How to Prepare Lawns for Reseeding

What You'll Need
Cultivator or a spade
Heavy-duty Rake
Lawn Fertilizer
Gypsum or Peat Moss
Lawn Seed

If the grass is thinning on your lawn or it has become diseased or brown then you may wish to reseed your lawn. This is less expensive than relaying a new lawn. However before you reseed, you will need to prepare the lawn. This handy guide will show you how. Bear in mind that the best time of year to seed your lawn is fall. This is because the seed will have the chance to accumulate the necessary nutrients it needs over the winter period before the grass grows through in the spring.

Step 1 – Rake the Lawn

You should begin by raking over the existing lawn with a heavy duty rake. You will also be raking away any debris that is covering the lawn such as leaves. Remove and compost any debris that you have removed. If there are any bare spots in the lawn, these will now be clearly visible. 

Step 2 - Loosening the Soil

You should then use the cultivator to loosen the soil in any bare patches to a depth of about 1 inch. However if the soil has been particularly compacted over time, loosen it to around 5 inches, allowing the air in. If you don't have access to a cultivator, you should be able to do this with a spade. For compacted soil, add a few handfuls of gypsum or peat moss. This will keep the soil loose in the future. 

Step 3 – Fertilizing the Lawn

Before you begin to reseed the bare patches of the lawn you should now fertilize those areas with a suitable lawn fertilizer. If you are reseeding in fall, choose a good winter fertilizer – also known as winterizers. This will have higher nitrogen and potassium levels to help your lawn absorb the nutrients that it needs over the winter months. You can purchase lawn fertilizers from most garden stores. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's measurement guidelines when using lawn fertilizer as you don't want to overload the fragile soil with too many chemical elements. 

Step 4 – Choosing Your Seed

You should now reseed the lawn with the highest quality seed you can afford. Make sure that you have chosen a type of grass that will blend in well with any remaining grass and is also right for your climate and soil type. If the patches that need reseeding are in shady areas then purchase grass seed that is developed especially for shaded areas that don't receive a lot of sunlight. 

You will need to then sow the grass seeds into the bare patches. Grass seed should be scattered at 15 to 25 gms per square meter if you haven't been advised otherwise. 

If you are seeding grass in the summer months, you will benefit from pre-germinating the grass first. To do this put the seeds in growing trays filled with moist compost. Cover the trays with clingfilm somewhere warm for a few days before transferring to the main lawn area.