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How to Overseed Your Lawn in Spring

A person spreads seed on their lawn with a handheld spreader.

How do you know when to overseed your lawn? One of the best times to overseed your lawn is in the early spring. Overseeding creates a thick, healthy lawn, which is the best defence against weeds. Keeping your lawn lush and thick provides natural protection from weeds and other annoyances, by allowing very little sunlight to permeate the grass, stopping growth underneath.

Skill Level: Beginner
Time:
  1. Step 1 Cut your Lawn and Bag the Clippings

    A person mows their lawn with a push mower.

    Before over-seeding your lawn, cut your grass at the lowest mower setting and bag the clippings. After mowing, rake the lawn to help loosen the top layer of soil and remove any dead grass and debris. This will give the grass seed easy access to the soil so the roots can easily take hold after beginning to sprout.

  2. Step 2 Enrich your Lawn with a Lawn Soil

    Enrich Soil

    Add a quarter-inch layer of enriched soil over your lawn to protect and help settle the seed. Don't put so much down that you kill your existing grass; less than a quarter of an inch is plenty. Lawn soil improves moisture retention, helping your grass seed grow strong for a thicker, healthier lawn. 

  3. Step 3 Choose your Grass Seed and Apply

    A person uses a push spreader to seed their lawn.

    Which type of grass seed you choose depends on your needs. Make sure to determine how much sun or shade your lawn gets before selecting your seed. Then just fill up your spreader, adjust the density setting according to the label directions and spread it evenly across your lawn.

  4. Step 4 Feed your Lawn with a Quality Lawn Food

    A person fills their spreader with fertilizer.

    In order for your lawn to grow healthy and strong, it needs a good supply of nutrients. To give your new grass seedlings the essential nutrients they need for fast growth, apply a starter fertilizer every eight weeks - in early spring, mid-May, July and September. Only begin to fertilize once grass starts turning green. Corn gluten fertilizers can also be used to help prevent weeds, but do not apply grass seed at the same time or the grass seed will not germinate.

  5. Step 5 Water your Lawn Consistently

    A person waters their lawn with a hose.

    Once you are done seeding and feeding, be sure to keep the soil consistently moist by lightly watering once or twice a day until the seedlings have reached the height of the rest of your lawn.

    Lawns require about one inch of water per week to encourage roots to grow. You may not need to water if there has been enough rain.

  6. Step 6 Continue Caring for Your Lawn

    A close-up picture of freshly cut grass.

    Once your overseeding takes and you’ve got growth, consider the following to maintain a healthy, lush lawn.

    • Mow high and regularly. Short grass means short roots, so raise mower blades to three inches to help roots grow more deeply.
    • Aerate your lawn with a specialty aeration tool to allow soil to break down and breathe.
    • Use products with natural ingredients to quickly kill weeds — these work especially well on hot and sunny days.
    • Pull weeds out from the roots using a specialized weeding tool and lay a weed block under pathways or patios to prevent weeds from emerging.
    • To get rid of insects, try spraying insecticidal soap (which is safe on plants) directly onto insect populations. You can also place insect bait and traps around your lawn and garden to keep pests away.

What is Overseeding?

A person spreads grass seed using a manual push spreader.

Overseeding is the process of adding new grass seed to an existing lawn to improve its density, fill in bare patches, and rejuvenate its overall health and appearance. Overseeding your lawn in the spring helps promote thicker turf without the need for extensive renovation. This practice is particularly beneficial for older lawns or those experiencing thinning due to factors like foot traffic, disease, or environmental stress. By overseeding your lawn, homeowners can ensure it remains healthy, resilient, and visually appealing.

When Should I Overseed My Lawn?

A person uses their hand to distribute grass seed onto a bare patch on their lawn.

Timing is crucial for successful lawn overseeding in Canada. Understanding the best months to put grass seed down can help to get you great results. Here are the ideal times to overseed your lawn in different regions across Canada, promoting healthy growth and a lush turf.

When to overseed by province:

Western Canada (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan):

Springtime, particularly from March to early May, offers an ideal window for overseeding your lawn in BC and the rest of Western Canada. Early fall is also recommended for overseeding, taking advantage of mild temperatures and increased moisture.

Central Canada (Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec):

March through early May presents an excellent opportunity to overseed your lawn in Ontario and central Canada. Overseeding in the early fall is another great time, ensuring the soil is warm enough for successful seed germination.

Eastern Canada (Maritime Provinces):
Consider overseeding your lawn from March to early May to take advantage of spring’s favourable conditions. Overseeding in early fall (late August to early September) is also ideal in Eastern provinces such as Nova Scotia and Newfoundland when soil temperatures are still warm, promoting seed germination.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Care for Your Lawn after Overseeding

A person spreads grass seed on their lawn with a manual seed spreader.

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