Overseeding - and the typical nonsense you may expect to deal with
Updated: Oct 4
Ok, so if you own/rent your home and you want to overseed your lawn, you're going to have to do the standard stuff - rake the dead thatch off, mow the lawn, blow any debris clear. Then you're going to lay a little bit of soil (quarter inch, half inch, whatever, just enough to give the seeds a little bed to grow in. Soil should be basically the most expensive, nutritious, clear of debris soil you can buy for your little seed babies. Then, I haven't done this, but I've told a little bit of peat moss or compost (another sprinkling) on top helps (to retain water so they don't dry out), but this part is optional as far as I'm concerned.
Now, comes the nonsense. If you don't water your lawn 1-3 times a day (seriously, it can go as high as 3 times a day), the grass seed will dry out and die. You have to keep that up for a month. Really, a month. Do not give up until you hit the 1 month mark. At that point though, it's probably okay to give up. Grass seed, when dry, is basically fine, but once you've started watering it, it needs water. So, if you start watering, and then stop, you've basically killed it. The goal is to keep the seeds moist.
So, let's say a month has gone by, you've watered, and it didn't work. Well, now you have to re-do the project start to finish. But, let's say it does work out. You're free and clear now yes? Well, not really apparently. If next year, you look out at your lawn and grass that was there last year is now gone, there are two culprits - 1) you used annual seeds instead of perennial ones 2) you used seed that can't tolerate shade at all in an area with lots of shade.
Grass, like all plants, comes in annual and perennial varieties. Annual grasses likely germinate and grow faster than perennial ones. However, they die at the end of the year and that's that, no more grass.
Some strains of grass (Kentucky Bluegrass for example) like six hours of direct sunlight daily. If your site doesn't get that, you can expect your Kentucky Bluegrass to germinate and grow to an extent, and then thin out and die back entirely for a lack of sunlight.
My takeaways from overseeding - plant a few different varieties from a few different bags. Pick new grasses, expensive bags, and ones that specify the type of grass seed and percentages of it present. Do more overseeding rather than less, don't worry about grass clumping, don't be sparing with it. Finally, if you don't plan on being there to water your lawn every day for a month, or for several months if you have to re-do this job a few times, then don't bother with it, leave your landscaping alone or do something other than a lawn.