Does your yard have spots where there’s no or little grass? You know, those large unsightly areas of dirt where there is nothing growing. Nobody wants a lawn with gaps in it. Those blank areas can be an unsightly eyesore to any homeowner.
Will my grass fill in on its own? No, most types of lawn grass doesn’t reseed itself, so to fill those areas in, they will need to be seeded. Once seeded, it will take between 7 and 30 days to grow from seed to plant.
Although grass will not fill in on its own, it is not hard for you to fill it in. Reseeding is the best way to fill in those areas. If you do not reseed with grass, those areas may be overtaken by unwanted plants and weeds. We’ll cover the details of reseeding different kinds of grass, as well as more about why you should bother filling in your grass.
How to Reseed Your Lawn
The best way to fill in those blank spaces is to reseed those areas. Grass does not reseed itself, so you will need to do it yourself.
To get started, you want to make sure those areas are free of debris before seeding. Grab the only tools you’ll need: a shovel or hoe, a rake, a seed spreader, and a hose.
- You will need to aerate or till the soil to break up the top layer. This allows the roots of the seeds to embed in the ground easier than having to penetrate the hard dirt.
- Then prep the dirt with a deep and thorough watering.
- Liberally cover the open spots in the seed using a seed spreader.
- Keep the top layer of the ground damp by watering twice daily until the seeds germinate.
- Do not cover your seed in topsoil. Although birds may snack on your grass seeds, covering the seeds may prevent the grass seeds from sprouting.
- Wait until the grass has grown to ¾ of an inch taller than the height you want your lawn to be before mowing for the first time.
- After then, you would care for the young grass the same as you would the rest of the lawn.
If you have areas of thinning grass, you may want to overseed your lawn. Overseeding is when you sprinkle seeds on areas where there is existing grass to make those areas thicker. The process is very similar.
- Rake (or dethatch with a mechanical dethatcher) the grassy areas.
- Mow the grass down to a length of 1 to 1½ inches high. This will allow sunlight to reach the seeds.
- Use a core aerator to break up the soil.
- Then seed the lawn and do not mow again until the grass has grown to ¾ of an inch taller than the height you maintain your lawn at.
The best time of year to reseed or overseed your lawn is in the early part of fall. The ground is still warm, which aids in seed germination. The cooler autumn air is best for seed growth. This will give time for the new grass to get established before the winter rolls in. By springtime, you will be ready to make the Jones’s jealous of your beautiful new lawn.
Why Reseed Your Grass?
If you do not reseed, grass will not grow in those areas. Grass does not reseed itself unless it is left completely alone and allowed to grow to the point of flowering. No one wants to turn their yard into a wildlife area, so that is not an option.
If you leave that area completely alone and nature will decide what happens there. It may stay blank and become a mudhole whenever it rains, perhaps a tree will grow in that area, or – more likely – weeds will make that spot their home.
As we all know, once weeds start in your yard, it will be a constant battle from that point forward. That means it is best to reseed those areas and not just for aesthetic reasons but for practical reasons as well.
Caring For Your Lawn
Now that you have taken the time to get grass growing in those unsightly blank areas of dirt, how do you keep it growing? Keeping your grass watered and free of weeds is pretty much common knowledge, but each season of the year calls for a little different focus area.
- Autumn – Since this is the best time of the year to reseed, I will start here. After you have the grass started, it is time to prep your yard for winter. Keep your lawn free of falling leaves by raking. Winter is coming, so give the lawn a good feeding with a good all-around fertilizer. In winter months, the ground loses nutrients grass needs.
- Winter – It is cold, and your grass is brown and isn’t growing. The main thing is to keep the yard free of debris. Another thing to be careful of is foot traffic. Since your grass isn’t regenerating as quickly during these months, don’t trample on it any more than necessary.
- Spring – During springtime, it is all about regular watering, feeding, and fertilization. Since this is the time for growth and blooming, you will need to watch for weeds growing and pluck those as needed. Do not forget about pest control, either.
- Summer – Summer is here, and it’s time to enjoy the benefits of your year of work. Keep your lawn mowed and well-watered. This is the time of year that pests are at their worse so find a good insecticide for your lawn.
Common Types of Grass
Before reseeding, it is important to know what type of grass of your lawn is so your reseeding will match. Below are some common types of grass used in home lawns and what areas of the country the lawn is most prevalent in.
- St. Augustine grows well in warm and arid regions like the gulf coast area in the southeastern United States. It grows best in warm areas and does not do well in cold temperatures. St. Augustine requires a lot of water and can’t survive extreme droughts. It is not suited for heavy foot traffic.
- Buffalo is another warm-seasoned grass, but unlike St. Augustine can handle dry climates well. It is also resilient to heavy foot traffic. It is native to the Great Plains but can adapt to most warm-weather areas.
- Zoysia is thick and resilient to both foot traffic and drought. The warmer the climate, the less direct sunlight that is required for Zoysia grass. It will turn brown during winter months or dry spells but will get its green color back with the change of the season or regular watering.
- Tall fescue is good for the transition area of the country where it’s too cool for warm seasoned grass and too hot for cold seasoned grass. Tall fescue will thrive in wet climates but can tolerate droughts
- Kentucky Bluegrass is a cold-season grass that grows very little in the summertime but grows well during the other seasons. It grows best in sunny areas and can resist a moderate amount of foot traffic.
- Ryegrass is almost shiny in appearance. It is a cool-season but has difficulty growing in more northern areas with extremely cold conditions. Ryegrass also can handle high foot traffic.
This is in no way a comprehensive list or a complete guide. There are many other types of grass and many varieties among the different types. I recommend doing research to find your exact type and then tailor your lawn maintenance plan to best suit that type.