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When Should I Overseed My Lawn? Spring or Fall?

by Caitlin Erickson on March 14, 2014
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Many people ask us, "When should I overseed my lawn?" During spring, plants are blooming and growing, so naturally we think spring would be the best time to plant grass seed. However, spring likely isn’t the best time to overseed your lawn. Here’s why.

When do I overseed? Spring or fall

1. Spring is the time to put down crabgrass pre-emergents to prevent weeds from germinating.

The basic way the pre-emergents work is by forming a barrier on the soil that prevents weeds from popping up through the soil. When you over-seed your turf, you will likely want to aerate the lawn first. Aerating will break this barrier, therefore eliminating the effectiveness of the application.

crabgrass in turf

Even if you are not aerating prior to overseeding your turf, the grass seedlings growth will be inhibited from the pre-emergent application.

Do NOT skip the crabgrass pre-emergents in the spring months. In fact, it is so important, that Dowco clients will receive 2 applications of pre-emergents before summer if they are on our fertilization and weed control program. If you skip this application, your summer will be spent trying to rid weeds in your turf.

2. The seedlings will not be ready before the summer heat.

Fescue and Bluegrass are the two primary types of grass seed planted in St. Louis. They are both cool season grasses and they do best in the temperatures and climate that fall has to offer. When planted in the spring, the grass seed does not have enough time to mature before the intense St. Louis summer heat wave.

Map of Grass in Regions

In the fall there is still plenty of sunshine, rain or dew, the ground stays warm, and the temperatures get cooler. There is also less heat and threat of disease that may hinder the germination of new grass seed. While immediate results may not be seen in the fall, they will be seen in the spring in the form of a thick, lush turf.

Many people aim to put down grass seed in the fall, around Labor Day. 

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Topics: Seasonal Yard Maintenance, Turf Care, Dowco Specific, Fall Turf Renovation

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