How does an overseeder work?

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Some folks turn to overseeding to rejuvenate the grass when it looks tired, or just beaten and it’s a trick that often works wonders on the turf (you get thicker, lusher growth in no time).

Of course, you’ll need an overseeder machine to accomplish this task especially if you’re reseeding a larger area.

Below we answer the question on the mind of most beginners: exactly how does an overseeder work?

Take your time – there is a lot to read including handy tips to help you professionally overseed your lawn at the end of the article.

A very basic question first…

What is overseeding?

Overseeding is simply the spreading of grass seed directly over an existing turf to fill the bare spots, refresh growth in certain sections, or renovate the entire yard.

Overseeing has many benefits…

The highlights are: luxuriant growth, cute color, and improved resistance to things like disease.

Have you ever found yourself gazing enviously at your neighbors’ garden?

Well, believe it or not, your lawn could soon be the subject of those covetous glances.

The secret?

Overseed it – use a quality overseeder- and apply a healthy dose of fertilizer…..

It’s going to be the prettiest yard on the block before you know it.

This brings me back to our question: How does an overseeder work to bring this magical effect?

How does an overseeder work?

Many of the best lawn gardening innovations have been born from the misery that forward-thinking home owners feel when it comes time to maintaining the yard.

The overseeding machine is not an exception and it allows home owners to revitalize the damaged portions of grass by spreading seed directly without having to tear up the old turf and replanting from scratch.

That is to say that an overseeder primary function is to sow new grass seed over the current grass.

Specifically, the machine distributes seeds across the whole area.

The overseeded lawn typically becomes fully established in about eight weeks (or less) if done the right way.

Many overseeders are more appropriate for larger applications, but some are small enough (and reasonably priced) for practical residential use.

How does an overseeder work: A word on the two techniques of seeding

We’ll now learn about the two commonly used seeding systems, as well as the benefits each brings to people stepping up from hand seeding.

Slit (slice) seeding Vs Broadcast seeding 

Slit-seeding usually involves a machine cutting into the soil (an inch/less) and the dropped grass seeds fall into the moist soil where it is easier to germinate (because of the greater seed-to-soil contact).

In broadcast seeding, the machine uses a cyclone/drop-type seeder to virtually broadcast seed.

One thing I love about broadcasting overseeders is that they won’t disturb the soil as badly as slice seeder machines (used for slice seeding) – they just lightly agitates the soil then drops the seed.

On the downside, you might need to put in more seed (than in slit seeding) to compensate for the washed away seeds or those eaten by birds and other creatures.

That’s because some seeds are left sitting on the soil without coverage.

Fortunately, you could save the seeds by covering them with straw.

Some lawn preparation procedures can also be helpful (more on this later).

How to use an Overseeder

An overseeder may seem a bit intimidating at first, but it’s fairly simple to operate and easy to get used to.

To get started, fill your overseeder with the grass seed appropriate for your climate.

Next, set the seed flow rate you want by adjusting the delivering tap. This is an important step because you want the machine to drop/spread seed at an optimum rate.

You’re now good to go: start the engine, toggle the drive control, open the seeds vent, and move forward to get seeding!

Be sure to maintain a steady pace for even spreading.

Tip: Please refer to the paperwork that comes with your rented or purchased overseeder for the precise instructions applicable to your machine.

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What type lawn preparation is essential prior to overseeding?

To elevate your chances of getting productive germination and subsequently healthy grass growth, undertake the following recommended preliminary chores:

How does an overseeder work?
  1. Mowing- mow your lawn first. Use the lowest mower setting while at it. Note that you should power rake the lawn since you want to get rid of the thatch (it catches the seeds).
  2. Apply fertilizer- If you feel that fertilizing your lawn will be helpful, do so with your broadcast/drop spreader before overseeding.

Tip: It is vital that you don’t water the lawn prior to seeding.

How do I get the optimum results from overseeding?

There are lots of ways to make your overseeding task an unmatched success.

Here are a couple of suggestions that will take you a step closer to perfection.

  • Make the proposed number of passes: Always overseed by making the manufacturer’s proposed number of passes (A reference is customarily printed on the owner’s manual for your benefit).
  • Stick to the right application rate: Each type of seed requires a certain flow rate and angle. Observe this (Check the drop rate settings in the manual for guidance).
  • Watering: You should water the yard heavily immediately then lightly for between 10 –14 days to keep the soil moist for maximum germination. Of course, water less often after germination to promote root growth

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When is the right time to overseed?

The timing depends on where you live and your grass type.

For example, with warm-season grasses, overseed in late mid-spring or during early summer if you live in the south.

Likewise, cool season grasses are best overseeded in late summer/early fall if you live in the northwest.

The thing is, for the best results you should overseed when weed seed experiences difficulties germinating.

Additionally, ensure favorable temperatures (atmospheric and soil) for seed germination and blooming before overseeding for amazing results.

Lastly, you want to overseed the lawn when you have no less than 3 weeks to the projected date of the first freeze (if you’ve chosen a period close to winter).

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An overseeder’s sole function is to sow new grass seed over the existing grass instead of starting the repair of your lawn from scratch.

And as seen, using an overseeder is a far superior method of yard seeding particularly when you own an expansive yard. 

Most importantly, an overseeded lawn stays greener, healthier, and weed free.

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