For the past few days the deserts have finally woken up to some fall temperatures. It almost seems like the weather knew to change with the calendar on Friday but looking at the not so distant future it probably won’t stay this way. Driving around this week I’m starting to see lots of places begin the overseed process but it is still a little early to do unless you absolutely have to get the lawn done for an early event. For those of you that are new to overseeding I’m going to describe exactly how to overseed your lawn, what it means to overseed, and answer the questions if overseeding is right for you. This time of the year can be tricky for home lawns but with the right care your house will look just like West Coast Turf’s farms.

Overseeding is mandatory in the south and western portions of the United States for people that would like to have a green winter lawn. When the air and soil temperatures drop too low warm season grasses will lose their color and go into dormancy for the winter. If you’re from an area that usually receives significant snowfall or cold temperatures you’re well aware of the dormant season. For those of us that have warm temperatures during the day we have the ability to overseed our lawns with BOBSeed perennial ryegrass for the winter months to keep our lawns green.

If you were to drive by and casually watch a company overseed the process might look tricky or confusing but it is a very simple job that can be done in a matter of a few hours. I have attached a video on how to overseed and below you will find the detailed steps on exactly what is explained in the video.

1. Raise your mowing height up for a week so when you get ready to scalp the lawn you’re not mowing it down to the nubs. You want to raise the height 25-30%.
2. When the night time temperatures consistently stay below 65 degrees (usually early to mid October) you’re good to begin the overseed process.
3. Rent a Ren-o-thin or dethatcher (usually $40-$50 for 4 hours) and drop the setting to just below half way. You don’t want to get aggressive and take out roots, your just looking to open up the grass canopy. Since warm season grasses tend to be thick at this time of the year a lot of grass will be taken when you verticut or dethatch.
4. Verticut or dethatch in two-directions making sure your turf grass is open.
5. Set the mower one notch below your last mow and pick up all of the grass lying on top of the ground.
6. Now drop the mowing height one additional time and make sure you remove all of the remaining material that was lying on top of the turf.
7. Apply your Soil Burst 5-15-10 starter fertilizer at 9 pounds per 1000 SF.
8. Apply BOBSeed at 8-10 pounds per 1000 SF. I like to use a drop spreader to do two passes around the edges and keep the seed out of the rocks and dirt. Then come back with a rotary or drop spreader for the remainder of the yard.
9. Since you verticut the lawn two directions you have opened up the grass plant and the seed will come up in a nice checkerboard pattern.
10. Set your sprinklers to run 3-4 times per day for 5-7 minutes.
11. Your lawn will germinate in 5 days and you will see grass starting to pop in 7-10 days.
12. When your turf is 14 days old apply Soil Burst 16-0-4 liquid to your lawn.
13. Make your first cut at 14-17 days when the grass is 1.5 inches. Do not cut a lot of material, just trim it up. It is important to mow the grass when the turf is dry to get a clean cut.
14. Change your watering to 1x per day for 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning for two weeks.
15. At one month apply Soil Burst 7-7-7 liquid to your lawn.
16. Decrease your watering schedule to every other to every third day for 20-25 minutes.
17. Apply Soil Burst 4-0-6, 16-0-4 or 7-7-7 every month throughout the winter.
18. Granular fertilizers will not work well once we receive significant frost so make sure you use liquid products and keep the color bright green.

While it looks like a lot of steps to overseeding it is very simple and most of the instructions are guides for keeping your lawn beautiful during the winter months. If you just purchased your lawn within the last 45 days it is not ideal to overseed but it can be done as long as you follow the above steps. We don’t recommend overseeding the first season but some of you may not have a choice with your home owners association. The video below outlines everything in the above steps to help make the process easier. For those of you looking for BOBSeed it is available at most Ace Hardware stores in Phoenix, through our West Coast Turf offices for pickup (Scottsdale, Casa Grande, Thermal, Palm Desert), Elgin Nursery (Phoenix), and Silverbell Nursery (Tucson).