeds using a hand-held, "whirly bird" or "box-type" rotary spreader that has "micro" settings. Otherwise, blend these small seeds a sufficient amount of dry sand when using a larger walk behind rotary spreader.

How Much Grass Seed To Broadcast?

Below are typical seeding rates that can be followed for overseeding. Seeding rates may vary depending on how much existing turf grass is present, and variety and size of seed.

  • Bermuda Seed (Turf-Type) - Broadcast 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet area
  • Centipede Seed - Broadcast 1 pounds per 4,000 square feet of area
  • Fescue Seed (Turf-Type) - Broadcast 4-8 pounds per 1,000 sq ft of area
  • Bluegrass Seed (Thermal Blue) - Broadcast 1 to 2 pound per 1,000 square feet of area

Fertilize And Lime Your Overseeded Lawn

After broadcasting seed, apply a "starter-type" lawn fertilizer with a high-phosphorus content (the middle number). Follow instructions on bag for application rates.

All grasses listed above, excluding Centipede grass, may require lime to adjust soil pH. Your Local Extension Service may provide a soil test and results for you. A soil test will indicate accurately what nutrients your soil lacks and needs, as well as the amount of lime needed to correct pH. In the absence of a soil test, an application of 40 pounds of lime per 1,000 to 2,000 square feet is advised - partucularly when the soil-type is red clay, or ther types known to be highly acidic.

Mulch The Overseeded Area

Finally, follow up by applying a thin coat (just enough to cover the soil) of wheatstraw or hay to bare areas. This mulch coating will help retain moisture necessary to sponsor quicker germination of seed. Additionally, it will regarding erosion and washing of seed from rain. Avoid putting down a heavy layer that would inhibit grass growth.

Care For Young Grass Seedlings

The most critical need is to apply water once or twice a day, depending on the temperature and assuming no rain. If the soil is allowed to dry out, the seedlings won't germinate or will soon wither and die.

To maximize the germination rate, soak your lawn on the same day you sow the seeds. On the next day, assuming no rain, lightly sprinkle the lawn for about 5 minutes morning and afternoon. Be sure you have moistened the soil to a depth of one inch. Keep the overseeded lawn moist until the young grass plants are 2 inches tall by repeating a light watering every day after periods without rain. When the grass is 2 inches tall, resume normal watering patterns.

Begin mowing warm season lawns once the new grass reaches 2 inches, and cool season lawns once they reach 4 to 5 inches. Use a sharp blade; a dull one may tear up young grass plants. Otherwise, stay off the seeded areas except to fertilize once more.

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Terry O'Leary

Meet The Author

Terry O'Leary - Terry has been involved in golf course management since 1996. There isn't much he doesn't know about turf grass.

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