How to Overseed a Lawn Without Aerating It
This page may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of our affiliate links, we'll earn a commission, at no extra cost to you.
Do you want a beautiful, lush lawn without having to aerate it? There are many things that homeowners can do to improve their lawns and most of them don’t require hiring a professional landscaping company. One option is overseeding your lawn.
If your lawn is thinning out, you can overseed it to rejuvenate the grass and make your lawn look refreshed. If you feel your lawn is drying out repeatedly, or most of it has dried, in most cases, overseeding will help to significantly improve the health of the lawn.
This article will explain how to overseed a lawn without aerating it first. You won’t have to spend money on expensive labor or equipment when you could just do this yourself with some time and effort! You’ll learn how to overseed a lawn correctly so that the seed is able to grow into healthy grass and weeds are unable to find their way through.
Related: The Best Fall Weed and Feed for Healthier Lawns
What Is Overseeding
Overseeding is the process of sowing new grass seed over an existing lawn, without removing the existing grass. It’s generally done to improve the overall appearance and density of your lawn. Overseeding, when done correctly, can help your current lawn become lush and green without having to hire a landscaper.
You do not need to overseed your lawn every year. You’ll only need to overseed if the grass is thinning out and bare patches are becoming more noticeable in the yard. Many homeowners need to overseed every few years.
Things You’ll Need Before Overseeding
To overseed your lawn, you’ll need some good quality equipment to help with the task. The essential things that you will need to overseed your lawn are:
- Grass seeds
- Starter fertilizer
- Seed spreader
- Broadleaf herbicide
Make sure you arrange all these things beforehand so you don’t have to run to the store for equipment while you’re in the middle of the process of overseeding your lawn.
How to Overseed a Lawn Without Aerating It
1. Examine Your Lawn and Soil
It’s generally a good idea to rejuvenate your lawn if significant portions of your grass are dead or thinning. In this case, you can reseed over the dead grass by following a few simple steps. You can also overseed if you have thin grass, even if there are no dead spots.
If you feel that your grass is dying because it’s not getting enough sun, you may consider using grass seed that’s intended for shady areas. This seed does not need a lot of sunlight to grow and will be more likely to thrive in your yard.
The best time of year for seeding is during the early fall (September or October in most U.S. locations), shortly after the temperatures have started to decline. You can also sow seeds during spring, but fall will generally produce the best results. You should water the yard thoroughly for a couple of days before sowing the seeds for the new grass to grow.
2. Prepare Your Soil and Mow the Grass
You must ensure that the lawn is prepared so the grass seeds will be in direct contact with the soil and receive an adequate amount of sunlight. Doing this will give your grass seeds the best opportunity to germinate and grow.
As mentioned earlier, it would be best if you started to water the garden deeply for at least two days before sowing the grass seeds. The next step would be mowing the existing grass and then rake up the grass clippings, or better yet, bag them as you’re mowing. Mowing prevents weeds from competing with new seeds. It also allows ample sunlight to reach the soil and the new seeds for germination and nourishment for proper growth. Ideally, the grass should be mowed to less than two inches in height.
You do not have to till the lawn before overseeding. If you feel that your lawn has a lot of thatch and other debris built up, then you can go ahead and try to dethatch or power rake your lawn.
After mowing, rake the lawn, which helps to remove the thatch and loosen the soil. This allows proper germination of the new grass seeds. It’s also a good idea to make sure the soil is exposed to provide more surface area for the grass seed to germinate. If the soil is loose, it can easily draw water and keep the seeds moist for proper germination.
4. Add Topsoil
Adding a very thin layer of topsoil will help the new grass seed you’re about to spread. Apply about 1/4 inch of topsoil over the existing grass. You don’t want the topsoil to be so thick that it will harm the existing grass, but you want a little topsoil so the new seed will have an easier time rooting.
Now, it’s time to do the overseeding. If you need to overseed small patches, you can use your hands to spread the seeds. You can also use a seed spreader, which will make the process easier and faster and will spread the seeds evenly over the soil.
You also want to make sure that there’s proper contact between seeds and soil. In case you do not have a good spreader, you can always use your hands, but ensure that you spread them evenly, especially if your lawn is small.
- Use the Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader to apply Scotts lawn care products
- Comes pre-calibrated and fully assembled with a fold-down handle for easy storage
- Scotts exclusive EdgeGuard Technology keeps lawn product off landscaping, driveways, and sidewalks
- Features redesigned hopper and agitator for smoother product funneling and consistent coverage
- Holds up to 5,000 sq. ft. of Scotts lawn product, including grass seed and fertilizer - ideal for treating smaller areas
The next step is to make sure that the water and soil cover the seeds to a depth of around 1/16 to 1/18 of an inch. Use a rake to gently mix the seeds into the topsoil that you’ve spread.
After this, you can start adding a starter fertilizer. Choose a good quality fertilizer enriched with phosphorus. It will help with root development when the seeds germinate. Make sure you read and follow all the instructions mentioned on the packaging properly, and water your lawn deeply so the seeds and the soil are moist enough to provide easy germination. You should avoid the use of weed killers as much as possible with new grass seeds because it may harm the germination and development of seeds.
- Fertilizer grows new grass 70% thicker and 35% quicker (when applied 2 weeks after seeding vs. unfed)
- Use when starting a new lawn, reseeding an existing one, or installing sod, sprigs, or grass plugs
- Contains a combination of nutrients to help grow strong roots
- Can be applied before or after planting new grass
- Covers up to 5,000 sq. ft.
Finally, you must provide the new seeds with ample water. You need to make sure that you don’t add too much water that it erodes all the seeds away. The best thing to do is to keep the soil moist but not too runny or wet. The ideal practice would be to water the soil twice a day so that good moisture levels are maintained for proper germination of the new seeds. You should keep watering the lawn regularly until you see small grass seedlings coming out of the soil.
Related: Dethatching vs. Aerating – Which Is Better For Your Lawn?
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you just sprinkle grass seed on the lawn?
If you just sprinkle grass seed on the lawn without following the other steps, most of the grass seed is unlike to grow. You need to loosen the soil in order for it to properly “germinate”, so that water can seep down and be absorbed by the roots.
Can you overseed by hand?
It is possible to overseed by hand, but it takes a lot of time and effort. The most effective way to overseed your lawn is with a spreader because it’s much faster and more efficient than manual seeding methods.
Can I overseed my entire yard?
Yes, you can overseed your entire yard if the grass is thin everywhere.
Should I put topsoil over grass seed?
The grass seed should be mixed in with a thin layer of topsoil. Ideally, for overseeding, the topsoil should only be about 1/4 of a inch thick. You can use a rake to mix the grass seeds into the topsoil.
Will grass seed grow if not covered?
If the grass seed isn’t covered, it can still grow. But you’ll need to water often because the soil will dry out quickly and turn into dirt, which won’t sustain any plants for very long.
Related: Reviews of the Best Lawn Fertilizers
Overseeding is one of the best ways to rejuvenate your lawn. Every lawn will experience some dead patches and bare spots from time to time, and these can be fixed by overseeding.
Most lawns could benefit from overseeding every 2-3 years, although the needs will vary. Typically, the lawn will be aerated before overseeding. Aerating is effective, but can be costly since you’ll need to hire a professional to do it or rent expensive equipment to do it yourself.
If you want to skip that part of the process, the steps in this article show how to overseed a lawn with aerating it.
YardReports.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.